Gardenhire’s Cat

As you may have surmised from the title of this blog, I’m a big fan of quirky baseball terminology. With that in mind, I’ve got an idea for a phrase we should start using.

Physics has Schrodinger’s cat. Baseball should have Gardenhire’s cat. This term would be used to describe seemingly irrelevant details provided in a news story.

Let me explain. On page 94 of The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1982, James mentions a curious incident (note the spelling of Gardenhire’s name is as it appeared in the book):

When Ron Gardenshire was called up to the Mets last fall, he sent his pet cat to stay with his in-laws here in Lawrence, Kansas. This is not strange. What is strange is that The Sporting News reported that Ron Gardenhire had sent his pet cat to stay with his in-laws here in Lawrence, Kansas. I am not making this up. It is right there in black and white — October 3, 1981 edition, page 8, column 2:

The day after he arrived in New York, Gardenshire decided to send his cat, Tigger, a plain old alley cat, to Ron’s in-laws in Lawrence, Kansas.

I have no idea why they reported this, but I am, as anyone would be under the circumstances, absolutely convinced that it must have been done for my benefit. I mean; if you lived in Muskegon, Wisconsin, and you read in a national publication that Ron Gardenshire had sent his pet cat to stay in Muskegon, Wisconsin, wouldn’t you rather fancy that this information must have been provided expressly for you? I don’t know who Ron’s in-laws are or what the cat looks like (there was a drawing in The Sporting News, but it wasn’t in color, and all cats look pretty much alike in black and white), but I want to tell you, I have been driving carefully. Can you imagine what it would look like if there was an accident: GARDENSHIRE’S CAT SMASHED BY WRITER!! And just beneath the banner, details on page 4: Sabermetrician denies malice; claims Tigger jumped at his tire. I may give up driving entirely. Or maybe I’ll give up reading The Sporting News. Whichever it is, Ron, if you’re ever in town, stop by and say hello. And, by all means, bring your cat.

The next time you read an article about baseball (or anything, really), keep an eye out for Gardenhire’s cat. There’s a good chance you’ll find it.

* * *

  • Striking gold with compensation picks (SweetSpot). San Diego’s regrettable decision to sign Tim Stoddard is mentioned here, as are Bud Black and former Padres infielder Kurt Stillwell.
  • In ‘Raceball’, A Look At Players And Race (NPR). I’ve read and enjoyed Rob Ruck’s The Tropic of Baseball. Ruck’s latest sounds interesting as well. [h/t BBTF]
  • John Wathan (SABR Baseball Biography Project). Go Toreros!
  • Who Do You Wish You’d Seen Play Baseball? (LobShots). In response to a recent question posed here… I won’t give it away, just think “short”…
  • Previewing the Padres: The outfield (Friar Forecast). Myron doesn’t expect much improvement from Cameron Maybin, who is the big wild card on this year’s squad.
  • Prospect Smackdown: Simon Castro vs. Casey Kelly of the San Diego Padres (Minor League Ball). John Sickels scrutinizes the Friars’ two best pitching prospects.
  • Padres Top 30 Prospects (Friar Forecast). Given the injuries, right-hander Keyvius Sampson in the top 10 is aggressive, but he’s got terrific upside. I like the Jason Hagerty love and think Jedd Gyorko is too low. Third baseman Duanel Jones is an intriguing kid who is a long ways away but who definitely bears watching.
  • 2011 MLB Draft Big Board 1.0 (Friarhood). Peter Friberg is thinking draft.
  • A Conversation with The Commish (On Wisconsin). Quoth Selig: “I was an American history and political science major, and you bet it helps. In all the things I do as commissioner, I look back. I do enormous research and have our people do it, and history has been a great teacher for me.” One of the things history has taught him is that the power of myth is greater than the power of reality. Long live Abner Doubleday! Or not. [h/t BBTF]
  • You Can’t Help Who You Love (or Hate) (Platoon Advantage). Funny, The Common Man hates two players I adore: Von Hayes and Frank Thomas.
  • All but forgotten, Hunter helps Friars remember ( Cedric Hunter is having a nice spring. Quoth the former top prospect: “You have to be mentally tough. You hit balls hard all day and your average won’t show it because those balls are being caught.” He’s not talking about Petco Park, but rather about San Antonio’s Wolff Stadium, which he called home in 2009 and which gives Padres hitting prospects good practice at being frustrated on a regular basis.
  • Padres about front of jersey, not back (ESPN). Jerry Crasnick offers a thoughtful take. Much of this is review material for die-hards, but it’s nice to see a national writer pretty much nail it (full disclosure: Ducksnorts is part of ESPN’s SweetSpot network). His ideas for face of the franchise are interesting. Mat Latos gets dinged for “immaturity,” but personally I think that’s where his appeal lies. He is not from the Crash Davis school of etiquette, which is kind of refreshing for a team whose leaders tend toward the bland side.
  • Back to Baseball. This is oodles of fun. Here’s a game you might enjoy. Oodles…

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3 Responses »

  1. So, cat’s been dead for like 10, 15 years (assuming it didn’t have 9 lives) and here we are writing and reading about it.
    Some baseball players don’t get this kind of coverage after their careers are over.