Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stat Nerd Moves Out of Mom's Basement, Is Blinded By Sun, Immediately Moves Back

KANSAS CITY (Bottom of the Fourth) - In breaking news, it was reported early Wednesday afternoon that a baseball blogger and self-proclaimed stat nerd had moved out of his mom's basement. The blogger, whose identity is as of yet unconfirmed, had apparently been planning the move for "years" and had saved up several hundred dollars in PartyPoker credit to help him make the move financially feasible.

Unfortunately, the blogger, described as "a little on the pale side" by his mother, was unprepared for the great outdoors, and was badly sunburned on the way to the driveway. He is currently being treated for second degree burns at a local hospital, and is still slowly recovering his vision. The Weather Network reported Kansas City's early afternoon weather as "cloudy with scattered showers".

Susan Bishop, the blogger's mother, said that her son will be temporarily putting off his move to focus on recovering and "getting his stat nerd start-up of the ground". The nature of the start-up is unknown, but is believed to be based on stats, nerds, or some combination thereof.

Sports writer and one-time winner of the J.G. Spink Award Murray Chass offered his take on the story on his blog. "My heart breaks for the poor kid. But, you know, he didn't really think things through. Apparently he tried to move into an apartment, when it's a well-established fact that the shadow beneath a bridge is the only place suitable for trolls."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

José Bautista, Mistaken for CN Tower, Gets Climbed All Over By Kid

TORONTO (Bottom of the Fourth) - Since a mechanical adjustment turned him into one of the best hitters in the game in September of 2009, the legend of José Bautista has only grown. Last season he became the first Blue Jay to hit 50 home runs and the first person ever to hit a ball out of the Rogers Centre.

While these accomplishments may induce many a smitten beat reporter to describe José as a "giant among men", it wasn't until this past weekend that Bautista was mistaken for an actual giant.

Reportedly, while walking near his home in downtown Toronto, Bautista was assailed by a small boy yelling "mommy, look, the CN Tower! I'm climbing it!!" The boy latched onto Bautista's leg and attempted to shimmy up, reaching his knee before aborting his attempt.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield says this is a common mistake among youngsters. "Children under the age of four haven't yet developed the pheromone that helps us distinguish between actual size and hyperbolic literary descriptions as put forth by the media. For example, when two-year-olds read in the morning paper over a cup of coffee that José Bautista is a 'beast', they cannot comprehend that this doesn't refer to a literal beast."

Upon being asked about the incident in question, Wakefield hypothesized that Bautista's home runs had recently been described as "towering" in a local paper, leading to the boy's confusion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Smaller Samples Actually Most Accurate: Fuld

TAMPA BAY (Bottom of the Fourth) - Many expected the Tampa Bay Rays to regress in 2011 after losing stars Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena to free agency and Evan Longoria to an early-season injury, but the team is currently sitting second in the AL East thanks to some unlikely contributors, chief among them the previously unheralded Sam Fuld.

While early-season success is often dismissed as a small sample-size fluke, Fuld doesn't believe this to be logical. "I took a statistics class in university," the Stanford grad told Bottom of the Fourth, "and these stat geeks have it backward. The smaller the sample, the more accurate."

Fuld elaborated, explaining that the "binomial nature" of the "central limit theorem" produces a "chirality" that makes it seem as if larger samples are more predictive, but that this is simply a red herring. Upon observing the blank stares on the faces of the media throng surrounding him, Fuld aborted his attempt at explanation, instead asking reporters to "just trust me. I went to Stanford."

Fuld's teammates have taken to calling him 'Professor'

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Braves Sign Jermaine Dye to DH, Hoping to Stimulate Offense

ATLANTA (Bottom of the Fourth) - The Atlanta Braves, widely expected to contend for the 2011 NL East crown, have made a bold move in the early season by becoming the first National League team in baseball history to employ a designated hitter, namely the just-signed Jermaine Dye.

The National League, of course, doesn't let its teams use DHs, instead requiring pitchers to hit in the regular batting order. The Braves plan to circumvent this rule by removing players from its every day line-up. Nate McClouth, for example, has not hit well this year, and the Braves could opt to leave him on the bench and a hole in center field while DHing Dye.

Dye could fill in for players on rest days, as well. Catchers in particular need regular rest, and the team could choose to have its pitchers simply pitch to the backstop and retrieve their own balls while hitting Dye in place of a resting Brian McCann.

Finally, while the team hasn't spoken publicly about this, it has been rumoured that in an effort to gain employment with an MLB team, Dye has been working on his hit-pitching, a rarely-used technique in which the pitcher delivers his pitch by batting it towards the strike zone. If Dye has indeed become proficient at this skill (and rumour has it he's got a three-pitch arsenal featuring a two-seam fastball, splitter, and shuuto), the Braves could keep their line-up intact while using their newest player as a DH/pitcher.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AL Central Standings a Result of Games Actually Being Played Upside-Down

CLEVELAND (Bottom of the Fourth) - The term "upside-down standings" has been thrown around a lot in the early baseball season in reference to the American League Central division, as the teams' current records reflect essentially the opposite of what pundits predicted prior to the 2011 season. However, while the small sample size of early season play naturally produces surprising results, this is one that can be expected to continue indefinitely, as there is a logical explanation for it: games in the AL Central are actually being played upside-down.

It is a well-established fact, of course, that physically inverting the game of baseball correspondingly inverts the expected results, as with mathematical functions. To be specific, this phenomenon is analogous to the mathematical reciprocal function, in which the function is flipped to the bottom of the fraction. This explains Cleveland manager Manny Acta's explanation for his team's excellent early-season play: "we've all got a common denominator right now."

For anyone who hasn't witnessed upside-down baseball, this may seem outrageous. How would one, as a fan, watch an upside-down baseball game live, in the park? And how could this have been going on for 10% of the season already without anyone mentioning, even off-handedly, "hey, isn't it weird that the game tonight was upside-down?"

In reality, the crowds haven't themselves been aware of the inverted nature of the games in the early going, as each AL Central stadium possesses a special gravity field that flips everything inside the stadium, not just the playing surface. Fans are watching the game while upside-down without being aware of it. And for some reason nobody has yet questioned the "re-orientation chambers" by which all fans are required to enter the stadium, assuming it was just some sort of TSA-related cancer beam.

This concept was originally implemented as a joint project between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians. The two teams decided that rather than developing and acquiring talented baseball players in an effort to win, it would be easier to just turn their 50,000 capacity stadiums upside-down. Upon successfully completing the endeavour in their own parks, they hired an unlisted, independent contractor to stealthily install the system in their divisional rivals' parks without their knowing. Through a series of upside-down phone calls Bottom of the Fourth was able to reach Ali Sunderji, the contractor, who was surprisingly candid about his work.

"Oh yeah, I mean the government hasn't really found out about LSP (Large-Scale Reciprocation, apparently the industry term for flipping huge things upside-down), so there aren't any laws against it," explained Sunderji. "I stay out of the spotlight to prevent regulation of my field, but what I do isn't actually illegal."

Sunderji went on to describe some of his other LSP work, including reciprocation of mountainous Peruvian villages ("to produce crops other than potatoes"), archaeological sites (funded by the Republican Party, "to unprove evolution"), and Mount Everest ("to make an awesome sledding hill").

But Sunderji says he's found his true calling in baseball. "I grew up in Cincinnati, home of baseball, and I've loved the game all my life. Pete Rose was my favourite player growing up, I idolized that guy. And there's nothing that gives me greater pleasure than bringing my work into the game to give certain teams unfair advantages because they paid me to."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Leake Claims Rare Form of Dyslexia, Often Confuses 'Paying' with 'Leaving'

CINCINNATI (Bottom of the Fourth) - Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds made headlines yesterday when he was arrested for shoplifting about $60 worth of shirts from a Macy's in Cincinnati. Instead of apologizing to his team and fans, however, Leake explained his actions by revealing he suffers from a rare form of dyslexia that makes him mix up the specific actions of 'paying' and 'leaving'.

Leake says the disorder has been problematic throughout his life, causing him to do socially-inappropriate things like attempting to pay upon leaving a new girlfriend's house. The pitcher says he's had difficulty sustaining relationships beyond the first date as a result.

Leake was diagnosed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who has made a career out of controversial diagnoses. Wakefield says Leake's affliction is common among "Cincinnati Reds pitchers" and isn't limited to the aforementioned mix-up. The doctor says that Leake and anyone else who suffers from "Weirdly-Specific Action Dyslexia" (W-SAD) could have trouble distinguishing between other pairs of actions, specifically 'reading a novel' and 'arson', 'microwaving a burrito' and 'grand theft auto', and 'giving raspberry kisses to babies' and 'murder'.

Leake could accidentally throw grenades at his opponents because of his disorder

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dayton Moore "Distraught" Without Betancourt

KANSAS CITY (Bottom of the Fourth) - A successful general manager is supposed to keep his head away from his heart lest the latter affect the ability of the former. Unfortunately, it seems Dayton Moore's head failed to adequately assess the impact of a broken heart this winter when he included Yuniesky Betancourt in a trade to the Milwaukee Brewers. Club officials have described him as "miserable" and "disconsolate".

Moore has allegedly been missing meetings on a regular basis, and is usually found slumped over at his desk fast asleep. Kila Ka'aihue, the club's first baseman, thinks he has an explanation for this erratic behaviour.

"I see him every night, wandering the corridors of Kauffman Stadium until four, five AM. He looks forlorn. Abject, even. And he's always softly singing the same sweet song, his own version of the Beatles' Michelle:

Sweet pea,
Two hundred ninety five O-B-P,
My Yuni"

Asked what he himself is doing at the stadium at all hours of the night, Ka'aihue responded candidly: "oh, I work the janitor night shift. I mean the guys deserve clean toilets, right?"

A source in the Royals' front office speculated on the nature of Moore's affection for Betancourt. "I don't think Dayton is in love with Yuni exactly. He's got a loving wife and family, and he's fully committed to them. No, I think he's in love with the idea of Yuni. The refusal to walk, the inability to run the bases effectively, the awful defense... he's everything Dayton looks for in a player."

Eventually, the source said, tensions boiled over in the front office. When a student intern was forced to take a call from Brian Cashman about a possible Jesus Montero-Mike Moustakas deal, Moore's staff forced him to face the issue by calling a public press conference.

A clearly emotional Moore sat down, shuffled his papers, and began speaking. "I've called this press conference with the intention of..." Moore trailed off, seeming unsure of how to proceed. He stopped, crumpled up his notes, took a deep breath, and started over. "Look, I'm just gonna be honest with you guys. I just... really... miss Yuni." His voice cracking, the Royals' GM paused to collect himself.

Moore fighting back the tears at his press conference
"But this isn't how a GM should act," he continued resolutely. "I can't even count the number of times I was the shoulder for John Schuerholz to cry on," he explained, referring to his days in the Atlanta Braves' organization, "and I vowed to never be like that. Even though the guy was a great GM, he was an emotional wreck. He ate a whole tub of Cherry Garcia every time he traded away a LOOGY, for god's sake."

Betancourt, for his part seems completely unaware of the situation. He responded to repeated questions about it simply with the word "como?"

Though Moore is putting on a brave face (no pun intended), it's clear he's still hurting inside. Thankfully, the Royals have gotten off to a surprisingly hot start, and it shouldn't be too long before their general manager is right as rain.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In Surprise Collaboration, Cardinals Hire Charlie Sheen

ST. LOUIS (Bottom of the Fourth) - Desperate for some good news after a tumultuous month that has seen stars Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday go down with injuries, the St. Louis Cardinals have made a bold move and hired Charlie Sheen to liven up the clubhouse, among other things.

The Cardinals, widely expected before the season to contend for the NL Central crown, didn't start the season the way they hoped to, dropping two of three games to the Padres this weekend. GM John Mozeliak said that Sheen will help the team to stop "losing" and start "being victorious".

Sheen's official title remains unspecified at the moment, but his responsibilities are expected to include warming up the crowd, delivering a "third-inning rant", and closing.

Some pundits have criticized the move, noting Sheen's recently-revealed unique traits don't mesh with those of the Cardinals. CNN's Leslie Bank weighed in on the topic. "It's a well-established fact that Mr. Sheen a) is a warlock and b) has tiger blood. Neither of these attributes has anything to do with a small red bird. For example, warlocks and cardinals may share the faculty of flight, but that's about where the comparison ends."

Ms. Bank went on to point out that the nature of Sheen's blood makes him better suited to a position with the Detroit Tigers. Ironically, Detroit was the disastrous first stop on Sheen's Torpedo of Truth tour, where he was unceremoniously booed off the stage.

The Cardinals plan to use Sheen's superstar status to plan new promotions for the 2011 season. The traditional "Ladies' Night" will be replaced by "Goddess' Night", at which all women attending will be entered into a draw to "spend some quality time at a super 8" with Sheen. Jimmy Wei, the Cardinals' director of promotions, expects the prize to include "a nice dinner and maybe some pool time", but notes that Sheen was "adamant about the wording" and that "ultimately, it's up to him."

Some outside observers are amused by the obvious parallels between the Cardinals and Sheen. Aramis Ramirez of the division rival Chicago Cubs spoke to the media after the announcement, calling the Cardinals and Sheen "a super-train-wreck deserving of each other". The Cubs' right-fielder elaborated, saying "okay, it's like this. First the Cardinals train crashed with another train, making a train-wreck. Then the Charlie Sheen train crashed with a fourth train, making a second train-wreck. But the train-wrecks still had momentum toward each other, and weren't too far apart, so then they crashed and made a super-train-wreck. Was that not clear? It's pretty common in the Dominican Republic."

Sheen's Torpedo of Truth Tour, which has garnered unanimously negative reviews, is expected to continue with a modified itinerary based around the Cardinals' schedule. Sheen fans are already flocking to St. Louis, and experts believe that within 48 hours the city will eclipse Los Angeles, Miami and, of course, the entire state of New Jersey, as the "Douchiest Place in America".