Rob Iracane: January 2011 Archives

jefffrancoeur.jpg

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.

liakosleyland.jpg

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.

lasordavalentine.jpg

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:

laundrybaby.jpg

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.

liveglog.jpg

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?

krisliakosfiststheairsmall.jpg

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!

sleep.jpg

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.

wow.051209.kruk.jpg

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.

mdtnationals.jpg

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.

jerkwheattigers.jpg

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.

gorgeforemanmariners.jpg

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.

phillasgiants.jpg

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.

farthammerathletics.jpg

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.

coreyshirt.jpg

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.

ReubenTur.jpg

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.

creationnarrative.jpg

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"?

thelonggoodbye.jpg

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.