Book Review: “The Wax Pack” by Brad Balukjian

The premise: a baseball fan fondly recalls his childhood memories of obsessively opening and collecting packs of baseball cards.

While watching an A’s game one afternoon at the Coliseum (which he rightly describes as a “post-apocalyptic crater ringed with hot dog stands”), he wonders what the players featured on the cards he collected as a kid were doing with their lives after their baseball careers had ended.

After purchasing a pack of cards on eBay from 1986, (the first year the author remembers having baseball cards), he sets off on a road trip across America to find and hopefully meet the 14 players featured in this 30-year-old card pack.

High jinks, hilarity and even important life lessons ensue.

This was just a great read and I highly recommend it for any baseball fan. Check it out on Goodreads.

Armchair managing my favorite baseball team in OOTP 16

One of my favorite computer games, Out of the Park Baseball, released its latest version just in time for the 2015 baseball season (one of the biggest features this year is the official MLB license — that means real team names and logos!). I’ll have to write up a more in-depth review later, but first I wanted to share this screenshot from a recent game.

The situation: I took over management of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 (sorry, Andrew Friedman, I know you just got this job and all, but it’s time for a new sheriff) and I eventually navigated them to the 2017 World Series!

In game 2, Zack Greinke is pitching for the Dodgers, and LA ends up scoring 7 runs in the first inning! Greinke hits TWO homeruns during the game and on top of all that, Texas still came back and nearly won. Crazy!

(Click screenshot for larger view.)



Anyway, the Dodgers would go on to win the 2017 World Series by sweeping Texas in 4 games. 😉

Baseball Twitter: Fun with the jQuery and Twitter’s API

screenshot_redsoxThis past weekend, I played around with jQuery, JavaScript, and Twitter’s API to create a web app that displays realtime search results for various baseball teams. I figure this is particularly important since pitchers and catchers report in about 10 days! 🙂

Anyway, the goal of this project was to rapidly build out a web app that could search and parse publicly available data (e.g., tweets!) for mentions of particular baseball teams while using various jQuery and JavaScript libraries. I could see this app having potentially wider uses beyond baseball such as returning the latest tweets from an event or hashtag. It also gave me a chance to use various libraries and frameworks as well. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

You can see it in action right here and the source code is available on Github.


San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera banned for PED use…

I’m not one to gloat (okay, I sure am), but let’s take a trip back in recent time. Back to the good old dog days of summer, July 27th, 2012.

A surprised Melky Cabrera [San Francisco Giants outfielder] categorically denied an Internet rumor that he had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, saying neither he nor the Players’ Association has received any such information from Major League Baseball.

The article continues…

Cabrera said he had nothing to be worried about and credited his success to hard work. He speculated that perhaps a Dodgers fan created the rumor as a way to distract the club heading into the big, three-game series between the two rivals.

That’s a pretty awesome conspiracy theory!

Just over 3 weeks later, the sports news today is all about:

All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games without pay Wednesday after the San Francisco Giants outfielder tested positive for testosterone


Flashing bright orange spikes, Cabrera singled and hit a two-run homer last month in the NL’s 8-0 All-Star win, which secured home-field advantage for the World Series.


It’s going to be especially awesome when the Dodgers get home field advantage for the World Series later this year. Thanks for the kind words, Melky!

This team is so frustrating to watch sometimes

This loss against the San Diego Padres last weekend was especially embarrassing. Double steal of home in the top of the 9th inning.

Of course, the blame rests solely on myself. About 10 minutes before this, I was telling some friends who are Giants fans that, “there’s a reason we’re in first place.”

Yeah, no.

I’m going to rename my fantasy baseball team the “God Damn Dodgers.”