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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Inside Inside Baseball
2006-01-26 10:54
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I've noticed the term "inside baseball" creeping into news articles oftener and oftener. For a while there, I was too inside baseball to understand what "inside baseball" meant. I had never heard the expression inside a baseball conversation, a baseball game, or even in the giant baseball balloon I have in my backyard. (Just kidding - my wife isn't that crazy.)

Here's an example, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

To the average citizen, it might have seemed like inside baseball: a debate over arcane matters like the tensile strength of mortar compounds and the patina of old vs. new brick and terra cotta. But when it comes to preserving Milwaukee's most revered landmark, City Hall, even the smallest detail takes on historic significance.

The irony, I think, is that the average citizen doesn't even know the expression "inside baseball." Either that, or I've been sub-average most of my life. It is true that I have usually sat out debates over the tensile strength of mortar compounds and such.

Now, "inside baseball" is creeping back from outside baseball inside baseball, such as in this Boston Globe article about the Red Sox front office, and elsewhere. With all the fascination about inside baseball, can the center possibly hold?

Comments
2006-01-26 11:12:14
1.   Disabled List
This all sounds just a wee bit disingenuous to me. Your recent SI.com column appeared on the front page under the heading "Inside Baseball", y'know.
2006-01-26 11:18:12
2.   Bob Timmermann
Christy Mathewson's famous book on how to play baseball, published in 1912 is titled "Pitching in a pinch: Or, baseball from the inside".

I've been finding references to "inside baseball" (although just to the game itself) throughout the 20th Century. I've heard it occasionally used as a metaphor in other fields. It seems George Will-ian.

2006-01-26 11:24:35
3.   Andrew Shimmin
I can't remember how I came to know 'inside baseball', but I know that I have for some time. Never knew the origin, and it always seemed a bit stuffy, anyway. "I'm such the knowledgable insider that I will bore you with details of a thing there's no reason to believe you care about, which I read in Time magazine two months ago. Feel free to adore me. . ."
2006-01-26 11:25:38
4.   Andrew Shimmin
Uh-oh, George Will-ian? I take back what I said. Inside baseball is obviously the finest idiom in the English language.
2006-01-26 11:29:06
5.   Disabled List
Just did a Lexis-Nexis full text search of "inside baseball" and author:George Will. Search turned up no documents.
2006-01-26 11:33:55
6.   GoBears
OT, but funny. CBS Sportsline is running an "assessment of the offseason" column, team by team. I don't know who the author is (I mean, his name is there, but I don't recognize it), but I like his style. I also agree with most of his take. It's all worth reading, but here's the Dodger entry (not nearly the best one):

Los Angeles Dodgers: Let's see ... you take career shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and move him to first base, which is where you were going to move second baseman Jeff Kent, who currently turns double plays with the grit of a high-heeled debutante trying to flag down a cab. Then you add third baseman Bill Mueller, whose knees can no longer accommodate the act of bending, and whose addition to the infield miasma effectively pushes the team's one legit fielder (gimpy-'til-June Cesar Izturis) into positional purgatory. Not unlike an elephant attempting to mate with a ceiling fan, the parts don't fit. On the plus side, new GM Ned Colletti boasts a once-in-a-lifetime baseball mustache; this generation will someday speak of its sturdy magnificence in the hushed, awed tones with which its parents discuss the facial-hair typhoon that was Al Hrabosky.

Here's the link:
http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/9185622

2006-01-26 11:37:46
7.   Andrew Shimmin
5- Excellent. I retract my retraction.
2006-01-26 11:39:30
8.   Bob Timmermann
5
Thanks saves me the trouble.
2006-01-26 11:53:20
9.   Jon Weisman
1 - You know, I was worried about that. I actually wrote most of the above post before the column even materialized. I do refer to it in my final paragraph above, as "elsewhere."

But the "Inside Baseball" column heading isn't really the same kind of "inside baseball" that I'm talking about above. I don't think SI.com's motivation for my column is to have me write about the arcane.

2006-01-26 11:59:03
10.   Bob Timmermann
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's weekly baseball column is also called "Inside Baseball".

Had to find a way to filter all those out of my search results.

2006-01-26 11:59:35
11.   Jon Weisman
6 - Wow, I haven't seen that kind of writing about the Dodgers since before DePo was fired: focusing on the downsides and doing only sarcastic reporting on the upsides.

He's not entirely wrong, nor is he entirely right. But he sure does have style. He's got the style of a Alpine skier schussing to the Veronica's Secret happy hour.

2006-01-26 11:59:53
12.   Linkmeister
I often see it used nearly interchangeably with "inside the Beltway." The intent, I think, is to convey that the subject is only of interest to "serious" practitioners of the art.
2006-01-26 12:00:54
13.   Linkmeister
11 "Veronica's" Secret? We now know what catalogs the Weisman family doesn't receive.
2006-01-26 12:04:03
14.   Jon Weisman
13 - LOL!!!

Sigh. I of course meant, "Betty's Secret."

2006-01-26 12:06:00
15.   Disabled List
9 Yeah, I figured that. It was just a funny dichotomy.

I kinda like it when sports cliches cross over to other sports, or to the mainstream. If a baseball team wins by seven runs, you hear the Sportscenter doofs say they won "by a touchdown." Or conversely, when a quarterback throws deep, he's "going for the homerun ball", whatever that means. And anytime someone somewhere does three of anything (sports-related or not), it's a "trifecta" or a "hat trick".

2006-01-26 12:22:35
16.   Colorado Blue
Mr. Berman, a Mr. "Disabled List" is on line 1 for you...
2006-01-26 12:23:17
17.   Bob Timmermann
14
Perhaps Jon was home watching all 66 episodes of "Veronica's Closet" that he has saved on his TiVO.
2006-01-26 12:32:09
18.   Ben P
Not sure if this is authoritative but it is interesting (if a bit convoluted):

http://tinyurl.com/8fgw9

The first time I recall hearing the phrase "inside baseball" the context was major league baseball. The originator of the term, so far as I know, is the author and baseball abstracter, Bill James. I was a Mets fan reading him in the 1980s when he began to attract attention for his analysis of players and teams in The Bill James Baseball Abstract.

James was originally a press critic. He came to his ideas via philosophical conflict with the sportswriters' tribe. He thought baseball journalists had a firm grasp on the wrong end of the telescope. They were looking at their subject in a way that shrank it to insignificance, compared to the big picture James saw by tinkering with different measures over longer arcs of time. Thus, he spoke of inside baseball but also "outside baseball," taking the longer view but bringing that longer view into the game played tonight.

2006-01-26 12:32:10
19.   Colorado Blue
17 - We named our daughter Veronica and she was born before but in the neighborhood of the start of that show... I was never so relieved at the cancellation of a show. There was always some comparison and/or comment that included the show and/or Kirstie Alley when people were introduced to my daughter. Not in any mean way, just the eye-rolling fashion. Fortunately, she was plenty young enough to avoid any permanent emotional scars.
2006-01-26 12:45:22
20.   Andrew Shimmin
19- If current trends hold, twenty years from now, there'll be a movie based on that show.
2006-01-26 12:51:20
21.   Andrew Shimmin
Further prognostication: the Veronica's Closet movie will be very bad. And star Jessica Simpson. Willie Nelson may or may not have a cameo.
2006-01-26 12:55:23
22.   Jon Weisman
Becker was better than Veronica's Closet.
2006-01-26 12:58:04
23.   Bob Timmermann
Another thing to cross off of Jon's Christmas list in 2006.
2006-01-26 12:59:21
24.   scareduck
Gad, "inside baseball" sounds like one of those horrible locutions made up by someone who couldn't decide whether to join the chess club or the debate team.
2006-01-26 13:01:49
25.   D4P
22
We're going to end up thinking you liked Becker...
2006-01-26 13:03:17
26.   Jon Weisman
25 - Bob keeps setting me up.
2006-01-26 13:11:54
27.   Linkmeister
O/T, but I found a couple of interesting stories pertaining to Los Angeles and its surrounding area today:

http://tinyurl.com/9p58c

http://tinyurl.com/bl5ca

The first refers to an 8-part series which ran in the OC Register; the second refers to a blog focusing on 1947 Los Angeles.

2006-01-26 13:29:42
28.   das411
So does anybody read old threads once Jon tells everybody to migrate to the new ones?
2006-01-26 13:51:59
29.   Linkmeister
28 I notice if the comment counter is higher than what I remember from the last time I looked, so I check.
2006-01-26 14:24:43
30.   das411
29 - uhoh.
2006-01-26 15:34:35
31.   Bob Timmermann
Old "friend" Carlos Perez had a big time in the championship series of the Dominican winter league.

http://tinyurl.com/aewel

The story is in Spanish. And there's a poem at the end of the story too!

That's the problem with sportswriters today. No poems.

Actually, Perez wasn't all that good. He was 0-1 with a 4.16 ERA, but the opposition batted just .235 off of him.

Which leads me to believe that a lot of those hits were four-baggers.

2006-01-26 16:24:35
32.   Jon Weisman
New post up top ...
2006-01-26 16:53:46
33.   Vishal
[28] i read it! i figured you must be at least a casual dodger fan to keep coming back here, hehe. and if you can last through a season like 2005, which was as miserable as it gets, hopefully you'll stick with them for a while.
2006-01-26 18:09:48
34.   das411
33 - "as miserable as it gets" was the Terry Francona era in Philly, you guys have it easy. Two losing seasons since 1993? My Phils have had eight.

That new post is one I might silently skip over though, just don't tell Jon!

Perhaps I will walk by and throw another Betty White grenade, or shout "Baez" in a crowded discussion topic...

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