Modern wrinkles to traditional scorekeeping

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ST. LOUIS — Baseball’s expanded use of replay and the increasing (exponentially) use of defensive shifts have had ripple effects on the game’s offense, the game’s officiating, and, yes, even the game’s scorebook shorthand. In a blog today at StlToday.com, I made some suggestions for how to score shifts and what notation can be used for replays, whether they’re overturned or not.

Goold: Modern challenges to traditional scorekeeping.

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SHAD’S TALE: A Fictional Retelling of a True Baseball Disappearance

The following short story was drawn, inked, and colored by Jim Mosley based on my scribbles and script. It originally appeared in Home Brew, a collection of comic book tales published in 2014 and based on St. Louis to mark the city’s 250th birthday. The book can still be purchased here. The entire six-page story has been reprinted here with the blessing of Handsome Jim on what would have been Babe Ruth’s 120th birthday.

Derrick Goold

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The Wisdom of the Wizard

JUPITER, Fla. — For the first time in 16 years, Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith returned to the fields of Roger Dean Stadium in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, and it took him less than four hours and all of seven words to capture what keeps so many of us coming back year after year after year to spring training and the game that captivates us.

He took a deep sniff and told a few of us, “It is nice breathing good baseball air.”

(56/366)

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An Experiment in Experience Journalism

JUPITER, Fla. — During my senior year at Mizzou, I finally got to take a class I’d been eying since entering the School of Journalism. I don’t recall the number — it was somewhere in the 300s — but I do remember the unofficial title we had for it: our immersion project.

An exercise in long-form journalism, the semester’s assignment was to plant yourself inside a story, wallow in it for more than a month, and then emerge with a deep, penetrating and, in some cases, personal story about the experience. In short, the idea was to immerse yourself in the story. Today, we might call this embedding. Students would work at shelters. They would ride along with a high school team for a season. They’d go through a round of cancer treatments with the family of a patient. I spent my semester entrenched in the Kenny Hulshof campaign for Congress, and by the end I was able to chronicle from behind closed doors how a Republican won Missouri’s ninth district for the first time in more than Continue reading

‘Twas the Night Before Spring Training

JUPITER, Fla. — This afternoon, on the eve of report day for St. Louis Cardinals pitchers and catchers, the clubbies continued setting up the clubhouse by hanging jerseys at each locker … with, um, care.

I snapped a picture of the corner awaiting position players when they arrive:

Jerseys hanging at lockers in the Cardinals' clubhouse in the spring training complex at Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 17, 2012, two days before the team's first official workout.

The unopened bags, the anticipation of spring training’s opening, the jerseys hung ever so carefully — why that phrase kept clinking around in my skull all afternoon and the obvious result was — what else? — a poem, starring the local nine and even some of the journalists who cover the club. Here goes.

‘Twas the Night Before Spring Training

‘Twas the night before spring training, when all through the clubhouse

Not a reliever was warming, not even a Motte

The jerseys were hung by their lockers with care,

in hopes that the Cardinals soon would be there.

 

The baseballs are nestled, all rubbed up with mud,

eager for that whack that smears the signature from Bud.

And Hummel at his keyboard, and I on the blog,

had just sent our stories to beat a deadline slog.

 

When out on Field 1, there arose such a clatter Continue reading

Filling in for Ozzie Smith at Shortstop: Oliver Hardy

TOWER GROVE — In 1994, late in the last stand of 16-bit consoles, a Super Nintendo baseball game gained the endorsement of All-Star center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and approval of Major League Baseball, but it could not land the licensing rights from the Major League Baseball Players Association and could not use real games.

For that, we are forever grateful.

A lack of authentic names forced a stroke of genius.

“Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball” brought some of the most creative lineups ever to gamers. Oh, if only they were real! Unable to have Cal Ripken Jr. as the starting shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, Junior’s game instead had Baltimore native (and colorful film director) John Waters playing shortstop. The Colorado Rockies were loaded with famous movie monster actors, putting, as the game says, B. Legosi in center field and L. Chaney at first. Griffey is playing center for the Seattle Mariners — hey, he endorsed the game — but instead of Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Tin Martinez around him in the lineup are the names of Nintendo employees. The Kansas City Royals are former presidents. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are punk bands from those areas, putting the city’s Joey Ramone against the coast’s Lux Interior. The Oakland Athletics have a lineup of authors such as M. Twain, L. Tolstoy and, filling in at first base fore Mark McGwire, is a bearded chap named Continue reading

A Computer’s Coming for My Job

TOWER GROVE — Over the past couple weeks, I’ve spent some time updating the book I wrote on the Cardinals for a new edition that will include the 2011 World Series and Tony La Russa’s retirement. The final update was completed last week from a hotel room in Curacao, which is fitting because some of the previous book was written off the coast of Greece. The book is more well-traveled than it deserves.

The trick with the update was to write something I’ve written dozens of times before — hey, did you hear that the Cardinals came back from 10 1/2 games back in August? No, seriously, it happened! And Game 6, wasn’t that great? — with fresh sentences. I kept stumbling into familiar phrases. Unforgettable. Underachievers. Unexpected. These were verbal blankies that I kept wrapping around my copy because they’re cozy and reliable. I was unable to avoid all of them because there are only so many ways to peel the same onion.

That said, I hope I was able to keep from sounding repetitive. The worst thing to do would be to become so numbed by writing about the events (again) that the emotion, thrill and drama is sucked out of the description. The writer has to remember the reader may be visiting these stories for the first time, and the writer owes that reader the same verve.

Or else, the story will seem … well, robotic.

There’s that word again. Continue reading