Saturday Notebook: Lies, Inspirational Stories, The War Room, and More

Elsa

Today's Saturday Notebook looks at how Dirk Hayhurst was drafted on the strength of a lie to a scout, Tanner Vavra getting drafted by the Twins despite having only one good eye, what it looks like inside a major league draft room prior to the draft, and our weekly GIFs and tweets from around baseball.

It's pronounced "jif." Yes, like the peanut butter.

Perhaps I should back up a bit. Our work week bookends, Jon Marthaler and Randball's Stu, co-host a podcast with two other guys called The Sportive that started back in February and currently has 18 episodes. For some reason, I was completely oblivious of the podcast until Twinkie Town head honcho Jesse was a guest last week. It's a podcast about all of the major sports with more swearing than a high school locker room and more tangents than your 11th grade trigonometry class, but I find the podcast genuinely funny and Jon's stereotypical Minnesota accent is just amazing.

Anyway, their guest this week was Twins Daily's Parker Hageman, who is a master with animated GIFs and really was the inspiration for me getting motivated enough to learn how to make them. This is not the first time Parker has been on the podcast, and this was also not the first time the guys discussed how to pronounce "GIF."

Guys, it's "jif." The creator of the file says so (the guy on the left in the article's picture, not the one on the right, believe it or not). If that's what he wants, then why do people insist on saying it like "gift"? The English language is already so wonky that we have words like "gift" and "giant" that start with the same 2 letters but are pronounced differently. Hell, there's also the "'ghoti' is 'fish'" phenomenon.

I do understand that some people point out that GIF stands for "Graphics Interchange Format" and thus the 'g' should be a hard pronunciation. However, as a commenter on the CNN article pointed out, the JPEG format stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group," which then suggests that JPEG is supposed to be pronounced "JFEG," except its not and no one argues about it. GIF should be the same way. Except it's not.

This concludes today's episode of "Bryz's Weekly Rant." Now back to sports.

  • Readers of the Saturday Notebook will recall that I've linked to Dirk Hayhurst's work several times, and I'm going to do it once again. He has a blog on the Canadian Sports Net website, and one of his recent blog posts was about being drafted because of a lie he made to a Padres scout. It was 2002 and Hayhurst had finished his junior year of college at Kent State and he was expecting to be drafted. However, the call never came, and after some guesswork, he figured that he wasn't drafted because he needed to show he could throw more than a fastball and curveball. Thus, his senior year was spent as a junkballer as he attempted to master his secondary pitches. One day, a Padres scout came up to him and asked why he didn't throw his slider in his last start. Hayhurst wasn't willing to admit that those sliders the scout was referencing were actually very poorly thrown curveballs, and instead told the scout that he had a blister on his middle finger. As luck would have it, Hayhurst actually did have his middle finger bandaged up from a split fingernail, and the scout bought the story. It turns out that Hayhurst ended up getting drafted in the 8th round by the Padres in 2003, based on a "budding slider" that he didn't actually have.
  • On one hand, drafting the son of coach Joe Vavra absolutely screams of a nepotism pick. But, your worries can be put to rest when you realize that Tanner Vavra didn't just hit .322 for Valparaiso this past season as a senior, he also did it while being blind in one eye. A condition he's had since he was 3 when he got a fish hook caught in his right eye that was cast from his father, Tanner was told repeatedly by doctors that he would not be able to play baseball due to the lack of depth perception. In theory, yes, but Tanner was still able to catch a baseball. I feel the Vavras did a great job with teaching Tanner to not use his disability as an excuse, and I'm sure that was a huge contribution to his success on the field. Like any other draft pick, he faces great odds as he now starts his journey up to The Show, but it's still a great story that he was even able to succeed at a Division I school while being able to see out of only one eye.
  • We got to see a little insight into the draft room of a major league club from "Moneyball," though admittedly the scouting department was not painted in a positive light by author Michael Lewis. A fairer picture of a major league club's draft room is given to us by Corey Brock of MLB.com, who tells us of what goes on in the San Diego Padres war room prior to and during the draft. Even though the Oakland A's scouts were ridiculed by making comments about a player's ugly girlfriend meaning he lacked confidence, we see with the Padres scouts that they still discussed that a potential draft pick came from a single-parent home, another's father was a retired police officer, and one more's questioned as possibly being too nice. Hey, if the A's scouts did it, and clearly the Padres guys are making similar comments, perhaps there are more teams than we think that believe that a player's seemingly mundane life choices actually mean something.
Now, we come to our rapid-fire "jif" & tweet round that surprisingly contains quite a bit of nature today.

  1. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has taken the Los Angeles area by storm, but if there's one thing the ManBearPuig does not do well, it's diving into 1st base.
  2. Alexi Casilla always seemed to fall whenever receiving a throw at 2nd base on a stolen base attempt, and here he's doing it once again. The difference though is that he managed to receive a throw from Matt Wieters on the wrong side of 2nd base, spin around and still manage to tag out Desmond Jennings.
  3. Back before I went mainstream at Twinkie Town, I wrote a post at my old blog about how fans will do anything for a baseball, which includes risking harm on themselves and others. This guy was in a little of both camps as he raced past a couple fans to literally jump into a shrubbery, only to see another guy come away with the baseball.
  4. Back on Monday, the city of Chicago was hit by dense fog during the early evening. This led to a delay in the South Side as the White Sox chose to wait it out, but the Cubs were a little more hardy and chose to keep on playing. Below are two GIFs where you get to see just how terrible the playing conditions were for both games (you know the drill, click the GIF to play it).White_sox_fog0002_1_medium Cubs_fog0002_1_medium
  5. A massive forest fire in Colorado led to this amazing picture.
  6. Finally, if you watched the Cedar Rapids Kernels game on Monday, you were treated to a hell of a performance by Byron Buxton. Here is his amazing diving catch he made in left-center field.
Buxton_diving_catch0008_1_medium
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