Last week in baseball

(The Internet is cool and all, but don’t you miss Mel Allen on weekend lunchtime TV?)

A week ago, I sat mired in fourth place in the Irrational League with little hope of coming within smelling distance of Frank in first.

Then my team went on a tear. In one week, it amassed 21 home runs, which contributed to a .343 average overall, and 72 RBIs. (Compare those numbers to the season totals, below – it’s about 10% of the total in about 5% of the playing time so far.) The pitchers kicked in with an ERA of 2.01, WHIP of 1.07, and four wins.

My team is now in second place, 1.5 points out of first. With two more home runs, I would be in first. My team is hurting a bit, with hurler Chris Young and Russ Branyan newly injured – and a huge list of players who fell by the wayside earlier in the year (Smoltz, Furcal, Hatteberg, El Duque, and Wily Mo…).

Nevertheless, things are looking up in the volatile world of baseball stats.

.283 batting average (1st by .040 over first-place Frank)
217 HR (2nd, down by two to Frank, up by two on third)
791 RBI (1st, up by four on Frank)
110 SB (4th, up by two)
3.93 ERA (2nd, up by 0.01)
1.26 WHIP (2nd, down by 0.03)
54 wins (tied for 10th, down two from eighth)
21 saves (8th)

Bonus interview on American anti-intellectualism:

Go read this.

Journalism life and walking wounded

BusinessWeek last week had an article on the Berlin daily Bild, which in 2007 had its most profitable year ever.

Wait!? A newspaper that’s more profitable than ever?!? How is that possible?

Once again, a magazine buries the lead. Here is most of the last two paragraphs:

I suspect the real reason German papers still thrive is their embrace of competition. Unlike so many U.S. papers, Bild was never part of a quasi-monopoly that allowed complacency. It’s telling that Bild doesn’t deliver —it depends on newsstand sales. “Bild has to prove itself at the kiosk every day,” says Deputy Editor-in-Chief Michael Paustian.

That pressure helped Bild maintain its focus on original content. It uses almost no wire copy and brags that every story is an exclusive. Even during the crisis years, Bild kept its 800-strong editorial staff intact.

How about that? A paper that focuses on local news and passes up the crutch of wire copy, and it thrives.

Another moneymaker for the paper is both intriguing and a bit disconcerting, and can be found if we peruse the penultimate pair of paragraphs (he he):

German papers also took advantage of how slowly Europeans embraced the Web, which gave editors a chance to learn from U.S. mistakes. Bild used a partnership with Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s biggest Internet provider, to gain a foothold online at minimal cost. Now most of Bild‘s Web readers go straight to the site rather than via a search engine or portal. Diekmann says YouTube (GOOG) is sufficiently impressed to mull working together.

I’m impressed by the way Bild is staking out the mobile Web. Via a partnership with Vodafone Group (VOD), Bild became a mobile-phone provider, selling prepaid airtime at the same newsstands that sell the paper. Bild Mobile gives customers unlimited surfing and downloads as long as they stay tuned to That’s a compelling way to keep users glued to your site, and it has made Bild Germany’s No. 1 mobile Web news destination.

I’m not sure I want my mobile service linked to specific media, but I may be a Luddite fuddy-duddy.

In other news news, Georgian journalist Tamara Urushadze took a bullet and kept on bulletining.

When she displays her wound at the end of the clip, she says “I have been hit by a bullet. You can see I am scratched here. Most likely it was a sniper. It has most likely been a light weapon since it’s a minor wound.”

Bonus T-ball news:

We held our opponents to three measly runs in the top of the first extra inning, then got our first two of ten batters on base. Things were looking good but a force-out at second and four straight pop outs/line outs to shortstop put us in a hole. We got one single to load the bases, then another pop out to first led to the inattentive baserunner at first being doubled off. Our last batter came up with two on and could only ground one in the deep hole at first. It scored two runs, but we needed three. We play to win the loser’s bracket tomorrow.

Just some stuff

I got my day’s three pages done and to celebrate, here’s some stuff.

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard of the Tyson Gay/Homosexual text-substitution error, but here’s a more recent example that isn’t so widespread. It is merely a computer error, so I’ll give them a pbutt.

Next is the Large Hadron Rap, sung to commemorate the opening of every conspiracy nut’s favourite doomsday device.

Bonus extra innings:

Our T-ball game ended in a tie, called on account of darkness. We pick up the extra innings tonight. We were down three runs going into our last licks, but we should have won. We ran into two atrocious outs on the basepaths (all kids bat each inning) – kids doing things I, as first base coach, specifically warned them about before the subsequent at-bat. Uuuurgh.

Still, we had runners on first and third with our last batter up. In T-ball, the last batter and all runners try to score no matter what as the fielding team tries to get the ball to the catcher before they do. A simple ground ball would have scored a run without question, but our hitter smacked a smoking line drive that was caught, and the runners failed to tag up in the excitement. Double uuuurgh.

I threw my hat against a fence in frustration. I’m a bad role model.