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Saturday Morning Breakfast & Baseball: Birthday Gifts, Manual Scorekeeping, Knuckleball!, and In-Game Chatter

It's been a hectic week for me. On Tuesday, I sent in an application to Minnesota Transitions High School, a charter school in Minneapolis. If the name sounds familiar, it's likely because of their crazy-good boys basketball team. Half an hour after I sent in my application, I got a phone call requesting that I be at the school at 7:30 the next morning for an interview. Wednesday afternoon, I first got a call that the school was unable to reach every single one of my references, so I had to contact all of them and ask them to call the school. That night, I received another phone call requesting that I meet the superintendent the next morning. Thursday, I finally learned that I was given the job, and that I'd be teaching 10th grade geometry.

The kicker? School starts Monday. *gulp* Well, I'll try to calm my nerves with some baseball news from around the league.

  • The last time we highlighted Randy Wolf, we were looking at his competition with Zack Greinke to throw the slowest curveball. Where that was rather whimsical, Wolf's next appearance here on Breakfast and Baseball isn't quite so happy. With an ERA over 5, the Milwaukee Brewers had seen enough and released Wolf.... on his birthday. Surprise! To make things even funnier, Bernie Brewer wished Wolf a happy birthday just hours before his release was announced. Oops.
  • My favorite band of all-time is Thrice, and one of their members just happens to be a pretty big baseball fan. Riley Breckenridge, the band's drummer, is a huge Angels fan and also co-authors the @ProductiveOuts account on Twitter. From this account came this next link, where a guy wrote on Baseball Prospectus about his journey inside the manual scoreboard at Coliseum in Oakland. It's a really interesting read on how these types of scoreboards are run, and I'd recommend reading this piece.
  • I still have yet to see the documentary Ballplayer: Pelotero, but I've quickly found another that suddenly is challenging that movie for my next must-see baseball film: Knuckleball! It's pretty obvious what the theme is for this movie, and you can probably guess which major league pitchers are featured. Yes, it's Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey. Without watching Knuckleball! yet, I wonder if the filmmakers considered including some minor league knuckleballers such as Charlie Haeger and Charlie Zink. It's definitely a fickle pitch, and I bet a whole new dimension could have been added by focusing on some pitchers that are still struggling with mastering the knuckler.
  • If you've read Moneyball, you'll remember the chapter on Scott Hatteberg and how he hit a sure double in a game, except he stopped at first base to chat with his baseball idol, Don Mattingly. In the Washington Post, we have a short article about some Nationals players and what they say when they talk to the opposition during the game. Michael Bourn's quote in the article is pretty interesting (how he blocks out chatter when he's going to steal a base so he's not distracted), as it reminds me of a guy I once played against in an intramural softball game in college. This guy was the catcher and he would talk nonstop to my team while we were batting, hoping that it would distract us. I decided to have some fun back and I started chatting even more enthusiastically than him before I singled into left field.

The Pohlad family has a softball tournament going on today, which involves teams from many of the different organizations they own. Thus, there are teams from BMW, construction companies, the Target Field ushers and groundskeepers, 96.3 KTWIN, and more. I'm on one of the three usher teams, but I don't have high hopes for us as the groundskeepers and construction companies typically dominate everyone else. Nevertheless, I look forward to my last softball games of the 2012 year.