Thursday, August 18, 2022

Jayson Werth and the Nationals Ring of Honor

I took my kids to the Washington Nationals-Chicago Cubs game on Wednesday. The Nationals lost 3-2 and are now 39-80. They are a bad baseball team and that says something from someone who follows the Pittsburgh Pirates! While looking around the stadium, I noticed that Jayson Werth’s name is included in the team’s Ring of Honor. Apparently, this induction occurred in 2018, but I have no recollection of this happening, and I guess I never noticed this before.

I’m not a Jayson Werth fan. I think he’s a bully who should have got suspended for attacking a mascot and is a jerk for pouring chocolate syrup on Nationals' reporter Dan Kolko. Nats fans like Werth though. My question is this: why does Werth deserve to make the team’s Ring of Honor? According to this September 2018 article, the team credits Werth for changing the culture from the Nationals being a mediocre (and sometimes awful) team to a team that won 4 NL East titles in his 7 years. Pay almost anyone $126 million over 7 years, and I’m sure they will help bring a winning culture too. Of course, let’s not forget the addition of guys like Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg, and later Max Scherzer. Ryan Zimmerman was also really good during this time. They helped the culture too. Oh, and for all of that winning culture Werth brought, do you know how many playoff series the team won with him? It rhymes with “Hero.”

In 2012, the first year the Nationals won the division, Werth had 5 home runs and 31 runs batted in over 81 games in an injury-filled season. Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse, and even Tyler Moore had more, and in some cases, significantly more home runs that season. Werth ended up with a 9.0 WAR (wins above replacement) during his time as a National. He made 0 all-star teams. For $18 million a year, I think you would expect more. You know who should have been inducted into Ring of Honor before Werth? Ian Desmond who had a 16.5 WAR and an all-star appearance in his 7 seasons on the team. Maybe Alfonso Soriano with his 6.1 WAR with 40 home runs/40 stolen bases 2006 season. Maybe even Mike Morse who had 67 home runs in 1353 plate appearances during his 4 seasons in DC compared to Werth’s 109 home runs in 3427 plate appearances. And if you want to talk about culture, put Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and especially Gerardo Parra in the Ring of Honor. Everyone loved Baby Shark during the team’s World Series run.

Basically, what I’m writing is Jayson Werth was a good baseball player in DC, but the team put him in the Ring of Honor to justify $126 million contract. And that’s one of my hills I’m willing to die on.

Werth photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Imagess

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Bret Michaels' Concert Uniform

There are many jobs where you have to wear a uniform. Professional athletes in team sports wear jerseys with their team name on them. Many restaurants require employees to wear uniforms or hats with the restaurant logo. I remember working at Blockbuster* and wearing the dashing navy shirts with gold trim and store logo. This brings me to Poison lead singer, fellow Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and Rock of Love star Bret Michaels. (Man, I miss Rock of Love.) Poison recently played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh with Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. I saw this picture of Michaels with a Terrible Towel and thought it would make a perfect addition to my Celebrities in Pittsburgh gear series. 

Then, I noticed that Michaels was wearing a Poison T-shirt. This seemed odd to me. I don't ever recall seeing a musician wearing a shirt of the band they are in or of himself/herself. It turns out that Michaels is wearing Poison shirts throughout the tour.


Marysville, Ohio:





Council Bluffs, Iowa:


I think you get the point. So now I'm wondering if Bret is constantly doing laundry and wearing the same shirt each show or if he's just grabbing various Poison shirts from the merchandise stand at each tour stop.

* If you're under 25, you may have only heard of Blockbuster, a chain where you could rent movies on something called VHS tapes and DVDs. You would enter the store, walk around aisles to select your movie, pay approximately $5 per film, and then you had to return it by noon the day after you rented it. (If you rented a movie on Friday night, you had to return the film by noon on Sunday.) I'm convinced Blockbuster made much of their profits through late fees. Oh, here is one of my Blockbuster shirts:

Friday, August 12, 2022

Live From Camden Yards

Timely is not one of the words to describe my writing. I mean, would now be a good time to share my thoughts on the Steelers drafting Kenny Pickett? Maybe I can write about the Tokyo Olympics. While this isn’t quite as old, this post is about attending the Pittsburgh Pirates game at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week.
Welcome to Baltimore!

Here are some tips for anyone looking for the least expensive way to attend a baseball game (at least in Baltimore).
1. Find a night where there is a thunderstorm but with rain expected to end within an hour of the scheduled first pitch.
2. See that the game is delayed and arrive at the stadium parking lot 30 minutes after the scheduled first pitch. Discover that there is no one working the lots which means free parking.
3. Bring kids. The Baltimore Orioles have a promotion where for every paid upper deck ticket, you get two free tickets for kids 9 and under. Thanks to arriving at the ticket office about 45 minutes after the scheduled first pitch and in some rain, the person at the box office declared my niece to be 9 even though she’s 10. Therefore, 6 tickets (for me, Pedro Tulo, Luigi, my brother, my niece, and my nephew) cost $26. That’s less than $4.50 per ticket!
* The game ended up starting around 8:50 after a 109-minute delay. You’re killing me…

* I ran into a good friend from high school at the game. It was great catching up as it was the first time I’ve seen him in probably 15 years.
* As I’m typing this, Orioles’ OF Brett Phillips is hitting .149 this season and is 2 for 11 (.182) since joining the team from the Tampa Bay Rays. In his 6-year career with 4 separate teams and 894 plate appearances, Phillips is hitting .190 with a .275 on-base percentage, a .350 slugging percentage, and a career WAR of -0.1. While he’s a good defensive outfielder, he’s not a very good hitter. I write all this because between innings he seems to engage with fans in left field. He’s smiling and always throws a ball into the stands. Seems like a good dude.
* In the 7th inning, Oneil Cruz attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 count. The home plate umpire signaled to the third base umpire to make a determination if it should be a strike or a ball. It was at this exact moment that I (and many others) noticed that there were only 3 umpires on the field. One umpire was sick and that was the first time I realized an umpire was missing. The umpire located near second base ruled that Cruz swung and called him out. While I think it was the right call, the Pirates bench was obviously upset based on the position of the umpire.
I bring this up because the same situation happened in the 8th inning. With Phillips at the plate, the same umpire in the same position ruled that he did not swing on a play. Pirates manager Derek Shelton was rightfully angry and got ejected. In my opinion, the home plate umpire should have made the decision himself. With that written, I think it was the right call again. You can watch it all here:

* Hot take alert! I want Kevin Newman on my team.  He’s really solid at shortstop and 2nd base and is great as a defensive replacement or an occasional starter. The problem is that he seems to have lost any power he had when he hit 12 home runs in 2019 as he only has 6 home runs in 891 plate appearances over the last 3 years including 0 home runs in 2022. He shouldn’t be an everyday starter.
* Mitch Keller didn’t seem to have his best stuff and only had 1 strikeout, but he only had 1 walk and allowed just 1 run in 6 innings. He’s pitched well lately, and I really hope he’s a solid starter for the Pirates for years to come.
* I really don’t have much else to write about the game itself. The Orioles won 1-0 as the Pirates managed just 6 hits. I saw the Orioles play in Toronto in June, and based on my large sample size of seeing the team twice in person this season, the bullpen (and in particular Felix Bautista) is legit!
This is the AP game recap.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The CVS Optical Experience

The Moose recently received a letter from CVS informing him that the optical department at a store in Quincy, Illinois was closing. This was interesting for several reasons. First, The Moose is 11 and has never had an eye examination outside of the normal review at his annual physical. This probably will change soon since I started needing glasses around his age. The bigger surprise about the letter is that The Moose has never been to Quincy. Or Illinois. Or the central time zone. To my knowledge, no one in my family has been to Quincy either. Plus, I’ve never watched an episode of the TV show Quincy M.E. or seen Quincy Jones in person.

CVS sent a second letter apologizing for the first letter. While that's all fine, I'd much rather they sent a coupon for a free candy bar or greeting card too.