August 30, 2009


There is a competitive baseball-derived game called beep baseball that is played by blind and visually impaired athletes using a modified baseball that emits a beeping sound to enable blind or blindfolded players to locate the ball for hitting and fielding:

Beep Baseball, created in the mid 1960’s, is a modified version of traditional baseball played by visually impaired and blind athletes. Most of the Bombers games are played against sighted teams, with the use of blindfolds. The National Beep Baseball Association (NBBA) established the set of rules and sanctions teams all over the country.

The Bombers are the Long Island Bombers:

The Long Island Bombers are a dedicated group of baseball enthusiasts from the Long Island and Tri-state area. They just happen to be blind and visually impaired. They hold rigorous practices, instructional clinics and play exhibition and competitive games against sighted and other visually impaired teams in the Metropolitan area. The combined efforts of our players, volunteers and supporters are what make the Long Island Bombers successful.

Totally fucking coolio!

What PIs Do

August 29, 2009

I am reading a cool-ass novel right now called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living”, by Michael Dahlie, that was a PEN Hemingway award winner (whatever the fuck that is). One of the minor characters in the book trained as a bush pilot in Alaska, and then over time built his own bush flight operation in Africa with multiple planes and pilots. I really like this description of the dude:

Prentice’s whole pursuit of aviation actually seemed largely intellectual, as though landing in a narrow lake two hundred miles north of Juneau were a kind of thought problem as much as it was an act of physical bravado. It was something like assembling a radio, although the variables and stakes and the physical challenges made the puzzle much more complex and much more fascinating.

This kind of technician’s outlook seemed to carry on throughout his career. Prentice began running his own cargo operations, and hiring his own pilots to deliver shipments in war-torn jungles and budding dictatorships all across Africa, approaching it all with that same mathematical outlook–he took a great deal of satisfaction from manipulating the course and destination of people and machines through very complex environments toward a specific and measurable goal.

The book as a whole is actually totally fucking hilarious.

Here is the list in order of the top 25 ranked starting NFL quarterbacks (as assessed by the fantasy prediction Web site) and their colleges:

Drew Brees–Purdue
Tom Brady–Michigan
Peyton Manning–Tennessee
Philip Rivers–NC State
Aaron Rogers–Cal
Kurt Warner–N Iowa
Tony Romo–E Illinois
Matt Ryan–BC
Jay Cutler–Vandy
Donovan McNabb–Syracuse
Carson Palmer–USC
Matt Schaub–Virginia
Matt Cassel–USC
Ben Roethlisberger–Miami of Ohio
Matt Hasselbeck–BC
Brett Favre–S Miss
Eli Manning–Ole Miss
Kyle Orton–Purdue
Trent Edwards–Stanford
Joe Flacco–Delaware
Chad Pennington–Marshall
David Garrard–E Carolina
Shaun Hill–Maryland
Jason Campbell–Auburn
JaMarcus Russell–LSU

I was listening to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio this morning, and he made a really interesting observation (yes, he is a misogynist right-wing dumbfuck asshole, but he does have some insight into sports). Of those top 25 NFL starting quarterbacks, only seven played in legitimate top-25 college programs; of the top ten NFL starters, only three played at top-25 colleges.

Cowherd’s interpretation of this is that college QBs who play in top programs rarely have to struggle to win and never get hit–and rarely even challenged–by defenses, because their offensive lines and receivers so overwhelmingly physically dominate the vast majority of defensive players they face. This provides very little preparation for what they will experience in the NFL. In contrast, QBs at lesser programs have been forced to routinely succeed in situations that are much more like what they will face in the NFL: defenses that are, at a minimum, very evenly matched physically with the offense, and able to hurry, harry, and beat the living crap out of them.

This got me thinking about the relative success of PIs who trained in “top-25” labs–huge-ass, well-funded, with tons of outstanding technical support and fancy-ass equipment and reagents, and surrounded by many brilliant people–and those who scrapped it out in smaller, less-funded, tech-impoverished, and intellectually less vibrant environments. I have my own thoughts about this, but I am interested in readers’ thoughts first.

Question For My Readers

August 21, 2009

Do cats and horses really befriend one another like this?

Long time Boston partisan hack beat writer and all-around Red Socks suck-up Tony Massarotti recognizes that the Yankees are totally motherfucking awesome, not just because they use their huge budget to buy expensive players, but because they have been really good at nurturing young talent:

Tonight, when the New York Yankees rumble into Fenway Park, perception and reality will clash. The team known for its multimillion-dollar superstars will have more than its share of budding youngsters, much to the chagrin of Red Sox supporters who would prefer to paint a far different picture.

Take a good look at the first-place Yankees this weekend. From Robinson Cano to Phil Hughes to Joba Chamberlain to Melky Cabrera, they have the kind of home-grown talent that makes them far more competitive with the Red Sox in that area than most anyone ever acknowledges.