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Saturday Morning Breakfast & Baseball: Subtle Bias, Picking Up The Ladies, Flip Game, Tackling Technique, and More

Happy Roster Expansion Day! It's September 1st, and that means it's time for our annual "Who's Gonna Get The Smallest Cup of Coffee?" Award. Is Rene Rivera still on the 40-man? If so, my money's on him.

Oh, I guess he's not. Well then, my second pick is Carlos Gutierrez. In case you're wondering, last year's winner was probably Anthony Slama, except he wasn't a September call-up.

  • This first thing isn't baseball, but I couldn't pass up posting this picture. If you really want me to try to relate this to the true theme of Twinkie Town, it's that some of my friends believe that watching baseball is like watching paint dry. Boom, owned. On to Level 2. (Thanks to Deadspin for the pic, and don't even try to embiggen it, because it won't).
  • Back in high school during my lone year of varsity baseball, my head coach had a simple way to keep us entertained after warm-ups and before our games would start. That simple way was instructing us to play a game of Flip. I don't know if the rules vary among sects of the baseballing world, but ours involved all combatants lining up in a horseshoe, and then a spectator would knock a ball at one person in the horseshoe. We'd then attempt to get everyone to flip the ball (i.e. no closing the glove on the ball) around the horseshoe so everyone could touch the ball. Last person to get it would catch the ball and we'd start over. However, we'd also eliminate people if you made an error (bad toss, closing the glove, missing a playable ball, etc.), which sometimes led to a teammate deliberately trying to eliminate you. I mean, naturally, what fun is a game if you don't have a winner? Anyway, this long anecdote was brought to you by this crazy play the Giants pulled off earlier this week, where Pablo Sandoval misplayed a fly ball, and flipped the ball into the air, where it was caught by a diving Brandon Crawford. It looks as awesome as it sounds.
  • This article is certainly a must-read. Are you aware of your own subtle biases? What about baseball announcers? Well, this study wanted to see how announcers would treat ballplayers of varying races during broadcasts, to see if they have their own subtle biases. You might already be aware of the typical "white players are gritty," "black players are athletic," "Latinos are lazy," talking points, but this study takes it even further. Here's just one line that I've picked out.

Announcers are nearly 14 percent more likely to praise a US/Canadian-born player for intangibles than they are their international counterparts.

Seriously, go read it.

  • Oh, Luis Ayala. You were a former Twin that feuded with Ron Gardenhire over your role in the bullpen, despite the fact you had an ERA north of 4 at the time. You just recently read Dirk Hayhurst's "The Bullpen Gospels," and in particular the chapter where some of Dirk's minor league teammates attempt to pick up a fan during a game by communicating with her by use of a pen and a baseball. You probably thought to yourself, "Hey, that's a great idea! I mean, I know I'm married and all, but I'm awfully lonely here in the States, and I've spotted a rather fine looking lady over in the stands, so why not give it a shot?" You keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't go anywhere, then after you're done with warm-ups, you get your pen and baseball and give her your phone number. You're feeling pretty good about yourself, until you realize that the entire thing is put on Deadspin because you tried to pick up a girl that already had a boyfriend. Oops! Luis, you have to realize something. Dirk's teammates were minor leaguers when they pulled this stunt. You are a major leaguer. They were unknown. You somehow managed to put together a decent enough career to remain in our collective conscience. They went after someone that was single. You picked someone that was taken. But it's okay, Luis, we've all fawned over the unavailable lot before. The only difference is that we draw the line at the conspicuous staring.
  • You know, Prince Fielder's making a habit of showing up in Breakfast & Baseball for feats other than his tater-bopping ability. Last time it was for knocking an unfortunate middle infielder off the 2nd base bag when diving in for a double, and this time it's for getting tackled by Royals 3rd baseman Mike Moustakas when trying to record an out. Insert obligatory "Who says baseball isn't a contact sport?" quote here. Watch the video and listen to the collision of both players after the out is recorded. Also, I'm pretty sure that tackling form by Moustakas was the way I made my lone tackle during the 7th grade football season.

We've got a double dip of games here at Twinkie Town today. Stay tuned as All Bryz, All Day (with a little bit of Roger) continues.