Drew Fairservice: January 2011 Archives

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.

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.

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!