All posts by Beau

Still Alive — Jonathan Coulton with Sara Quin

I'm not sure how much this song hits with those who haven't played the video game Portal, as the lyrics (written by Coulton) directly reference two different video games in heavy detail. Certainly, the game version sung by Ellen McClain has more appeal within game. There's also a live version sung by Felicity Day that is entertaining, but with poor quality.

This particular version of the song with Sara Quin singing and some beautiful use of the theremin is my favorite version. Even if video game music isn't your thing and the lyrics don't make any sense, this is just damn pleasant.

4 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 104 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10 (4 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10)
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Tift Merritt — Virginia, No One Can Warn You

Tift has been around for 15 years now and this is her first single. She's never been popular; her debut album barely made the country charts. But she makes a pretty good living. She comes to Minneapolis every other year or so. If I went to concerts ever, I'd go see her for sure. Friends have and have said great things. Some have compared her music stylings to Emmylou Harris, whom I've gathered is pretty popular round these parts.

2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 102 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10 (2 votes, average: 7.50 out of 10)
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Barenaked Ladies — Some Fantastic

So apparently I'm the first one to lay down a Barenaked Ladies song. Some find them gimmicky--and they are at times--but I find overall they're brilliant  writers and musicians. One problem is they're famous for some of their weaker songs, including the tiresome "If I Had $1,000,000" and the nonsensical and overplayed "One Week."

My favorite songs are "Brian Wilson," "The Old Apartment," and "Life, In A Nutshell." Though today you get my fourth favorite, "Some Fantastic," because they decided to sing that one in their bathroom.

7 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 107 votes, average: 6.29 out of 10 (7 votes, average: 6.29 out of 10)
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Father Knows Best: Boredom

Things have been rough lately, mostly because at least two people at any given time have been sick in this household--sometimes all four of us--since at least Thanksgiving. It's exhausting. But at least it's fairly simple to figure out what you need to do to get through each day. I think about when Henry was a baby. I was tired constantly; some days I could barely keep my eyes open. But while I was by no means confident in what I was doing, I knew pretty much every decision was around eating, pooping, or sleeping. Not that complex.

I'm not nearly as exhausted these days, which I won't complain about. But I'm more frequently being faced with probably the hardest part about being a parent so far, which is boredom. That sounds harsh, but I don't know how else to explain that agonizing feeling when Henry wants to read the same book 12 times in a row, or play the same game (in the wrong way, of course) for an hour straight (and I only barely tolerated it the first time because he was being adorable), or the same routine day after day after day because with his autism it takes tremendous effort to talk him into deviating from original plans. I've learned that sometimes the only way to get him to do something I want to do is to just do it without asking, which works okay if we're going to a new park, but usually not well when it's playing with a new toy.

I know that in six or seven years he might barely ever want to play with me at all. He certainly won't want to hang on my leg or beg me to pay attention to him. Nor will he say, "I love you Daddy," genuinely but with an ulterior motive of getting a cookie. So I want to enjoy every second. But too many nights I just can't wait until he goes to bed so I can do something interesting. And I feel horrible about it.

So, what advice say you guys? How do you keep focused and interested in toddler time night after night after night?

Half-Baked Hall: 1946-1950

And we're back at it! Due to the rule changes this time around, I first have to break some sad news about players who were on the ballot who have been unceremoniously cut off.

Sam Rice: Fell to 33% on his 5th ballot after starting out with 56% of the vote. That sound you hear is Scot weeping.

Hack Wilson: Fell to 28% on his 5th ballot after starting out with 44%. Who knew WGOMers weren't impressed with RBIs?

Earl Averill: Fell to 28% (+ 11 maybe) on his 2nd ballot.

Pie Traynor: Fell to 39% on his third ballot. Sorry Pepper.

Waite Hoyt: Actually increased his vote total to 33% (+ 6 maybe) on his third ballot, but it wasn't enough.

Tony Lazzeri: Started out with 16% of the vote but with 42% giving him a maybe. Once people realized that it was okay not to vote for a Yankee, they backed off. He fell to 28% with 0% maybe on his third ballot.

Also, these players were going to be on the last ballot before we took a break, but no longer meet the threshold. Hal Trosky, Billy Jurges, Ben Chapman, Roy Cullenbine, Curt Davis, and Freddie Fitzsimmons. We hardly knew ye.

Now for what you've been waiting for. Below is your ballot. For write-ups, I gave everyone two people this time around. If you no longer want to do write-ups, please let me know.

Final Ballot

Nobody

Returning Players

Earl Averill (3rd), Wes Ferrell (3rd), Gabby Hartnett (3rd), Bob Johnson (2nd), Chuck Klein (2nd), Bill Terry (5th)

New Hitters

Luke Appling (nibbish)
Dick Bartell (Scot)
Bill Dickey (philosopher)
Rick Ferrell (daneekasghost)
Augie Galan (bhiggum)
Joe Gordon (New Britain Bo)
Hank Greenberg (yickit)
Stan Hack (nibbish)
Babe Herman (nibbish)
Ernie Lombardi (freealonzo)
Joe Medwick (Can of Corn)
Mel Ott (freealonzo)
Arky Vaughan (New Britain Bo)
Dixie Walker (Beau)

New Pitchers

Tommy Bridges (Scot)
Dizzy Dean (philosopher)
Lefty Gomez (Can of Corn)
Mel Harder (yickit)
Carl Hubbell (DPWY)
Ted Lyons (DPWY)
Claude Passeau (freealonzo)
Schoolboy Rowe (Beau)
Red Ruffing (daneekasghost)
Bucky Walters (bhiggum)

Stats

Recent Ballot

Ballots will be sent out February 17th.  Please don't stress about the write-ups. Even a passing comment or two is welcome if you're feeling stressed for time.

Half-Baked Hall: New Plaques, New Rules, New Life

It's been eight months since we last looked at the Half-Baked Hall, which I believe is the appropriate amount of half-bakedness. There seemed to be general agreement that it had become kind of a slog for some people, yours truly included, and after giving some significant thought to the matter (at least more than Murray Chass), some changes will be implemented in order to speed things up and hopefully keep things interesting.

My Stuff

  1. The real Hall of Fame ballot always includes guys everyone knows have zero chance of ever making it, like Matt Stairs. While it can be fun to talk about those guys on occasion, the Half-Baked Hall has had many a player that I am confident 100% of you would have been fine never mentioning. For example, Mike Smith. He received zero votes. Anybody remember Mike Smith? Ergo, I will be a little more critical of who I place on the ballot. Thus far, my general criteria has been 30 WAR or a player who otherwise significantly contributed to the game or was notable in some way. I plan on upping the threshold to around 40 WAR. With the exception of 1800s players and modern day relievers, it is doubtful that any nameless hitter from the 1930s with 30.8 WAR is going to receive election, or get anywhere close. Of course, this is a benign dictatorship, and I will gladly place players on the ballot that I miss if someone makes a mildly convincing case.
  2. Right now, each player stays on the ballot for six cycles. I remain comfortable with this amount. So far, several players have been elected on the 5th or 6th ballots after discussion and lobbying, and I like giving players that opportunity. However, according to the spreadsheet, no player has been elected by us ever having received lower than 48% on any ballot (and they were 1800s players). I think it is clear that it is unlikely that if a player starts out with 26% of the vote that they are going to be elected within six cycles, so I will be raising the threshold to stay on the ballot. Now a player that drops below 40% on any ballot will be dropped.
  3. These changes will surely help us get through the years faster, hopefully soon to players that some of us saw play. Of course, it is possible a deserving player will be unfairly dropped due to these rule changes. It is for certain that periodically we will hold reconsideration ballots, much like the veterans committees. However, this will not be a selected group of voters; everyone will participate. It is just another periodic look at some guys perhaps with new perspective (or new WGOM voters).

Your Stuff

Of course, all of this is possible because of you guys. Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Some questions:

--Should we keep "Maybe" as a voting option?
--How quickly should we hold each vote?
--Do people still want to do player write-ups?

Any thoughts are welcome as I want this to be enjoyable for everyone and not feel like a chore.

Right now, the following roles are still assigned for help:

Nibbish: Stats spreadsheet
DaneekasGhost: Results spreadsheet
hungry joe: Plaques

Expect a new ballot sometime in the next couple weeks. For now, enjoy the new plaques below of previously enshrined Half-Baked Hallers.

Berserk Boxscores: White Sox @ Twins 04/19/1962

It's been 3.5 years since I've run one of these columns. Half-Baked Hall may have something to do with that. While we will resume the voting in 2017, we'll whet your whistle with a crazy game the Twins were involved in 44 years ago.

The Twins inaugural season had been pretty blah, and the beginning of their second season started much the same. Entering into this game they were 2-5, last place in the American League. Jim Kaat would face off against John Buzhardt. Except he didn't really. Kaat didn't retire a batter.

The White Sox led off the first with four straight singles. Kaat was immediately replaced. Either Sam Mele felt he just didn't have it or he was injured. Either way, Jim Manning replaced him and he didn't have it either. He recorded one out, allowed two batters to reach by error, then allowed a single and a hit-by-pitch. He was pulled for Georges Maranda who promptly gave up a grand slam to Jim Landis, who had led off the inning with a single. The inning would end on a double play, but the Twins were already down 9-0 before coming to the plate.

Because this is Berserk Boxscores, I'm guessing you're betting on a miraculous Twins comeback. But you'd guess wrong. So what makes this game so special?

It is the only game in modern history where a team scored at least 10 runs and never left a man on base. 

You saw nine of those runs in the first inning. They would score one more on Jim Landis's second homer, which was the only hit the Twins staff would allow the rest of the game. They did allow two more walks which would be erased on a double play and a caught stealing. In fact, the Twins easily won the game from the second inning forward, outhitting the Sox five to one and outscoring them three to one.

While this feat of the White Sox and Twins is not terribly impressive, it is pretty hilarious. The Twins would remain in last place for one more day, then would steadily climb up the standings, finishing in 2nd place behind the Yankees. They were in 1st place on June 15th and would be as close as 2.5 games back on September 5th, but ultimately could not catch the Bombers. The Yankees would win the next two division titles as well before the Twins finally wrestled it away in 1965.