And in honor of his birthday, one of my all-time-favorite riffs on his style from the 1980s TV show "Moonlighting:"
Yesterday, Major League Baseball agreed with its players union to ditch the four-pitch intentional walk:
Major League Baseball and its Players Association agreed to replace it with an automatic walk triggered by a signal from the dugout. The curious part was its cause of death: It was sacrificed in the name of shorter games.
That is curious, to say the least, because the intentional walk had neither the frequency of use nor the potential time-savings to make it an obvious target of league officials, led by Commissioner Rob Manfred, who want to speed up the pace of play. Last year, intentional walks occurred at a rate of one every 2.6 games. Their elimination would save perhaps a minute with each instance — a statistically insignificant improvement for a sport that averaged a record-high 3 hours 6 minutes per game in 2016.
Even something as seemingly innocuous and frivolous as the intentional walk has a long history, full of occasional mishaps (pitchers lobbing the ball to the backstop), sneaky swings (as when a batter reaches across the plate and pokes a wide pitch into the outfield for a hit) and even the famous fake intentional walk in the 1972 World Series, when Oakland A's reliever Rollie Fingers struck out Cincinnati's Johnny Bench with a pitch over the plate after the A's feigned walking him intentionally.
In many of those instances, the intentional walk was the most exciting and memorable thing that happened in that particular game. Sure, those zany plays were infrequent, and in the vast majority of instances, the intentional walk was simply a banal, goofy and sometimes counterintuitive exercise in run-prevention.
But will the no-pitch walk still be scored IBB?
I hope to read these articles sometime this year.
And I haven't fully read any of these:
Only a few more hours until we see how much closer to Rome we get.
This is what I saw last night:
As a singer who's performed the original Messiah about 10 times, I pronounce Too Hot to Handel amazeballs, and I will be in the chorus next year.
Growing up, one of my favorite things in the whole world was the O-gauge model railroad at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Atlas Obscura describes the $3.5m refurbishment that opened in 2002:
The exhibit focuses on the intersection of transportation infrastructure and economic activity—the intercity elevated train, suburban commuter rail, and cross country freight lines, all buzzing with a vibrant post-WWII industrial economy of decades past.
The trip begins in Chicago, which is the most recognizable area to a contemporary visitor. Iconic buildings like the Sears Tower and downtown neighborhoods like the Loop are shown in a spellbinding level of detail, replete with miniature cars, pedestrians and vegetation. Tiny electric trains scoot around through the skyscraper valleys and every half hour the museum lights dim as the exhibit enters “nighttime mode.”
As the exhibit moves westward five foot tall Rocky Mountain peaks rise into the air. The tracks cut through mountain tunnels and lumber towns before finally catching sight of the Pacific Ocean and the Port of Seattle. A hulking container ship is docked on the coast, ready to receive the raw materials and manufactured products collected along the 2,000 mile route from Chicago.
It's even cooler than the layout they had back in the day. And it's still one of my favorite things in the world.
The last two days, I've been in meetings more than 7 hours each. I'm a little fried. Meanwhile, the following have popped up for me to read over the weekend:
I'm now off to the opera. Thence, perhaps, to sleep.
Via Deeply Trivial, this:
The Apollo Chorus of Chicago are literally in the mix of the upcoming Netflix show Sense8. You can hear us in this promo.
We haven't been able to share this information until just now. The chorus recorded a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at our November 21st rehearsal. (I unfortunately missed the rehearsal, so I'm not singing in the episode. Boo.)