January 2011 Archives

Eternal Questions

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Hey kids, the moon has a face and it smiles on the lake.

  • WHAT can we say that we haven't already said in this month long goodbye? Well, it wouldn't hurt to say thank you again. Readers, collaborators, e'rybody,

  • WHAT will it be like to NOT chronicle a baseball season here for the first time since 2007? I assume it'll be weird for us, and maybe for you but we'll all adjust. And you can be pretty sure we're not gonna be silent, per se. We're all atwitter here. And we'll be popping up on our friends' sites to be sure.

  • GOT a witty bon mot that will metastasize and eventually kill you if you don't get it out? Hurry up and post it. Thought the site will stay up we're turning off comments this week.

  • HOW will your favorite team do this year? We wish em well no matter who they are.

  • SURE there are a million other places to read about baseball, but where will you go for talk about food and pictures of babies dressed like food? To Rob and mine's new website! We're in the formative stages of putting together Eatoff Eat, a new recipe and restaurant review site. It's on Tumblr (and Twitter), so it'll be a little less formal than things have been on WoW, but do stop by sometime to see if we figure it out.

So that's it. Today is Walkoff Walk's 3rd anniversary. It's also the day every insurance man dreams of. Packing up the office and heading home for a long leisurely retirement. I bought an RV. Rob and I wish all of you the very best and we'll see you this summer at the #HEIST. Be well, friends.

Same WoW channel.

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By this point in human history, dealing with racism should be a pointless exercise. As evolved as we humans have become as a species, racism as we know it should be completely eradicated. But it ain't. It's not even close. Even in a venue as diverse as our national pastime, race still matters and it forces writers like us to bring it up even when it makes us look like liberal schmucks (which, granted, we are...sometimes).

Of all the posts we've done that sparked discussion elsewhere in the baseball blogosphere, few have received as much feedback and attention as the one where we called out writers for associating "lack of hustle" with minority players. Some simple research showed me that, for the most part, white players don't get criticized for their effort:

So, how many white players showed up in the search results? One. That's it, just one. David Wright, and the item was on a silly fantasy news website, hardly a bastion of hard-hitting journalism. This was not a case of cherry-picking results to prove my point; no, I searched long and hard to find exceptions! Twenty-one black or Latino players were called out for "lack of hustle" by a writer and/or manager, versus just one white player. This is not a coincidence.

Are we to believe that David Wright is the only white player in the majors who had problems hustling? Has Adam Dunn never lollygagged? Did Cal Ripken run out every single infield grounder? Doubtful. Yet we never hear of managers or columnists calling out white guys for "lack of hustle".

I stand by my hypothesis. I am not accusing the majority of writers of being racist. But there are deep-seated opinions in the subconscious that can associate certain words or phrases with a player based on his appearance or mannerisms. Also, I'm 100% convinced that some writers and some players are actual card-carrying racists.

But I won't name names lest I get sued for too much #realtalk. Instead, let's look back at some of the racist stuff that fell into the gray area:

Where do we go from here? Well, we're shutting down the blog so you're on your own, dear reader. Either that or you are thrilled that we our shutting our traps for good. But: casual racism is our true enemy. We as twenty-first century baseball fans need not fight the monstrous racial divide that players and fans had to overcome in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. These issues we deal with today? Small potatoes.

So I ask you to be on the lookout for beat writers and columnists who stumble into subtle jabs at a dude because of his skin color. It's the seemingly innocent observations that can prolong injustice.

We Got Politics In Your Baseball

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That little banner at the top of the page was as much as disclaimer as a mission statement. When we started Rob and I weren't the super tight bros we are now, but we knew enough about each others' internetting to realize that we'd probably wander off into the writing wilderness from time to time. The Human Condition Clause gave us the free reign to do that and most everyone seemed to be fine with it. To our surprise, this even included when we started spewing our lefty politics. Which we did quite a bit.

There's a political undercurrent to so many things we wrote, but the first time we decided to get explicit about things, I took on Dick Cheney, the easiest of targets. Sure there was a little backlash from one livid commenter, but this was early enough in the site's history to be filed under "thinning the herd." Was probably best for the little guy. He would have popped a vein in his head with all the other shots we took at him and his boss.

In retrospect, we talked about those two a bit too much back in the day and it comes off as kinda petty. Especially because we had little substance to the posts other than snark. This isn't a retraction, just a wish that we'd made something a little chewier. Lord knows there was enough material. See, I just did it again.

We poked some fun at the new guy when he took over too.

Later in life, I outlined my disillusionment with party politics and my annoyance at its interruption of my baseball playoffs. Note that I attack the New York Times, Conservative WoWies. Note also that I'm not calling for the separation of politics and sport, just bemoaning their televised overlap.

When we supported the Diamondbacks boycott it spurred a lot of good comments that included some measured opposition and I think we're still pretty proud of taking some sort of stance there.

In a 2008 New Yorker article about the Bejing Olympics, Anthony Lane said "The attempt to keep politics out of sport, which is as futile as trying to keep the sweat out of sex, began to falter once more." I love that quote and feel that anyone that has ever given us flack for the former doesn't have much experience with the latter. It's about passion, Biff. This site, and any site with comments which is to say every single one, gives you the forum to disagree and we were glad if you did. Just as long as you weren't raising the neutered cry to "keep em separated." So thanks for indudging us. I know you liked it better when we made up stuff about Graeme Lloyd or posted pictures of a guy getting slapped in the head, but we just couldn't help ourselves sometimes. Civic outrage and disillusionment were a part of our human condition, and you can't say we didn't warn you.

A Plea: Go For the Walkoff Walk

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cap.2011.01.27.16.png I don't remember much about the game. It was 1995. The Phillies were going through another sub-.500 season, despite being "defending National League Champions" thanks to the 1994 strike. They were almost 20 games out of first.

But I do remember how they won this random game in September against the Reds. In the bottom of the 13th, with the bases loaded, Xavier Hernandez walked in Mark Whiten1. I don't so much remember the play as I do Phillies announcer Chris Wheeler: "Way to keep that bat on the shoulders, Whit'!"

My dad and I laughed. Yeah, good play Mark, way to work the walkoff walk2. How naïve we were. Chris Wheeler was right, though he didn't know why. I don't think any players (besides OLE CHIP) read this site, but if anyone stumbles across this site in the future, I beg of you: Go for the walkoff walk. It might not be as pretty as a walkoff homer, but it's probably a better strategy.

Let me explain: I just finished Scorecasting, by economist Tobias Moskowitz and Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim. As you can probably guess from the authors, it's essentially Freakonomics for sports3.

One of the strongest parts of the book explores what drives home field advantage. Essentially, and in surprisingly convincing fashion, the authors conclude that referee bias drives home field advantage. In baseball, for example, umpires call more strikes for home team pitchers and more balls for away team pitchers4.

A whole chapter opens with a long discussion of the Cubs' walkoff walk against the Brewers on July 3, 2009. As PITCH f/x shows, the pitch that Jake Fox worked his winning walkoff walk on was a strike5.

Moskowitz and Wertheim also say that umpires are more likely to give this home field call advantage when there are big crowds6, ones that are ostensibly louder. And what time is a crowd louder than in a tie game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th?

I think you know where I'm going with this. Any baseball players coming across this post next week or in 2025 or when the Athletics move to the moon, I offer this piece of advice: In that situation, don't be Paul Bako. Don't go for the bloop single. You're going to get the calls on close pitches. Keep that bat on the shoulders when they come. Chances are you'll work a walkoff walk and be a hero. And you won't even have to do anything7! It will be the best paycheck you'll ever earn.

There. Now can't nobody say this site never offered professional baseball players any advice.

1 According to Baseball-Reference, the first pitch of that at-bat was a foul bunt by Hard Hittin' Whitten. With two outs!

2 I don't even think "walkoff home run" was in vogue at this time, so I probably just called it a "game-ending base on balls" or maybe said "That muckle showed a little ginger!"

3 Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics, is actually quoted on the cover: "The closest thing to Freakonomics I've seen since the original." This is quite high praise, I guess, as Scorecasting is apparently is more like the original than SuperFreakonomics.

4 "Homeboys" and "Awayboys," in Rock 'n' Jock parlance.

5 Yes, I'm aware of the calibration errors that possibly (probably?) make PITCH f/x unreliable, especially since that pitch was particularly close. Eh. I still buy Moskowitz's and Wertheim's conclusions -- I guess I believe all the PITCH f/x data errors average out, though I don't necessarily know that's true or even possible -- about umpires. The book's out next week, I'm sure some blogger will write with over-the-top anger about it if they used any data incorrectly.

6 Ha, the Cubs always have big crowds! This makes their futility even more hilarious.

7 Okay, except foul off clear strikes that you can't do anything with, as Jake Fox did.

bonilla2009.jpgIt is hard to believe Kris, Rob, and I set ourselves up for certain failure by creating the BONILLA system two full years ago. Not only is that the amount of time it felt like we invested in writing it but two years is the collective amount of time it took off the end of our lives. Unfortunately for Kris, he's now running a deficit in that department. RIP CATSHIRT.

Early in 2009, the internet was lousy with freely accessible projections systems, providing hope to some (like Bill James Juiced Up Gonzo Projections) and reality (the other, more depressing systems) to the rest. Having a difficult enough time with linear thought let alone linear weights, we three dummies opted to throw our hat in the ring with the "Based On Nothing Important, Let's Look at Age."

The result is a series of occasionally funny lines of borderline nonsense which actually turned out pretty well. We refrained from reaching for the cheapest and most obvious joke at least 30% of the time, not bad for jokes written in bulk. We tackled the players based on the year in which they were born.

Kris kicked it off with 1985 babies and Rob followed with old dogs from 1973. Kris took 1980 and I did 1979. Just like that night in Nha Trang.

The behemoth that was players born in 1977 went to Mr. Iracane while Kris had the honor of examining those born in 1978, the birth year of kings. Rob's work on players born in 1976 opened a window into his own mortality while Kris and I ganged up the 1983 births, not unlike a much darker night in Da Nang.

Finally, Rob broke the spirit of the youth while Kris wrapped it the whole fruitless exercise by paying homage to the 40-plus oldies.

All in all, a pretty fun way to kill time during the long wait for spring training that is January . Take a stroll through the BONILLA archives and hit us back with your favorites. Or don't waste significant chunks of your workday a second time. Your choice.

Truth be told, we did not invent "This Tweet In Baseball". We only innovated it. In the same way that a new product can always be made by slapping a beer bottle opener on an already existing product, we took the concept of collating tweets from famous people from the good folks at Eater.com and slapped a beer bottle opener on the side. Oh, and we presented the tweets of baseball players, beat writers, and general gadabouts like Tommy Lasorda.

And technically, none of the editors at Walkoff Walk even came up with the idea of porting Eater's feature to the arena of baseball. That credit goes to top commenter NJPANick, so thanks Nick!

"This Tweet" turned out to be more popular than I expected. Popular Phillies blogger Mike "Meech" Meechiano was perhaps the biggest fan of "This Tweet"; I could always count on a RT from the proprietor of The Fightins1. But what should have been a weekly feature turned into a monthly special and now I'm here to give it a proper burial. Nobody can ever, ever do a weekly rundown of baseball player tweets anywhere in the blogosphere. Ever again.

Enough with the legal mumbo-jumbo. On with the listicle of my favorite 140-charactered nonsense from the past year of "This Tweet in Baseball"!

At the top of the list of things we wanted to highlight were baseball players possibly talking about Internet porn. Thanks, Jason Grilli.


Perhaps the most featured baseball player was Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan, whose proselytizing and in-your-face spirituality came off cheap and downright silly on Twitter. Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Tweet about it and we'll make fun of you.



Also great: players oversharing about their various illnesses and bouts of barfing or the Hershey squirts, especially when they picked it up from their kids:


Or from food poisoning, allegedly:


Remember the day Ozzie Guillen joined Twitter? It was like Christmas and New Years Eve and Opening Day, all mashed up into one. God, he is the best.


Our other favorite manager on Twitter is noted ginzo Tommy Lasorda, He might not compose his own Tweets but following him is worth it just for the awkward photos.


Jim Bowden was, is, and forever will be a total dope. He's also a total bore who feels the need to tweet about Hollywood and celebrities like a common hausfrau.


Jose Canseco, once shockingly hilarious with his unmatchable display of dumbness, has become a parody of himself lately. Doesn't mean his spewings are any less entertaining in retrospect:


Alright, fans of "This Tweet": hit the bricks.

1It needs to be said: Walkoff Walk, like hot pretzels and the TV sitcom "Amen", was especially popular in Philadelphia. We thank the good people of that fine city for their support over the years.

Cat Stairs Says Goodbye

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Today, Cat Stairs, Official Mascot of Walkoff Walk, says goodbye. Yeah, this is just a poorly-done collage of cat photos. It's pretty adorable. Deal.

Thanks to Matt Stairs, of course, for being Walker's nickname's namesake and for hitting a home run that puts a huge goofy smile on my face every time I watch it. Thanks to Caitlin for two kitten photos above and Sarah for most of the rest. And an extra special thanks to that same Sarah for letting me use her cat as a mascot for this site despite that being quite strange, when you think about it. But, aww, little Cat Stairs, so cute!

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WHO DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING

BY LAWRENCE "LARRY" CHIPPER JONES

SO I GUESS THIS BLOG IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS AND I HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO BUT IF YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING THEN YOU'RE BLINDER THAN A SQUIRREL STORING HIS FEAST IN A WOLFS MOUTH. I MEAN THIS WEBPAGE HAS HAD A LONG RUN SPECIALLY CONSIDERING THAT THE DUDES WHO RUN IT ARE PRETTY SUSPECT I MEAN ONE DUDE IS ITALIAN AND THE OTHER GUY IS GREEK WHICH WOULD BE A GOOD COMBO FOR A SITE ABOUT ROASTING WHOLE FISH BUT WHEN YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT THE GRAND GAME YOU NEED TRUE BLUE DUDES WHO ARE DYED IN THE WOOL.

SO I THINK MAYBE I COULD HELP MAYBE I COULD BE THE TENTPOLE THAT SHELTERS THIS MESSAGE BOARD FROM THE STORM SO I TALKED TO SOME OF MY FAMOUS BALLGAME PALS AND ASKED THEM ABOUT THIS SERVER AND WOULDNT YOU KNOW IT NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM READS THIS MESS I GUESS YOU FIGURED THAT I GUESS THATS WHY YOURE SHUTTIN DOWN THE DOG AND HORSE ACT THAT YOU ARE RUNNING. SO YOU SHOULD BE PRETTY HONORED THAT A REAL AMERICAN HERO LIKE L-C-J- WOULD COME AROUND AND OFFER YOU ADVICE.

IM NOT SURE WHAT THE ROAD HOLDS IN ITS GRASP FOR YOU FELLAS I CANT IMAGINE THAT THE HORIZONS ARE BRIGHT I MEAN IF YOU CANT HACK IT HERE YOU CANT MAKE IT ANYWHERE LIKE NEW YORK NEW YORK. BUT I SHOULDNT BE TOO HARD ON YOU I MEAN YOUVE GOT A PRETTY BIG STABLE OF OTHER NANCIES WHO HAVE ALL KINDS OF TIME ON THEIR HANDS TO MAKE PUNS AND BAKE CHOCOLATY SPECIALTIES AND TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR OFFSPRING. SO MAYBE YOU AND THIS REBEL APPLIANCE CREW SHOULD TEAM UP AND DO LIKE A TRAVELING SIDESHOW WHERE YOU CAN GET OTHER DUDES IN TIGHT JEANS TO SHELL OUT SOME BUCKAROOS AND HEAR YOU MAKE LITERACY JOKES. OR MAYBE YOU SHOULD START A NEW GEOCITIES PAGE ABOUT BALLGAME STATS AND CALL IT 'MAN I WISH WE COULD MASH LIKE CHIP HERE ARE SOME NUMBERS OF GUYS WHO TRY.' THATS PRETTY MUCH THE GIST OF THE SPORTS WEB WORLD ANYWAY.

NAW ANYWAY IM JUST FUNNIN ON YA I MEAN I GUESS THIS PLACE IS OK. I MET THAT CATSHIRT DUDE THE ONE TIME AND EVEN THOUGH HE SMELLED LIKE AMERICAN SPIRIT SMOKES AND APPLESAUCE HE WAS ACTUALLY COOL HE LOANED ME A BLACK FLAG CD AND IT WAS DECENT I MEAN FOR A COMPANY THAT MAKES INSECT FOGS THEYRE HALF DECENT. AND I HAVE A FRIEND (YO KENT MERCKER HOLLER AT ME) WHO FOLLOWS FRUITBAT ON TWITTINGS AND HE SAID HES PRETTY INFORMATIVE SO I GUESS THATS GOOD. ID LIKE TO THINK THAT YOUR OL PAL CHIP HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT MATUREMENT IN THE PUBLIC EYE BUT WHO KNOWS MAYBE YOU HEEDED MY WISDOMS MAYBE YOU DIDNT. FARE WELL FELLAS AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO KEEP ONE EYE ON THE TARGET AND TWO EYES ON YOUR BACK CUZ WHEN YOURE LINING UP A SHOT THERES TWO MORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE YOU IN THEIR SIGHTS.

IN GOD WE TRUST,
CHIPPER

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Sure, we've made a lot of enemy-folk in the past at Walkoff Walk. Some are celebrity-style public figures who we can legally scorn and poke fun at without worry of breaking the law. Others are portly beat writers who fall into a gray area of libel laws that we'd not like to skirt right now. Still others are competing bloggers who already know, deep down in the darkest confines of their humorless soul, that they are awful at writing and even worse at comedy. We need not inform them of what they already know.

In the end, nobody else in the world is to blame for the demise of Walkoff Walk except (a) ourselves and (b) the emergence of microbloggy things like Twitter and Tumblr.

I say ourselves because let's face it: Kris and I would like nothing more than to spend the rest of our lives writing about baseball and making people laugh. But we have other lives and other careers that pay us actual money. We're happy that we've associated ourselves with team members like Drew and Dan who are still keeping the dream alive and busting their asses writing every single day. But Kris and I? You can tell that our commitment to Walkoff Walk ain't what it used to be, and that's okay.

Make no mistake, this here blog started out like a house on fire. We regularly posted six or seven times a day back in 2008, not with thoughtful, long-form pieces but short reblogs of other folks' news reporting cut in with our own original sense of humor. It worked. It worked really well, even though we were ripping off the Deadspin posting model without the alluring salaciousness or enormous audience and ad revenue that came with it. It was Deadspin creator Will Leitch who responded to the news that Kris and I were starting a baseball blog with enthusiasm; unfortunately, he was hoping we would do a "Kissing Suzy Kolber-style take on baseball". Will made our enemies list that very day.

Satire was mostly dead in 2008 and its corpse is still cold today. What do people want in the future? I guess they want tweets. Heck, our favorite people in the whole world, our thirty-or-so devoted commenters, are very well-represented on the Twittersphere and entertain one another all day long. I love it. I love that I somehow earned 1500 followers just from having this dumb blog and a handful of Rob Neyer tweets. I like experiencing live baseball with these friends in a virtual manner.

Time has really taken its toll on our blogging fingers and ideas. Maybe it's just easier to compose 140-character witticisms and press "return" than it is to write a few paragraphs, steal an image from Flickr, and press "publish". That's okay, and it is inevitable: there is only one inspirational poster in the Walkoff Walk break room and it pictures a baby dressed up as a cocktail wiener, seated in front of a Commodore 64 with the accompanying text in block letters: "Blogging's hard, y'all".

It really is, baby cocktail wiener. It really is.

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Is there any first name that inspires more hatred than "Jeff"? I think not! Hit the bricks, Brads and Todds of the world; today, we at Walkoff Walk choose to continue the enemies list by singling out our most hated people with the name "Jeff" or the heterographically-equivalent "Geoff".

Consider yourselves lucky, Jeff Weaver and Jeff Torborg and Geoff Blum and AJC blogger Jeff Schultz. You were simply too invisible to earn a shred of our ire.

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We've covered all the Italian-American managers we despise already but left one very important person off the list: Jim Leyland. That decrepit excuse for a manager has a special history with our own Kris Liakos which I will reproduce here. As first related to us in April 2008 by my partner in blogging, here is Kris' encounter with the old codger:

"It's May of 1999, the baseball season is about 6 weeks in. I am a high school junior and sportswriter for the school paper. Me and a bunch of other high school sports journalists from South Florida are invited to the Marlins High School Media Day. I could not have been more excited. I pulled my rusty, A/C-less '86 Ponitac Grand AM into the press parking lot (!!!) and headed for the press box where the day was to begin.

As a history refresher, the Marlins had won the World Series in 1997 and gone through the first of their fire sales. The team totally sucked and attendance was accordingly bleak. Sound familiar? We got to interview some players (not in the locker rooms, thank god). Kids were lobbing softball questions and then I asked Kevin Millar if it was hard to get excited to play a game against the Expos when there were 1000 fans there. He muttered something about being a professional then another kid asked him what CDs he listens to.

So anyway, after our tour of the inside of the park, we got to go stand on the field and watch batting practice. They were playing the Rockies, coincidentally managed by Jim Leyland in his first year since leaving the Marlins. I got to stand with Dante Bichette and Todd Helton and talk to them a little bit. For a 17 year old, it was about as kickass as it sounds. After talking to Bichette I wanted to write some stuff down but realized I had left my notebook in the press room (this is a recurring theme in my life). I rushed off the field through the tunnel to grab the notebook before someone threw it out.

At the first blind corner in the tunnel, I see a flash of purple and feel a dull thud against my chest and midsection. I looked down to see an angry and cursing Jim Leyland.

"Why don't you watch where you're going you stupid little piece of shit! What the hell are they letting you around here for anyway?"

The sight of a diminutive and livid Jim Leyland caused me to start giggling. I wanted to apologize, but couldn't. I kept laughing. This angered ol' Amberteeth even more.

His voice rose in volume and echoed through the tunnel. "You think it's fucking funny, asshole? How about I have you tossed out of here? Aw shit, I don't have time for this."

He stormed off to the field, I finally stopped giggling and retrieved my notebook."

We had fun at Leyland's expense on a couple of other occasions but really, Jim needs to sit at the very top of our enemies list for managers because of that awful encounter with a young Kris "Catshirt" Liakos.

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Can you believe this completely insane photograph? I'm rubbing my eyes over here trying to figure out if it's some elaborate Photoshop. If not, that's former Dodgers manager and current dago gadabout (in Italy, they call him La Balena Loquace, or the chatty whale) Tommy Lasorda presenting Bobby Valentine with an award for managerial achievement. Bobby Valentine, whose wild success in the Japanese league is overshadowed by his wild mediocrity in the MLB. Bobby Valentine, whose most notable moment in baseball was wearing a hilariously poor post-ejection disguise in the dugout. Bobby Valentine, who couldn't get a job in this offseason's wide-open managerial market!

What's next? Milton Bradley winning an award for good sportsmanship? AMIRITE?

Bobby Valentine and Tommy Lasorda in the same photograph makes us seethe; they've both been constant targets of our blog over the past three years. Which brings us to the first portion of the official Walkoff Walk Enemies List: the managers, both past and present. And if Gregg Zaun ever gets a job as a manager, the future as well.

Enough yakking...TO THE ENEMIES!

Whew! I hope we didn't miss any folks on this list. Let us know in the comments if there are any managers who you want to file under "E" for enemies.

Folks, I'm glad we got the gang back together for one last Furious Five Radio Show last night. We had more live listeners last night that in any single show since our debut episode in March 2009 (not including the massively popular All Star Glogcast). I sometimes make fun of that bore Darren Rovell when he takes away all the joy of sports by bragging about TV ratings and whatnot, but it was a real joy to see so many of youse guys turn out to listen to four nerds prattle about nonsense.

Perhaps the highlight of the 52 minutes we spent together was when Kris had to duck into an ATM lobby to escape the inner city noise tableau only to have to duck out ten minutes later when some loudmouth New Yorkers started yakking in the background. This is how we do. And this is how our fans want it.

Missed the show last night? Here it is again, embedded for your pleasure:

Listen to internet radio with Walkoff Walk on Blog Talk Radio

Join us tonight as we bid farewell to the Furious Five Radio Show, our audio answer to a question nobody ever dared to ask. The WoW crew is going to join forces via the magic of telephone and broadcast our final show LIVE.

Back when we started the podcast in March '09, Kris and I wanted it to be a five-minute show where we talked about five topics in ridiculously fast fashion; unfortunately, the shortest show we could select on the platform was fifteen minutes. Being the loquacious dorks we are, that turned into thirty minutes and eventually culminated in a three-hour live All Star Game Glogcast this past summer with over 20 guests.

God, what a couple of boring windbags we are.

Odd, innit, that the good people at Blog Talk Radio have chosen February 1st as the date when they will start charging you actual money to host podcasts during prime-time hours. If we'd been more consistent (hi, Joe Morgan!) with our podcatting sked and chosen to continue the site past February, this Blog Talk Radio "premium account" mumbo jumbo would really throw a twig into our fixie wheel. Our Google Ad revenue can barely cover the hosting fees!

But alas, our final show tonight will cost us nothing to produce and cost you, dear reader/listener, just sixty minutes of your valuable time to enjoy. Join Drew, Kris, Dan, 310toJoba and me tonight at 9PM EST as we take a walkoff walk down a memory lane paved with shrimp and babies.

After the jump, the embedded Blog Talk Radio player and the lyrics to the greatest podcast theme song ever written:

shrimpshirt.jpgThree years on, it isn't hard to understand the appeal of a shrimp running on a treadmill set to Yakety Sax. It just makes sense, as it is sheer and unadulterated brilliance.

Brilliant as it may be, Kris' idea to embed the shrimp video every time a big league game ended in a walkoff walk started out innocently enough. The initial post promises to post the video during the inaugural season only. Obviously, this feature took off and became a sensation (with the internet's smallest S, that is.)

Not even Kris, in his infinite wisdom, could foresee the emergence of Twitter. Constant online connections among readers and shrimp fans took the walkoff walk/shrimp video phenomenon from best part of your morning RSS crawl to a community-wide orgy of anticipation and unchecked online glee.

The game-ending bases on balls came fast and furious, with the initial WoW occurring just a week into the 2008 season. In all, the 2008 and 2009 seasons provided 8 walkoff walks each. 2010 saw walkoff walk output fall off a cliff, not unlike the site itself. Only 4 WoWs this past season, including a three consecutive dry months. Shrimp, it seems, needs water to survive. I think we can all agree the first domino in the death of the site fell during this long, shrimpless summer past.

Twenty walkoff walks in 3 years, involving nineteen of the thirty big league teams. The Dodgers notched three walkoff walk wins in 3 years, leading the league in the most crucial stat. The Diamondbacks, Cubs, Tigers, Angels, and Phillies got two Benny Hill wins in our history. The reluctant heroes are those teams who lost in this most dishonorable fashion. The Braves, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Mets, and Nationals each took two shrimp on the chin. Walkoff Walks come in all shapes and sizes, let's make with the listicle!

  • We saw eleven 2 out walks while eight came with 1 out. Only one bases loaded walk came with nobody out - to Juan Pierre of all people. Jose Arredondo ended an Angels/Dodgers interleague battle for Los Angeles with a six pitch walk to Pierre, one of the weirdest WoWs on record.
  • Two games were tense, scoreless affairs before mirth muscled its way into the picture. Two each for games tied at 1, 2, and 4. Three games were tied at 5, six games were tied at three with single games tied at 6, 7, and 8.
  • Thirteen of the walks came with the count full, three came from 3-1 counts, and four poor saps ended their work night by missing the zone four straight times with the bases loaded.

The shrimp seems to come in bunches and mostly to NL West teams. August 2008 may well have been the zenith of the Walkoff Walk. WoWs on back to back days to start the month then two in one night on August 30th.

A huge night in Walkoff Walk history for a huge part of Walkoff Walk lore. I won't speak for anyone else but I seriously doubt I'll look at potential end-game situations quite the same again. The first Heist came so tantalizingly close to shrimp immortality, flipping the script in such a profound way. What started as a joke on an anti-climactic way to end a tight ball game is now the only way I want games to finish.

Once more, with feeling, let's celebrate what stands to be this site's lasting legacy. Get on your dancing shoes.



Huge assist to the great Pat Lackey - Heisthost and beleaguered Pirates blogger - for the Play Index support.

I second everything Rob said in last week's post. Searching for Classic TV Friday clips was one of my favorite blog related things to do. Back when I wrote a lot it was like a mini vacation. When I wrote less, I fooled myself into thinking it was an actual post. In any case, we saw lots of dope shit together, didn't we? I hope historians someday recognize the WoW Collection™ as an important contribution to the curation of stupid old baseball videos. Here are some faves.

Honorable mention goes to Joe Torre Flips Out - 1982, one we posted in July of '08. If it wasn't my favorite it sure was close, but unfortunately the video has been taken down. I'll make a batch of Cakies for anyone who can read the description in that link and find it for us.

Babe Ruth, Home Run On The Keys, June 13, 2008:


Playball Toy Commercial, July 3, 2008:


Will Clark Screams Like a Maniac, August 8, 2008:


Lucky Strike Cigarettes, February 27, 2009:

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Next up is BCTF, formerly known as BC Twins Fan. Big change there. He's a Twins fan so he must like snow and losing to the Yankees.

I already complained about not receiving an invite from Iracane to write one of these. That's because this site has never been about the content. It's always been about me. Deal with it.

(Ices passerby, still doesn't realize that meme jumped the shark like 8 fucking months ago, posts picture of it in comments section)

Where would this site be without my wit to carry it? Answer: nowhere.

(Cracks lame sexual joke, most likely about a fat chick or masturbation)

And you definitely need me to keep tabs on the authors. Otherwise they'd just write anything with no regard for facts.

(Nitpicks Kris for forgetting a free agency move occurred, misses entire point of post)

Most importantly, I really tied the comments section here together.

(Tells utterly random story about a family member that has nothing to do with anything, starts political flame war for fun)

In conclusion, you're welcome.

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Our little corner of the baseballblogosphere has always been an oddly-shaped one, with walls that don't quite meet at a right angle and a coat-hook with far too many zip-up cardigans. Walkoff Walk's writers and readers and commenters do not share a common team to cheer for; perhaps the only unifying thread among us is a penchant for food, babies, and babies dressed up like food. So, how is it that we baseball fans get along so well when we don't all support the same MLB squadron?

Perhaps a better question would be: what exactly are we rooting for? The tired aphorism tells us we are merely rooting for laundry when we declare allegiance for a team. Nonsense. I'll do my best to explain my personal choices and let you decide if you agree. And then maybe we'll get a better understanding of why so many of us find common ground when fandom dictates we spend more time with our "own kind".

So, when I say I am a Yankees fan, does that mean I am cheering for the private corporate interests in the front office? Doubtful. They've got my money, why should I also be sending them my heart and soul in a tidy package, too? The Yankees owners are not my enemy but I'd be lying if I said I've never wished them specific harm.

Am I cheering for the players? Some modern-day fans abandon team support entirely in favor of cheering for their favorite individual players, regardless of who those athletes' direct employers might be. Poppycock. While their feats on the field and in the batter's box may be extraordinary, these baseball-playing folk are no different than the typical, ordinary human being. They come from the same place, after all. They are the beer-swilling rednecks; they are the misogynistic fratboys. They are men who like the band Train. I generally do not like human beings as a whole, anyway. Why should I waste my time liking people who throw a ball for a living and already have heaps of praise in their laps?

Does my fandom lie in the city this team plays in? Nope, I've never lived in New York City, and were I to ever move there, the Bronx would only be the fourth most-likely borough in which I'd reside. And once the Tampa Bay Rays relocate to New Jersey, my baseball preferences could take a very interesting turn towards the geographically-proximate.

Other Yankees fans? Ha! Please. While some fans of the team are thoughtful, I need not describe the details of the typical jamook that shows up at the Stadium, crowds the Jersey sports bars with sweaty elbows, and yaps about the Yankees roster constantly to you, dear reader. The picture has been painted a thousand times with the same burnished colors.

No, in the end, I am merely a fan of the sport. I'll extol its virtues to anyone and sing the praises of baseball in the face of any non-believer. Writing about my favorite sport for nearly three years and having an audience who actually wanted to read my sentences was such a thrill. I hope, if anything, we at Walkoff Walk could turn just one casual baseball fan into an ardent supporter of the pastime.

Favorite players come and go, team allegiances fade year-to-year when the playoffs come around and one's preferred team is golfing, and the far-too-devoted fans turn every win and loss into a life-or-death deal. Laundry? Nah, I'll root for the washing machine that tumbles it all together.

What's Up, Creampuff: A Feature That Finally Died

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When Rob and I first started we had a couple convoluted ideas for recurring features. All the ladies in the house that remember Tavern Talking Points say HAAAAAAAAY. But as we were advised by our peers and would find out on our own later, these things can't be forced. And what would become the first, and one of the longest running, features was What's Up, Creampuff.. Like 95% of the things I wrote it started as a whimsical and mildly newsy one off where I insulted baseball players. For sensitivity's sake I used a picture of a random guy being loaded onto an ambulance via gurney. It stuck.This poor dude's suffering become blog iconic. And a t-shirt. Sorry, man.

Like everything we were amazed that people read it and more than anything else in the early days, Creampuff helped inform my writing style. I wrote variations of the word "dude" a lot, used all caps too much and turned medical/baseball talk into beatnik slang. Always remember that it's longer to type "deel" than "DL" but shorter to say. I also libeled dozens of middling journeymen by saying they were raped by wallabies. Still my favorite tag. The feature prompted one of our earliest, longest and strangest guest pieces, Will Carroll's LSD-Noir epic, Picking The Historical Creampuff. Though he tabs Jose Canseco (there goes that man again!) as the All Time Creampuff, the piece is notable for its inclusion of Mark Fidrych just about one year before he died under his dump truck. WILL CARROLL IS A WITCH.

When you've finally wasted so much time in your office that you have literally nothing else good to look at on the internet (and trust me, that day is coming) I hope you'll peruse these here WoW archives. If you do, I think you'll find that Creampuff retires with a pretty high Joke Per Word Typed percentage. Maybe you'll be able to use some good ones to make fun of your sick/injured friends/relatives. But for now, let's get all empirical on that ass as we find the ALL-TIME WALKOFF WALK CREAMPUFF by combing the entire category link and counting names...

Okay this is taking way too long and I have no idea how to actually do it in a reasonable manner. But I can speculate with some degree of certainty that the first name that appears the most is "Carlos."

WHAT'S UP, CARLOS?

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Let's continue our meander down Walkoff Walk's weed-infested memory lane, whaddya say? Ah, the Wednesday Afternoon Liveglog Club, one of several great features at Walkoff Walk that started out mediocre and eventually dwindled down to nothingness until it disappeared completely. Kind of like Joe Randa's career.

I'm not sure what the everlasting memory of the Liveglog Club will be: either the fact that most glogs ended after the seventh inning of games, or the impossible task of simultaneously listening to a game on the radio and trying to relay the information to the reader, or the basic lack of actual baseball content in glogs that usually devolved into food chat, or the nifty Liveglog Club patches that we made you iron on to your blue blazers.

What started out as a casual way to entertain cubicle-bound folks on workday afternoons in the regular season, though, became a total blowout in the postseason. Since playoff games happen every dang night of the week and since some of the editors were actually attending said games, we took the easy way out and brought in very special guests to help us out.

Note this well, dear reader: our friends in the grand blogosphere received no payment for their work here and were heavily restricted by the enormously slow WoW servers. Their work, however, was second-to-none and always entertaining.

Today, we salute:

  • Sooze, of Babes Love Baseball and Twitter:

    Sooze, the world's foremost female Twins fan and admirer of Joe "Man Muscles" Mauer, did five postseason and four regular season liveglogs for us along with at least two other feature columns. More than anything, Sooze lifted up the level of enthusiasm at Walkoff Walk and brought in a ton of commenters to have a grand old time. I still feel bad that my team of choice has done nothing but beat up on her team of choice over the history of our blog but really, the Yankees are just getting revenge for that awful 2006 MVP vote.

  • Matt Sussman, of everywhere on the Internet, including Twitter:

    Mr. Sussman, a bedraggled Tigers fan, is master of the pun and turn-of-phrase. Sadly, his career of liveglogging at Walkoff Walk was short-lived, I can find just two games in his archives and both featured miasmic AL Central teams: Mariners vs Royals and Tigers vs White Sox. Regular season, natch. However! Suss was a frequent guest of ours during massive All Star Game liveglogs, appeared on the podcast at least twice, and turned us down more often than not during the postseason to get paid to liveglog at far richer websites.

  • Tuffy, of SB Nation and Twitter:

    Pity our good pal Tuffy and his Cubs fandom. He's just another member of the vast Chicago diaspora in the dry heat of Arizona who can only witness Cubs wins when they don't matter during Spring Training. But let us now salute the man who has done a whopping ten playoff liveglogs for us, including the infamous 2008 ALCS Game Five glog that threatened to shut down the entire Internet with its vast number of comments and huge picture files. Special thanks from me to Sir Tuffy R. Tuffenstein for his dramatic Cover It Live glog of the Yankees clinching Game Six over the hated Phillies in 2009.

Honorable mention to commenter NJPANick for his one-off Cover-It-Live appearance in the 2010 ALDS. Yeah, that was the liveglog that featured videos of 1990s slow jams, because why not?

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We're still a few days away from unveiling the official Walkoff Walk enemies list but since said list contains folks towards whom we have sustained hatred, now seems like a good time to do a feature on a handful of people we have attacked just once. To wit, I decided that today, and not Saturday night, is alright for fighting. Let's crap out a complete lineup of the professional baseball players (and executives!) that our own Kris Liakos has publicly called to the mat for a tussle.

Kris has a rich history of challenging athletes to fights that (probably) predates the blog. It doesn't matter one shred to Kris that his targets will probably not read his calls for confrontation. Heck, one of his most noteworthy moments of aggression was demanding that an invisible old man at a Pirates game hand over his bag of peanuts! Here, to that end, are the three instances that occurred over the past three years:

  • Jose Canseco, May 21, 2008:

    "My name is Kris and I want to fight Jose Canseco. I am 6'1 and weigh about 195 pounds. I'm a little heavier in the winter. As a kid I was a big Canseco fan and even had his split screen 40/40 poster in my room. Now I would like the chance to beat him up. I have no background in fighting and have not been in a fight in many years but I'm confident I could take him. I co-edit a baseball site called Walkoff Walk and am positive both Jose and I could use the publicity."


  • John Lackey, October 7, 2008:

    "Oh, you whiny little mushroom head. I'm sure it hurts to lose. You're a competitive guy. Heck, I even complimented you the other night. I admit Pedroia can be kind of annoying to the opposition so I'll cut you a little slack there. But to flat out claim that you're a better team, but lost, well that's the oldest sore loser line in the book. It's not like this series went the distance. You took ONE GAME. You had two at home. You sir, are a tremendous imbecile, and if you'll oblige I'd like to fight you in public."


  • Chris Volstad, Gaby Sanchez, and/or Jeffrey Loria, September 2, 2010:

    "Hey Volstad, congratulations on being the first jar of Hellman's Mayonnaise to make it to the majors. I'm sure everyone back home at the mathematical center of America is very proud. If you threw at me twice in the same game I'd smoosh your head between two graham crackers like the giant marshmallow that it is. Nyjer Morgan's crime was trying to steal a base... down by 11. Is it Stupid Old Man Baseball Code Opposite Day? Not only is that so backwards that only a Marlins fan could agree with it, but you're also a huge wimp. It's easy to be the enforcer when it's 9 on 1. You can reach me at tips@walkoffwalk.com and we'll fight."

Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure Loria is close to the top of our enemies list. Congrats to Jeff for the distinction of appearing in two posts during our final month!

Fat-Sox.JPGDuring this most self-indulgent and navel-gazing period of slow Walkoff Walk death, I encourage you all to take some time & comb through the archives.

Not only will you discover more typographical errors than a baseball player's twitterfeed, you'll also discover many recurring topics. Each of us has our own pet projects. As WoW draws to a close, it is my turn to say farewell to one of my favorite subjects: the big fat dynamos of the White Sox bullpen.

Not only are we at Walkoff Walk saying good bye to our planetoid muses on the South Side, the Sox themselves are taking a new tack with the relief corps. Bobby Jenks assumes Rich Garcas' old jersey/pool cover in Boston and J.J. Putz now orders personal taco platters for the Snakes, meaning the White Sox bullpen has a whole new identity.

Signing lanky lefty Will Ohman is a sure indicator of change. Though reports of his girth vary wildly depending on the source, his average fastball velocity only checks in around 90 mph. These aren't your diabetic father's Sox relievers. Ohman manages decent strikeout numbers despite his soft-tossing ways, ensuring temporary passage into the exclusive buffet.

Youthful beanpole Chris Sale figures to be a bullpen fixture for 2011. With a crowded rotation the Sox don't seem rushed to move the very tall, very skinny Sale into the rotation. Despite weighing in at a paltry 170 pounds, Sale and his 95 mph bring the heat in a most Pale Hosian fashion.

Not all hope is lost for the Second City's purveyors of deep dish pizza. The Sox signing of Adam Dunn and all the pirogies stuffed with cannoli Paul Konerko's new bazillion dollar contract can buy keeps the Sox charter flights from carrying any extra fuel. Moving the beef from the pen to the dugout simply ensures better drainage at U.S. Cellular. Farewell, my obese friends. I'll miss your surly expressions and multiple chins. Stay large!

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Can you believe that we used to be service-y at Walkoff Walk and provide you with actual baseball news and game recaps? I know, what a crock of nonsense and marmalade! But it's true: every morning for well over a year, we used to provide a daily roundup of baseball games that ended before I went to bed, simply titled "Baseball Before Bedtime". During the offseason, we used to dump out some transaction news and rumormongering inanity in a daily piece called "The Dutch Oven". These features are long dead and thank goodness for that: they were not exactly fun to assemble and probably couldn't entertain the simplest of readers.

Kris and I originally thought it would be funny to write "Baseball Before Bedtime" as a dream journal, where one of us would recap some of the games we saw before we went to sleep and then, instead of recapping the West Coast games, we'd write a fictional version of the game that was intertwined with whatever we dreamed about. In the end, perhaps the best decision we ever made was to abandon the entire lucid dreaming idea after the 11:39PM entry from Kris' late night Opening Day liveglog:

11:39: I am floating above some sort of convention. There are all kinds of different booths, tables and displays. I am trying to make out what kind of convention it is but I am unable. I am concentrating so hard I don't even notice the giant spinning fan blades feet ffrom my head. I scream and shield myself but i go right through. Suddenly I am talking to my father, but he's not really my father, he's a cactus. We're at the Beach House show I went to last night.

Instead, we kept with the "before" bedtime concept, pairing the short recaps with a song title about sleeping and a photograph of a slumbering child. Which once again proves my theory that one of out every seven Walkoff Walk posts contains a photo of either a baby or Dusty Baker. (see the first ever Baseball Before Bedtime and marvel at its dullness).

By August 2009, I grew tired of the concept and, after BBB's final edition, transitioned into the Monday Morning Movement Memo that documented the race for playoff positions. This, too, died off (in less than a month!) and morning recaps disappeared from the site forever.

Nobody noticed.

During the previous winter's offseason, I debuted The Dutch Oven to track the daily comings and goings on major league rosters during what laypeople call "the hot stove season". But we could never really compete with all the clearinghouse rumormongering blogs out there with this daily listicle. If we wanted to serve our readership better, we should have just put stew recipes in the Dutch Oven posts. Regrets! We've had a few!

Why the depressing look back? Well, after yesterday's reader gladhanding, I feel like I needed to bring my head down from the clouds. To that end, I say this much: these two features stunk on ice and I'm glad they're dead.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Next up is NJPANick, formerly known as Honeynut Ichiros and a true trashy Phillies fan from South Jersey:

"It's impossible to fully wrap one's head around all of the many reasons why Wezen-Ball is one of the most cherished sites in the baseball blogosphere. Wait. This is supposed to be about who? Walkoff Walk? Oh, um, ok. If you're a fan of recipes and babies in costumes and shitty hipster rock, BOY OH BOY is this a sad time for you, friendo. Walkoff Walk is the preeminent destination for lobster outfits and chicken roasting. And that's probably why I'm so sad that it's going away.

Like many of the long-timers around here, I found my way over thanks to a Deadspin link. It read something like "Rob Iracane and Camp Tiger Claw are starting a baseball blog. Go check it out while it lasts." So I came here mostly out of spite because Iracane never approved me for a Deadspin commenter account. "Go comment on that prick's blog," I thought. "Make tired Anchorman references and talk about your fantasy team. That'll show him." But then I got here, and it was so damn charming and funny, I wanted to bring it home and meet my mom. BUT JUST FOR COFFEE, no shenanigans.

So here's a quick listicle of what I'll miss about wow, in no particular order. Why a listicle? Because I'm lazy and hacky, much like the actual content on WoW! Plus, I can 'get away' with poor grammar and awful syntax! Much like the actual content on WoW!

  • Where else can we go to mock Dale Murphy's pudgy kid, and then get berated by a bunch of random yokels?
  • Without WoW, Graeme Lloyd's wave of Aussie terror will run unchecked.
  • I'll never get to be an on-the-scene reporter again, like I did during the 2008 WFC parade in Philly. (a special shout-out to AT&T's can-and-string network, which sent all of my communiques to Rob in one fell swoop).
  • How else will I pass the time on Wednesday Afternoons? 89 liveglogs were half-assed on this here site. That's at least 178 hours of lost productivity from our nation's corporations.
  • Who else would organize a meetup of internet commenters who chant for shellfish during the game's key moments?
  • I can guaran-damn-tee you that no sane blogger will ever give me the keys to the place again, much less sit and watch as I turn a playoff liveglog into a mid-90s hip-hop jam session. SOUL 4 REAL 4EVA
  • And CHIPPER. Oh CHIPPER. I'll miss you the most.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Rob and Kris (and every other schmoe who 'worked' here). You guys made this corner of the internet a warm, fuzzy place for baseball nerds who otherwise would have been trolling the boards at BleacherReport. And although we won't be able to come here every day and gab like housemarms, we've got Twitter and Tumblr to help bridge the gap, which will have to be good enough until someone buys the right to wowies.com and starts a nonsense blog just so we can talk about our kids and our cats."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. We now give you a real, live Nationals fan, an international star of stage and screen, Mr. Matt DeTura, aka MDT:

"What I should be writing here is a thank you note for the PR firm of Iracane and Liakos, LLP, who have done more for my career as an intermittent Internet famewhore than just about any other. I'm pretty sure the human condition they're referring to isn't my unchecked ego. Regardless! I have another personal story.

My baseball life has been marked by failure and cynicism. I grew up a Phillies fan, worshiping Wild Thing and Nails and Dutch and Krukker - only to get my young heart shattered in 1993 in Toronto. A messy divorce from the game followed as I concentrated on playing the game rather than following it while the players were on strike, but even that stopped in high school when I couldn't catch up to the fastball, let alone the curve. Every time I stepped onto the track to sprint, I envisioned I was going the most exciting 90 feet in sports: the steal of second base. (This irked my coach, who became livid when I'd drop into a figure-four slide one-third of the way through the 100 meter dash.)

I drifted further in college, embracing my other sporting loves: football, hockey, fighting. Even Durham Bulls games were a lark for me, a way to spend a few hours drinking someplace that wasn't a dorm room.

When I moved to DC in 2005 I was just about ready to love again, and for one magical summer it was just that as Your Washington Nationals packed the wobbly rafters of RFK Stadium and had an amazing July run. I kept score and drank stale beer and refined my sunflower spitting technique, and for the first time in a long time, the thrill was back.

Well, in spite of a nice new (if a bit antiseptic stadium), the beer goggles wore off. The Nats are, uh homely. And untalented. And unlucky. (At least they're not the cocktease the Phillies were, always getting justthisclose before finally I'd had enough and bam - WFC. My fan karma, there.) But in spite of it, they've gotten me into the ballpark on Opening Day the past three years, and every year now I get to celebrate that one little dawning bit of hope, that beautiful spring rebirth that makes every year just a little bit brighter.

Right up until every pitcher on the roster's elbow simultaneously explodes.

But it wasn't a new town or a new stadium or the occasional bobble-head night that got me really excited about baseball again. It was hanging out on Walkoff Walk with like-minded snarksters who'd rather watch shrimp run than scream about steroids or quibble over SABR-rattling. For Deadspin refugees like me, it was a safe place to repopulate our delightful sports-related idiocy, the neighborhood bar online for 364 days a year (and one annual, crazy one in Pennsylvania where I've gotten to put some faces to names and make a lot of great, lasting friends).

Blogging on the internet has become Balkanized in a lot of ways. People would rather talk about their team, or their player, or their tiny niche meme (ocelotswearingmonocles.tumblr.com) than just sit around and talk shop about the game itself. And by "talk shop" I mean "make fun of Chipper Jones". Knowing it was a labor of love for the Street Team (although I don't know, Liakos' ad revenues may exceed what's in his hobo bindle) made it all the better.

Walkoff Walk got me really excited about baseball season for the first time since I had baseball cards in the spokes of my bike tires, and I needed that for the long, cruel summer between Duke winning championships and Miami shitting the gridiron. Thanks guys, for that."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Tigers fan and D.C.-area resident Jerkwheat is now up to bat:

"I want to feel sadness over the closing of WoW, but mostly I just feel rage and anger. This is primarily because Rob and Kris talked me into spending $1500 on a new designer liveglog blazer with assurances that it would be useful for "years to come". Now I see it was just a way for me to line the pocket's of Iracane's goomba mafiosa family and their "tailor" business.

Other than ridiculous blazer expenses, my fondest WoW memories are of the Heists. Meeting a large lot of you all, getting black out drunk with you, sharing buckets of chicken wings whilst singing Danzig - these are the memories we take with us, children. Catshirt appearing magically in a haze of dirt and PBR in Philly. Rob getting dealt with in Pittsburgh. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania secretly ordering the shutdown of the website in exchange for the return of The Colonel to Missouri. Those are the moments I will cherish forever.

Also, Catshirt saying the 2008 Tigers will score 1100 runs. THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Right now we head out to the Pacific Northwest to hear from Seattle Mariners fan GorgeForeman, a real class act through and through:

"PROLOGUE: I have never figured out how CHIPPER happens, and I don't think I want to know. Just understand that I think whoever is responsible should win some sort of global award.

Like many WoW regulars, I followed Rob and Kris from Deadspin. In fact, the handle "GorgeForeman" came from me frantically trying to come up with something clever in order to make a guest comment (or whatever they were called back then) that I thought might impress Rob enough to give me a commenter account at DS (it worked--the commenter account part, not the clever part).

Walkoff Walk was definitely more my speed, anyway. I've always loved that this blog can be funny and snarky without resorting to out-and-out meanness. It speaks volumes about the tenor of WoW that so many guys and gals came over from another site, and continued to comment here for three years. Not to overstate things, but it's sort of a familial community at WoW. I'm one of the elder statesmen here, and even though I don't really know any of you, it's been quite a joy to experience big news about people getting engaged, getting married, starting new jobs, moving, having babies, etc. And I think that's why all of this feels so much like a funeral.

WoW has been a nice diversion for me over these three years, and I feel like it all but saved my life 15 months ago, when I was constantly traveling for work and at my end with a number of things. Almost nightly I would land in a new hotel in a new city or town, exhausted and missing my family terribly, but I'd fire up my laptop and have a blast following the games with everyone else on the postseason glogs. Viva wombat! Oh, and my all-time favorite glog was the one when all youse guys presented me with a graduate-level course on the Jersey Shore (this was prior to "Jersey Shore"). Fascinating!

You commenters really are fantastic. You are funny and smart, and you have taught me so much about music, baking, and recreational drug use. Surprisingly little about baseball, though.

So to Rob and Kris--and to everyone who has made this thing go, including Dan, Drew, and "310toJoba"--thanks for the fun. In no one else's honor will I ever again construct a crude, musical slideshow featuring Roger Mudd.

Bon Voyage,
David R.

PS I still hate Darren. And Carlos Silva."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Here is our resident San Francisco Giants fan, commenter Phillas, whose history at Walkoff Walk is so intertwined with his West Coast compatriot Farthammer:

"I don't know how many other idiots commenters were asked to write something for this post, so I'll keep mine short. Thank you fine men for three years of good writing. Going through 3,298.2 postings at the WoW Archive Warehouse and trying to find my particular favorites wasn't working for me. I would just want to link to the articles in which I was featured anyways.

What brought me to the site was the wit of Rob and Kris. What kept me coming back was that the site didn't focus on one team or one facet of baseball, but consisted of articles that appealed to a fan of the game. The posts were a collection of intelligence, humor, and cleverness, without being shrill or hackneyed. I won't create a listicle of all the great features, but I will say I enjoyed the liveglogs (Tuffy should get a shout out for his exceptional work). From them I added 'whoopsiedoodle' to my vocabulary. The "Creampuff," "Tweet in Baseball," and "Classic TV Friday" should have been compulsatory reading/viewing.

The site also afforded me the chance to meet the other West Coast WoWie, Farthammer. How many people get to say that? Lastly, what I took from WoW, literally, was the gif for the Wil Cordero Memorial Linkpunch.

So thanks to Kris, Drew, J, Dan, and Rob for all their smart/fun/horseshit postings over the last three years. If you are ever in San Francisco (WS Champs), there will always be watermelon waiting for your beer."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

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In yet another stroke of self-aggrandizement, we editors of Walkoff Walk have asked our most devoted readers and commenters to contribute short essays about how much they love us. Some responded positively. Others, not so much. Today, we'll highlight some of the positive reflections. Here is star commenter Farthammer, the only Oakland A's fan anyone knows, with his memories:

"I totally don't remember how I heard about WoW - I assume it was back when I still read Deadspin regularly. Maybe when Rob left there, he linked to WoW? Maybe I was searching for Whacking off Whitepeople photos on Google, as I was wont to do back then in my spare time. Regardless, I found it. I then discovered that it was about my favorite sport, and THEN I discovered that just like at ESPN, there was a large East-Coast Bias. I had to rectify that by talking about the A's. Nobody really cared for a while.

Then I dropped Cakies on you motherfuckers. Yeah, you cared now about me and my A's, didn't you? Fucking yellow cake mix cookies and shit all up in your company. Christ, NJPANick has huge hands. Like Andre the Giant...or a Facehugger from Alien.

A few moments really stand out when I reminisce while listening to PM Dawn: (Look these stories up in the archives for smiles and possible boners)

The first is when phillas crashed my wedding. Yeah, THAT happened. I had jokingly told him when and where it was in the weeks leading up to it in the comments section, but kinda forgot about it. But he actually showed up and it was hilarious.

I also got tasked by Rob to attend an Olde-Timey game in San Jose with phillas. We drank beer in the parking lot and then reported on the game. I think some people from the actual game popped up in the comments section and corrected my mistakes.

And how could I forget meeting Rob in person? He and his fiancee and some friends (that other chick totally wanted to bone, too. phillas knows what I'm talking about1). We drank good beer, saw a Giants game in about 45 minutes (I think there were 3 hits total), then drank watermelon beer and IPA in a can.

Finally, there were thousands of small moments that I look at fondly. Liveglogs. That picture I sent of Josh Hamilton wearing the Ron Washington shirt that got put on the website. Creampuff posts. Shrimp.

On the real, though - this website brought a bunch of random, anonymous people together in a really cool way. I consider a lot of these people I never even met to be friends. That might sound weird, but it's true - think about how many countless hours we have spent making each other laugh. I would bet a lot of you spent more time talking with us than your coworkers. Which is good, because Pam in HR is kind of a bitch, and Tom in Marketing is probably gunning for your job.

I hope someone starts up another blog so I can keep in touch with you all. And I hope someone reminds me of what your already-existing blogs are called, because I forget.

1chick did not actually want to bone."

Want to share your memories of Walkoff Walk? Leave a comment or drop us a line.

Ah, the good old country comfort of Classic TV Friday. A lazy baseball blogger's best friend. It's one of the few features (only feature?) that has remained constant throughout the three-year history of our human condition blogging. After all, what could be easier than popping open YouTube, typing "old timey cigarette commercial with charming milquetoast baseball star" into the search field, and clicking the "FIND ME SOME DAMN CONTENT, MR. YOUTUBE" button?

What could be easier? A Classic TV clip show! Here are five of my favoritest Classic TV posts from the archives, in no particular order:

Come See What's Brewin', August 22, 2008:


I maintain that the Mark Attanasio-era Brewers are the most fan-friendly franchise in baseball (just look at their amazing prize raffle!) but watching this old promo video from the 70's makes me think that folks in Milwaukee can ignore their awful team and just have a good time; the team simply knows how to make money off that by encouraging tailgating and in-stadium fun.

Future HOFer Roberto Alomar Implores You to Catch De Taste, December 4, 2009:


If our newest hall-of-famer Robbie Alomar were to make a commercial today imploring us to catch something, I'm sure we'd all feel pretty uncomfortable. This is one of those commercials that's legendary north of the border but possibly never aired in the US. It's the Tim Hortons of baseball-played-endorsed-punch commercials.

Buy a Chevy and Steve Garvey Will Knock You Up in the Backseat, August 21, 2009:


Sigh, the lengths Steve Garvey had to go to so he could pay off all his child support lawsuits. More than anything, I just liked the clever headline on this post.

Mickey Mantle Switches To Natural Light- 1980, May 23, 2008:


It really is sad that Mickey Mantle is playing a pinball game whose ultimate goal is to "beat Roger Maris' record 61 home runs". Also sad: Mickey Mantle in a beer commercial. Also sad: that one commenter who admitted that he still buys Natty Light. Saddest of all: that shirt-vest combination Mickey Mantle is wearing makes him look like a lesbian cowboy.

Whitey Ford and Salvador Dali for Braniff Airlines, March 19, 2010


I still cannot possibly imagine why these ad wizards decided to pair Whitey Ford and Salvador Dali in a commercial but the end result really was bizarrely genius.

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No, our longtime favorite power/speed guy is not retiring from the sport. We're the ones leaving! But it would feel awkward to walk away from the blog without at least a farewell to one of the most Walkoff Walkiest baseball players of the three years we've covered the game. We did not create the "Do not hit Corey Patterson leadoff" meme, we only pushed it past its natural boundaries and tried to capitalize on it monetarily...sorta. We sold several Corey Patterson t-shirts over the years but never made any commission off of them. Businessmen, we are not.

We started following Corey back in April of 2008 after he was inserted as the leadoff man for Dusty Baker's Reds. We even liveglogged his second game of the season, maintained the feature for a bit, started an Eric Patterson watch, kept track of Corey's comings and goings, started (and ended) a Corey Haim watch, christened a new Corey Patterson, followed our hero to the Brewers and the Nationals, and explored the sordid world of messing around with the manager's daughter. Whew! We blanketed the blog with Corey Patterson nonsense like FOX News pushes faux terror scares in your face. FAIR AND BALANCED.

Forgive us for the excessive coverage of the guy but c'mon, there is just something comically mellifluous about the five-syllables of Corey's name that make him such an easy target on the blog. Lucky for you, dear reader, you can continue monitoring Patterson's progress over at Drew's Ghostrunner on First...Corey's a Blue Jay now!

Thing is, as much as we poked fun at baseball managers for continuously batting our hero in the leadoff spot, we never wanted to imply that Corey Patterson was a worthless player. Heck, he is fast and he does have power and a good glove. Is he a guy you want to pencil into your starting lineup every day? No. Is he a good bench player/defensive replacement/pinch runner/pinch hitter? Yes! He's worth 5.6 WAR over his career. That's a positive number!

But my favorite part of the Corey Patterson-Walkoff Walk marriage happened in Christmas of 2009 when our star reader/commenter The Colonel gave us a tidy holiday gift: Walkoff Walk's sponsorship of the Corey Patterson page at Baseball Reference. I feel bad that Colonel just renewed the sponsorship as we are now in our death throes as a blog...but let this blogpost serve as our sincere apology and gratitude for his investment. Our fine blog may not last forever but the legend of Corey Patterson will live on. Thanks, Colonel.

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Not much has changed since I opined that the only thing the BBWAA should vote for is the hall of sandwiches. I'm still just a very biased baseball fan who has medium talent in blogging. I'm not entirely well-versed in baseball history and my knowledge pool is shallow enough that I wouldn't ask you to dive in lest you get a head injury.

I'm going to speak about the voting process in a more broad sense today to avoid being too specific. I do this for two reasons: one, in these final weeks of Walkoff Walk, we editors want our work to be timeless and not dated. Two, I couldn't possibly care any less if Jeff Bagwell gets into Cooperstown. Or any other player, for that matter.

I could argue until my face is blue about statistics and character and career impact, but when I take a step back and evaluate my selfish ranting I ask: does this outcome really affect my day-to-day life? What will I lose or gain if Player X doesn't earn his eternal induction to the Pantheon of baseball folk?

After all, I don't know a single professional baseball player personally, let alone one of the game's legends. The closest thing to a "baseball player" that's ever set foot in my kitchen is me, and I stopped playing the game at age 12 when I got hit in the eye with a can-of-corn fly ball. So when the 2011 inductees are announced later today, I will be merely an interested observer of the results; not an emotionally-invested participant in the activity.

Do I care about who gets in? Yes. Will I rend my garments and gnash my teeth over who gets included/excluded? No.

In fact, I'd like to see the baseball hall of fame be more inclusive than it is now. And I'd like to see baseball writers only formulate positive arguments in players' favor, not arguments that specifically seek to destroy the reputation of both players and their supporters (even the zealots!)

C'mon, the hall of fame in Cooperstown is a scurrilous organization anyway! Look back at this very website and you'll read about hat controversies, fraudulent uniforms, Mr. Belding stories, and overtly-political ex-presidents. It's just a big building in the middle of Upstate Bumblefuck, New York that happens to have some old baseball bats behind glass. This big, dumb building should not affect our appreciation of the entire pastime.

And, in that case, the big, dumb writers who control enshrinement in the big, dumb building should also not affect our appreciation. There exist many BBWAA members among the electorate who are aggressive assholes and simply should not be allowed to cast a ballot. Some of them are selfish and morally superior prudes. Others are senile old codgers. I'm not going to name names now (we'll save that for our enemies post).

The hall of fame is a nefariously-run private corporation so asking them to change their relationship with the BBWAA is as hopeless as getting B.J. Surhoff inducted (but don't let that stop Barry Stanton from trying). I don't even have any alternative methods for enshrinement that make a shred of sense. And my self-professed lack of interest in the process has been wholly negated by the sheer number of words I wrote about this topic.

In conclusion, I can only hope that I never become close, personal friends with Jeff Bagwell or else I'll really start caring about those sanctimonious dickhead writers and their tut-tutting and tongue-clucking keeping him out of the Hall because of completely fabricated steroid allegations. Unless I hear that Bagwell throws a mean Super Bowl party. You know, with a six-foot sub sandwich.

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As the end of Walkoff Walk's reign of terror draws near, our thoughts turn back to the beginning of this vast undertaking as we ask, "How did we get here?" or "Where did the blog name come from?" or "Who are these people, anyway?" I don't have all the answers, but I do have a nifty search feature in Gmail that allows me to travel in time, three years to the past, and listen in on some conversations between two towheaded young proto-bloggers.

Back in January of 2008, Kris and I had extended extemporaneous conversations about how we could title the baseball blog that was about to spring from our collective consciousness. We wanted an original name but nothing that sounded awkward; we wanted nothing that would prevent us from parking our ass on a good domain name. So, in the spirit of that great piece of metaphorical fiction, the Book of Genesis, we present to you "The Creation Myth of Walkoff Walk", in which Rob and Kris think up a blog name in six days and spend the seventh day looking for a weekend guy so we can slough off.

As first mentioned in the One Year Anniversary post, my original intention was to name the blog "The Clockless Game" because, you know, baseball has no game clock and it sounded exceptionally highbrow snooty-snooty. Clockless! Look at our hard-to-pronounce name! Luckily, Kris informed me just how lame it was:

Kris: people are going to call us cockless though

Rob: hahaha
is that a dealbreaker
being cockless

Kris: i dont think so
it can definitely stay on the list

Rob: alright

Kris: and it's better than anything we have so far
I'll conduct some focus groups today

Rob: we cant be clockless.com tho
it'd have to be clocklessgame.com

Kris: what about Clockless Orange

Rob: really?

Kris: do you get it?
because oranges dont have clocks

Rob: uhm

Kris: i'm just kidding

Good thing we didn't end up using that or else folks would have accused us of stealing it from The Dugout. Which would be half true.

So by this point, Kris and I were brainstorming columns and features but still we had no name for our baby. Other ideas we bandied about were either already taken or just as awkward as that clockless garbage: Ghostrunner or some derivative. Sandwich Pick dot com. Brock for Broglio. LOLThurmanMunson. UmpHump (because we like to hump umps). Banjo Hitters. PatMyListach.com. Just A Bit Outside.

And then, inspired by Sally's suggestion that we use "Walkoff something", lightning struck my brainspot:

Rob: WalkoffWalk.com

Kris: Yes.
Walk Off Walk

Rob: yes?
do we have a yes?

Kris: i dig it

Rob: woo!

Kris: yes
WOW

Rob: WOW
hold on let it sink in for a minute
oh i get it
W.O.W.
no i was going wow like wow!

Kris: i really like it

Rob: fantastic

That's it. Not the most fascinating story or the greatest name in the history of Blogsylvania but "Walkoff Walk" has provided us with quite a decent brand. Except for the times when we talk about "WoW" and folks start asking about World of Warcraft. Christ, we may be nerds but we are not dweebs.

Later, we'll learn about the origins of the shrimp-on-the-treadmill video and how it relates to the blog's name. Which begs the question: what half-baked meme would we have spawned if we had named our blog "Pat Border Patrol"?

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Yes, the rumours you've been concocting and spreading with wild abandon are true: the original and best ever blog about baseball and the human condition is closing up shop and leaving behind a wasteland of broken hearts and blown minds. As of our third anniversary on January 31st, Walkoff Walk will be no more.

But that's four weeks away, you say! Good calendarial skills, I say! That can only mean the WoW editors will write FOUR solid weeks of actual content here at your favorite baseball blog as our farewell gift to you, dear reader. Get ready for one last "Creampuff" and one final "This Tweet" and some more of your favorites, including some horseshit you hated the first time around and we never did again. Now is time to dig up those corpses and re-animate them to your dismay; that way you won't be so sad to see us go.

And we will go. This ain't no tease. We can no longer provide the stringent baseball esoterica that you readers need and crave so much, and for this, we apologize. I know last month I said we'd never apologize, but I can't help but be sorry for leaving you good people left lacking what with all the wonderful feedback we've gotten in three long years. So just this once: sorry. We'll never apologize again. We can't. We'll be long gone in four weeks.

But don't soil your pants quite yet, folks. My spiritual guru always told me that if you love something enough, it will never completely disappear. And since we love the community here at Walkoff Walk, we will never let it perish completely: we must preserve the HEIST! If there's one reason to keep the homefires burning in the co-located WoW servers in a subterranean, air-conditioned computer room somewhere in the foothills of the Appalachians, it is to preserve our annual baseball field trip. So, the 2011 HEIST will be happening, location and date to be determined.

And it will be amazing.

We'll delve into more formal goodbyes and maybe even give you a good excuse as to why we're leaving you as the weeks go on. Until then, keep your eyeballs glued to your computer monitors. Same WoW channel, for now.