Oscar Taveras Tribute Video

Sick. That’s how I felt when we heard the news that Oscar Taveras, the future Cardinals superstar, had died tragically in a car accident. As the news broke and was eventually confirmed on Twitter, it felt like someone had sucker punched me in the stomach.

I assume this is how most of the baseball community felt as well. The World Series, however riveting it may be, suddenly felt unwatchable. At the core, baseball is a game played by young men, and the fact that one of these young men lost his life instantly becomes more important than whatever Madison Bumgarner is going to do tonight.

I’m not sure what the “proper” way to react to this news is. Maybe this video is insensitive and if it offends you I’m genuinely sorry, but in times of sadness it’s helpful to find comfort in the tangible.

Oscar Taveras was going to be a superstar. Scouts and prognosticators all agreed that this kid had the potential to do amazing things between the lines. The thing is, he had already become something amazing. Hundreds of thousands of young Dominican kids dream of one day playing in the big leagues. Taveras died having already fulfilled that dream.

I didn’t know Oscar Taveras. Chances are neither did you. But for whatever reason, right now, it feels like we did. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. May they find peace in this difficult time.

Rest in peace, Oscar. You were fucking awesome.

 

Episode 49: The Part Where It’s Not Food

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Welcome to Barbecast 49! It’s not quite Barbecast 50, but it’s pretty damn close. We have THREE special guests this week. Although, to be fair, we’ve had all three of these guests on before. Our first guest (at 16:54) is Matt Clark, the official MAJOR leaguer of the Cespedes Family Barbecue. We talked to Matt about his long, complicated season that was topped off by his first call-up to the big leagues with the Brewers. Our second special guest (at 43:18) is Jake’s Mom! We spent a solid 10 minutes debating whether it is safe for Jake to eat a baseball. Our third special guest (at 55:41) is the official MINOR leaguer of the Cespedes Family Barbecue, Kieran Lovegrove! Kieran just had Barry Bonds Hip Surgery, so he’s rehabbing in Arizona, but he carved some time out of his busy schedule to recap his season with us. After our three guests, we did the customary B-Ref Battle in which we present three of our favorite. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry recapped Jake’s ridiculous trip to Kansas City to see the Orioles’ season end…so that was kinda depressing. We concluded with A NEW SEGMENT featuring a discussion on Reggie Abercrombie and an uneventful Varsity Baseball Update. Thanks for listening <3

Musical Guest: HOVA

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

Click here for the RSS feed

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The Things We Do For Sports

Sports are a silly thing.

 

I just took an overnight bus from St. Louis to Kansas City just so I could see my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, play one more playoff game against the Kansas City Royals. My roommates dropped me off on an abandoned street corner in downtown St. Louis at 12:45 where the bus stop was supposed to be. They had a chemistry exam to study for so I was on my own, except for the homeless man who oddly enough asked me if I wanted HIS jacket. After a good 20 minutes of confusion, my vehicular steed appeared out of the night. The Megabus had arrived.

 

Once seated upstairs, I began to doze off into slumber when I was suddenly awoken by the driver of the bus. Apparently someone had put a dog into the luggage compartment below and the driver was determined to deduce the identity of the owner. “WHO DOG? WHO DOG? WHO DOG?” he bellowed across the cabin. All of a sudden and to no one in particular he yelled, “HEY TRINA. CALL THE POLICE. WE GOT DOG.” Whether or not this man understood how to use the word “a” was extremely unclear. Eventually he grew bored of his crusade and returned to the steering wheel beneath me. It’s a shame too, I guess we’ll never know “WHO DOG” it really was.

 

Four and a half rocky hours of sleep later I arrived in Kansas City at 6 AM. Thankfully enough there was a diner right across from the bus stop where I was able to procure a hot meal. I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks, where I plan to be for the next hour or so until the library opens so I can finish Tolstoy’s War and Peace snag a quick nap. I spent over 250 bucks on the bus, hotel, and tickets for the game. And for what? So I can take a cab out to Kauffman Stadium to watch my team finish its swift playoff disintegration? So I can surround myself with (rightfully) ecstatic Royals fans who so eagerly anticipate their first AL title since 1985? So I can return to St. Louis defeated and dismayed?

 

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Kansas City at 6:45 AM

 

The Orioles could very well win tonight, tomorrow, return home and take game 6 and 7. They could win four straight and become the second team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. They could continue that momentum into the World Series and roll over the Giants/Cards. They could ignite the entire city of Baltimore with their resilient comebacks and memorable performances. Adam Jones could put his name up there with Cal, Brooks, and the boys by bouncing back from a rough start to the postseason and lead his team to the Promised Land. Nelson Cruz could further cement his argument as the greatest postseason power hitter of all time. Ubaldo Jimenez could get a World Series ring (LOL). By winning four straight this team could make an entire generation of O’s fans forget about a decade and a half of painful Augusts and boring Octobers.

 

Unfortunately, chances are that none of this happens.

 

The Orioles will probably lose this series. Jason Vargas will probably turn into tubby Kershaw 2.0 or James Shields will be James Shields or Terrance Gore will hit a walk off home run or any other number of absurd possible alternate realities will take place. I, and the rest of the rational baseball universe, know the Orioles don’t have a good chance, but I’m here in Kansas City nonetheless.

 

Baseball, and baseball fandom in particular, is all about the idea of possibility. There’s a reason fans make a premeditated decision to go to Florida or Arizona in the spring. There’s a reason Opening Day is sold out at almost every park. There’s a reason I’m sitting in this Starbucks on only 4 hours of sleep. We as fans latch on to hope and possibility, clinging to the edge of the cliff until survival is no longer possible. We all cherish the fact that one day, just maybe, that team lifting the trophy will be ours. We hold on until a championship team is mathematically impossible. We do these seemingly irrational things because sports provide us with comfort, community, and a sense of shared experience.

 

Tonight hundreds of thousands of Orioles fans will gather around their television sets, hoping that they won’t be doing so for the last time this season. They’ll suffer through numerous references to the fact that the “Royals just have it this year” (They actually do, and good for all the Royals fans. You really do deserve it). Enduring Adam Jones pop-out after Adam Jones pop-out they’ll remain in front of their TV’s because until that final out, there’s always a chance. Until a youthful throng of Royal blue races towards the pitchers mound in jubilation and until Kansas City is coated head to toe in mediocre champagne, there’s a reason for O’s fans to watch, there’s a reason for Baltimore to believe, there’s a reason I’ll be decked out in all my Orioles orange at game four later tonight.

So you’re sayin there’s a chance, eh?

 

Episode 48: Baseball Chili and The Jewish Molinas

Welcome to Barbecast 48! It’s been a while, we know. Our special guest this week (at 21:40) is professional not-baseball player Geoff Schwartz! Easily the largest guest ever to appear on the Barbecast, Geoff is an offensive-lineman for the New York Football Giants. We talked to Geoff about how he was probably the biggest high school pitcher of all time, getting drafted in the 7th round, his San Francisco Giants fanhood/Barry Bonds, and being a professional Jewish athlete. We think it was pretty awesome, so we hope you enjoyed it. Our B-Ref battle included some surprisingly good names considering this is the 34th CONSECUTIVE WEEK we’ve done it, although I did SERIOUSLY screw up a really good Chappelle’s Show reference and I apologize for that :( Tales of Logdog with Lana Berry was pretty bad, so sorry if it detracts from a mostly good podcast. Our e-mail segment was one of the best e-mail segments we’ve had for a long time, mostly because we spent 12 minutes talking about eating baseballs. We concluded with a moderately exciting Varsity Baseball Update and then we said goodbye. As always, thanks for listening <3

Please rate and review us on iTunes!

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

Click here for the RSS feed

Click here to find us on Stitcher!

“Bonds on Bonds” Revisited

The only thing worse than days without baseball during the regular season are days without baseball during the playoffs. As usual, the best remedy for baseball-less boredom is actually just more baseball; often in the form of Baseball-Reference Play Indexing and ridiculous Barry Bonds stats. As if I haven’t written about Bonds enough, I decided to turn (mostly) away from the statistical side of Barry Bonds and look back into the person he was in his playing days. One of the more interesting looks into Bonds’ life was the short-lived ESPN reality series, “Bonds on Bonds”, which aired during the latter half of the 2006 season, Bonds’ penultimate season in San Francisco. This series is certainly hard to track down, but some unclear portion of it is indeed on YouTube (embedded above) for your viewing pleasure/displeasure. While I definitely recommend watching the whole thing, here are some of the highlights:

1) At 17:30 – Bonds on his defense:

“There was always a cardinal rule: if I ain’t gettin’ no hits, you ain’t gettin’ no hits.”

I very much doubt Bonds was the first one to employ this mantra, but he carried it out better than most, especially over the first half of his career. For example:

2) At 19:21 – Bonds on his time at Arizona State University:

“I always tell everybody my major was MLB. That’s what I mastered at. I think the rest of it was just a waste of time…but I did major in criminal justice and um…I never went that far.”

There is a very, VERY small part of me that wishes Bonds pursued his major further and became some sort of state trooper or prison warden.

3) At 24:17 – Bonds on the value of his home run balls at that stage of his career:

“A home run has become a lottery ticket. You have the opportunity to better somebody’s life by hitting a home run. To me, that’s satisfying. ‘Thank you Barry Bonds, goodbye!’ You are welcome *laughs*.”

Bonds was at the point in his career where every home run he hit was worth serious money. Sure, the bundled-up fans sitting in their canoes in McCovey Cove looked crazy but they were simply waiting for a legitimately lucrative baseball to come falling from the sky into the freezing waters beneath them. I can’t totally blame them. It’s also pretty awesome how much Bonds enjoyed hitting those magical lottery tickets.

4) At 37:00 – Jimmy Rollins on Barry Bonds:

“I remember how I felt when I was younger just seeing the name ‘Bonds’ across his back. And I was like, ‘Bonds’…that’s one hell of a name.”

Same.

5) At 38:47 – Bonds on chasing records:

“I didn’t have to hit the home runs. I didn’t have to do a lot of things I do. I didn’t have to. I had that choice. But I chose that I wanted to be like Willie [Mays], and I wanted to be like Hank Aaron, and I wanted to be like Babe Ruth.”

Sure, Bonds had more natural baseball talent than 98% of the players that came before, during, and after his time. But it’s easy to point to countless immensely talented players that never really produced the way we hoped they could. From premier prospects that flamed out before even reaching the big leagues to decent major leaguers that never quite turned into the superstars that we expected, there are so many examples of raw talent failing to reach its full potential. Bonds understood the talent he possessed and did everything in his power to assure it was not wasted. As former manager Jim Leyland said, despite already being the best, Bonds worked harder than anyone to get the most out of his natural abilities. He was fully committed to becoming the best player he could be, which turned out to one of, if not the greatest player of all time.

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Cespedes BBQ Playoff Preview 2014: Keys To The Postseason

It’s that time of year again. The air is crisp, October awaits, and the postseason is finally here. For most of you this is a dark time as your beloved Mariners [TEAM OF CHOICE] have been agonizingly eliminated from postseason contention. But for some of you, October is a magical time filled with crushed hope, dried tears, and the sour taste of disappointment. Look on the bright side: there’s no way the World Series could be more blah than last season… *Prays fervently against inevitable Cardinals/Tigers World Series*

We here at the Cespedes Family Barbecue are very similar to the rest of the baseball universe in that we have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. What we do know however, is that each team has keys; Keys to the Playoffs, that is. Instead of actually analyzing and evaluating the playoff contenders, we decided to focus on the important things each team needs to do in order to ensure postseason success. These proverbial keys will unlock the proverbial doors of victory for the proverbial people handling said proverbial keys:

National League

Nationals (1) vs. Pirates/Giants

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Dodgers (2) vs. Cardinals (3)

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 American League

Angels (1) vs. Royals/A’s

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 Orioles (2) vs. Tigers (3)

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Happy we could help!

Episode 47: Just Don’t Embarrass Yourself

Cubs Prospect Kris Bryant’s Eyes Are Still Amazing

Welcome to Barbecast 47! We took a break for a bit because of a plus-plus amount of homework, but we’re back. This week’s special guest (at 26:15) is Sahadev Sharma, new associate editor over at Baseball Prospectus and noted Cubs enthusiast. We talked to Sahadev about…

  • His recently diminished fanhood
  • Jose Abreu’s amazingness
  • His ideal Cubs 2016 Cubs lineup
  • Dan Vogelbach (duh)
  • His favorite Cubs pitching prospects
  • Zunes?
  • Other stuff!

It was great! You can and should follow Sahadev on Twitter @sahadevsharma. After Sahadev, we participated in YET ANOTHER B-Ref Battle of extraordinary baseball names and managed to include a Spongebob reference. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry covered who Lana thinks should be the next NFL commissioner because Goodell is not lookin’ so good. We concluded with the return of Jake’s Varsity Baseball Update with exciting news that Jake is still on the team! Our crop of e-mails this week was especially strong, with a few discussions on the worst lineups we’ve ever seen, and of course, Papelbon’s crotch grabbing extravaganza. Thanks for listening <3

Musical guest is Yelawolf. We’re so sorry.

Please rate and review us on iTunes! We’d really appreciate it!

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

Click here for the RSS feed

Click here to find us on Stitcher!

Episode 46: Bo Porter’s Big Dreams

Barbecast 46 has arrived and it is chock full of questionable hip-hop opinions. For the second straight week we have TWO special guests for ze подкаст. Our first special guest (at 14:45) is the new lead prospect writer over at FanGraphs. His name is Kiley McDaniel, and he is on Twitter, just like us! We talked to Kiley about the 20-80 scale, how he gives tool grades to major leaguers, prospects similar to Dan Vogelbach, and more! Then we put Kiley on the spot by forcing him to give 20-80 grades to a myriad of random and not-so-random rappers. It was fun! After Kiley, we did our weekly B-Ref Battle in which we found a player truly near and dear to our hearts. Our second special guest (at 1:21:01) is Tyler Stafford, aka @JeffBlogwell on the Tweeterz. We talked to Tyler about what it’s like being a miserable Astros fan and discussed the timely firing of Mr. Bo Porter. Tales from Logdog with Lana Berry celebrated the recent call-up of mutual friend Matt Clark to the big leagues and discussed what Lana is getting Jake for his birthday. We concluded with a brief update on how we’re feeling about our two favorite teams heading into the final month of the season. Thanks for listening <3

Musical guest is some combination of The Game and The Backstreet Boys and 2Pac. Enjoy!

IMPORTANT LINKS:

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cespedes-family-barbecue-cespedes/id683535357

Link to all previous podcasts: http://cespedesfamilybarbecue.com/the-barbecast-cfb-podcast/

Tweeterz: https://twitter.com/CespedesBBQ

Click here to join our Facebook group!

Click here for the RSS feed

Click here to find us on Stitcher!

Failed Prospects Throwing Dessert

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For those of you that don’t know there was a little incident last night involving Jesus Montero, a Mariners cross-checker, and an ice cream sandwich. You can read about the details here, but due to Montero’s act of decadent defiance, something more important is sweeping the nation. Failed prospects around the country, nay, around the globe, are taking up arms against baseball’s scouting aristocracy. These are pictures of said failed prospects throwing desserts:

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Former Rockies prospect Greg Reynolds chucks some chocolate milk

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Matt Anderson, Tigers savior of the late 90’s, whips a chunk of peanut brittle

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Two-way superstar Adam Loewen says “Happy Birthday”

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Devil Rays righty Dewon Brazelton heaves an entire fondue fountain at an unsuspecting area scout

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America’s favorite failed prospect, Brett Jackson, unleashes America’s favorite dessert, the firecracker.

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Former Pirates top prospect Bryan Bullington serves up some bananas foster

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Tim Beckham throws some…… brownies.