Episode 43: Flat Stanleys

We've gone from baseball chaos to baseball anti-chaos here in the post season, but that doesn't mean we don't have some highlights to discuss. Relief pitcher home runs, catcher support groups, the un-pitcher-butt, and more all have their episode in the sun. We're also joined by Adrian Burgos of La Vida Baseball for a special interview in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month!

Episode 43: Flat Stanleys

Outtakes (Episodes 42 & 43)

More outtakes for your listening pleasure! Have a look for an occasional glimpse behind our scenes into our process:

Can you get divorced without a spouse?

On attractiveness:

Laura battles a spider:

Non-baseball games:

Uniquely baseball injuries:

Zero sum games:

Do you know your AL pitchers?

As always (if twice counts as always), if you’d like to see more of this, please let us know!

Episode 43 - Oatmeal Storm

What does Resting Pitchface want in the postseason (now that the Nats are out)? Chaos. Chaos, and Ichiro in a series of disguises. Do we have enough mustaches for this? Also, did you know that Mike Trout is a chaos/weather god? You heard it here first.

The Nats’ season may be over but that doesn’t mean we don’t have stuff to talk about. MLB. Karaoke. GO!

Episode 42: Oatmeal Storm

Episode 42: Phenomaly

We here at Resting Pitchface likes to cover many topics: unionization, eating the rich, pharmaceutical development, and measuring things in percentages of a Joe Blanton. We're also making peace with where the Nationals are and looking forward to where they'll be. Jayson Werth night was a thing, the intentional relief pitcher out should be a thing, and (checks) we all still love Oliver Perez. How about that Juan Soto?

Episode 42: Phenomaly

Episode 41 - Outtakes

We hate to lose any of our trademark tangents. That said, sometimes those tangents are best enjoyed on their own. We've promised outtakes; please, don't let these pass you by:

Making Matt Belisle Blush:

Dream Symbolism:

and a Deep Linguistics Lesson, containing a vital listener question:

We hope you have enjoyed these lightly edited snips; if you'd like to see more like this, please let us know!

Episode 41 - Spiritual Grain Beetles

Please Nationals, stop making us have to update our theme song. This episode Resting Pitchface discusses not just the loss of Gio Gonzalez but many players we've loved and lost over the years. Joined by familial special guest Hannah, we walk back all the way to Lastings Milledge and try to find some perspective. Also, all the games of the Women's Baseball World Cup are still on YouTube if you missed them, so if you want to know who were talking about when we talk about Jade Gortarez or Ayami Sato, you should check those out. It's September folks, here comes the clown car bullpen....cart.

Episode 41 - Spiritual Grain Beetles

Episode 40 - Dumpster IKEA

Hey literally everyone: watch the Women’s Baseball World Cup!

PSA over. Walk off balk is hard to say, don’t hit rookies with baseballs, and don’t sell your bullpen because you’re mad. That said, bullpen carts are great, though we all have differing options as to why. And more thing should be solved with lasers. 

Episode 40 - Dumpster IKEA
 

Episode 37 - A Buffalo in Your Kitchen

National baseball media is doing a horrific job of talking about domestic violence/child sexual assault and we have to address it. Do freaking better. Umps are also not learning anything about their racist behavior and we have to address it. Do freaking better. Meanwhile the Negro League Baseball Museum continues to be literally awesome despite vandalism, the Mets have a horse in their kitchen and his name is Jerry Blevins, and the Nationals' house is not actually burning down. Just, let Michael A Taylor stay in center. You know, we talk about too many guys named Mikey this episode, but we don't regret a thing.

E37 - A Buffalo in Your Kitchen

**Discussion of DV/CSA starts ~1:30, ends ~21:00. 
Please contact thehotline.org (DV), rainn.org (SA), or suicidepreventionlifeline.org if you need help or just someone to listen.

Episode 36 - Don't Get The Clap From The Cup

The Stanley Cup followed Adam Eaton to DC and then to Nats Park; whether or not this breaks the sports curse, we hope the Nationals remember to sanitize. It's also the 75th anniversary of the AAGPBL and as important as that is, it's equally important to talk about its history without sweeping the racist and homophobic aspects under the rug of time. Also, 2/3 of us were at Nats Park to celebrate Night Out and watch Max throw an immaculate inning, we try to solve the Bryce/Eaton/Michael A/Soto outfield tetrahedron, and if the weather in DC stays like it is we'll be seeing Shirts & Skins games before long. Resting Pitchface is breaking out its shrine for Strasburg's shoulder.

Episode 36 - Don't Get The Clap From The Cup

Episode 35 - Pitchers Are Weird Cats

Thanks to newest MASN personality Michael Morse for our deeply on brand title (and general baseball philosophy). We've got a fair amount of pitchers being weird cats, or people being weird to pitching cats, this ep. What is it about Florida that makes for so many poor choices? Also, racial scapegoating isn't really the best way to deal with PEDs, MLB. In Nats news: Juan Soto (new) Blessed Baseball Infant, Hellickson's blister is probably fine, and we're over .500 and apparently trying to start a boy band. That sure is something.

Episode 35: Pitchers Are Weird Cats

Episode 34 - Fun Things Are Fun (When We're Winning)

Is Matt Harvey currently a LOLMETS or a LOLCINCY? Is Anthony Rendon doing a The Bachelor-esque rose ceremony or is it behavior modification? What on Earth is going on with you Bryce Harper? We look for answers here at Resting Pitchface. Even with a brief sojourn in Geography class.

Episode 34 - Fun Things Are Fun (When We're Winning)

**On this episode we do discuss Roberto Osuna and his domestic violence arrest. Time codes ~1:30 to ~18:00**

Episode 33 - Some (Nats) Like It Hot

Everyone chill, it's still only April. Meantime, who wears it best: Pedro "The Thriller" Severino vs Wil "The Thrill" Difo. Major League Baseball & fans continue to be extremely racist (Lindor has nothing to apologize for). Umpiring, heavy sigh. Baseball is in the Upside Down. Resting Pitchface takes a long walk down a really fork-y road.

Episode 33: Some (Nats) Like It Hot

Umpires Disproportionately Eject Non-White Players

Anthony Rendon was ejected from Saturday’s game for … not contesting the strike zone. He flipped his bat down, faced away from the umpire, and did not visibly open his mouth. He was tossed by Marty Foster, for, what crew chief Joe West described incorrectly as ‘throwing equipment.’ (The pathologization of a non-white player’s actions after the fact to justify an ejection by a white ump is the subject of an entirely different set of analyses.)

After the game, Rendon actually went on record to say that umpires, like players, should be held to specific standards and demoted if they fail to meet those standards. This statement is remarkable for a couple of reasons. One, as most Nats fans know, getting Rendon to say anything, particularly anything of substance, to the media is pretty tough. He is, to forgive the pun, a pretty close-mouthed guy. For another, he points out that umpires, like players, are now doing their jobs in the Statcast era - we know, to a pretty refined degree, how well or not well they’re performing.

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Episode 32 - Phenomenal Cosmic Weirdness, Itty Bitty Opening Weekend

It's been a heck of an Opening Weekend and that's without even getting into the Nat's 21-runs-over-three-games sweep of the Reds. We tackle the highlights (overturned walkoffs & the 17 stages of baseball grief, the audacity of bunting, the gall of Brian Goodwin's grand slam), Resting Pitchface style. And there's still time for a hard right turn into the evils of capitalism. This is the start of a beautiful season.

E32 - Phenomenal Cosmic Weirdness, Itty Bitty Opening Weekend

Episode 31 - Things of the Face

We have something of an Aging Players Yearbook this "week". What's going on with Ichiro, Tim Lincecum, and podcast favorite Tyler Clippard? Also, Noah Syndergaard's shirtless interview has us speculating about more than just bullpen carts. The pornstar jar is on topic for once (though it does get interrupted by a camel). Introducing the Scherzbow, a Resting Pitchface original.

E31 - Things of the Face

Episode 30 - Bad Idea Factory

As the song (sort of) goes Baseball's Back, Alright! Resting Pitchface is joined this week by Ursula of Flipping Bats & Winning Games to discuss the state of the NL East (don't hold her Mets fan-dom against her). Of course, the NL is mainly a bad idea factory, but that's not so out of keeping with the official bad idea factory that is MLB (extra humidors? limited mound visits???). We discuss those bad ideas and some good ideas of our own, like adopting some aspects of Finnish baseball or giving Leslie Jones and Sonia Sotomayor their own baseball show. We're so excited that it's baseball time again!

Book Review of Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, by Martha Ackmann

Happy National Girls and Women in Sports Day! In addition to that, we're midway through the first week of Black History Month! These two things together make today a perfect day for a review of a book I read recently, which I would wholeheartedly recommend to you all. Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, by Martha Ackmann, is an excellent biography of Toni Stone and a fascinating view into the history of Negro League baseball in the mid-1940s through 1950s.

The book starts in Ms. Stone's young childhood and follows her closely through her retirement from baseball in 1954. It also describes some details of her later life. However, the main focus of the book is on her playing career, both amateur and professional. The overarching theme throughout is Ms. Stone's love for the game. From her childhood playing on a church team, to her semi-pro years with the St. Paul Giants, to her experiences on Negro League teams including the San Francisco Sea Lions, the Indianapolis Clowns, and the Kansas City Monarchs, Ms. Stone endured constant discouragement and mistreatment as a Black woman who wanted to play baseball. But she never gave up on the game she loved. Even after her retirement, the book describes her coaching and playing with amateur teams in local parks near her home.

In spite of her passion and talent for baseball, Ms. Stone had to fight for playing time and fair compensation every step of her career. One of the most poignant details of the book was the disconnect between the way the teams advertised her, and her actual experiences. The owners told local newspapers that they were paying her thousands of dollars to play, when in reality she was getting a fraction of what they reported. They also billed her as a star of the diamond, when the way they treated her as an employee did not reflect any kind of star status. It was often difficult for the men on the Negro League teams to find road accommodations given the status of segregation; for Ms. Stone, it was even harder, since the male players often found places to sleep that would accept Black men but not a woman. Eventually Ms. Stone discovered that she could find lodging in brothels in the cities her team traveled to, making friends with the women working there and becoming able to depend on their hospitality. Having to scrounge for a place to sleep may be sadly typical at times for some of today's underpaid minor leaguers, but it would be unheard of today for an MLB player receiving top billing and bringing in big crowds to have to deal with these types of living conditions.

The uncertainty and instability she faced on the road, as well as within the organizations that employed her, cannot have been easy for Ms. Stone to bear. But even at the end of her career, as the integration of the MLB threatened the future of the Negro Leagues, and as the introduction of other female players such as Mamie "Peanut" Johnson and Connie Morgan threatened Ms. Stone's place on her own team (due to the owners' view of female players mainly as gimmicks to bring in audiences, rather than individual players with value), Ms. Stone always pushed for fair opportunities to play as she deserved. When she ultimately retired in 1954, it had more to do with the lack of playing time her manager was giving her than with any desire to quit the game of baseball.

The text is clearly non-fiction/history rather than novelization, which I preferred for this type of topic. In particular, when white women write about Black women, a novelization style provides far too much leeway to veer into sensationalization and/or exploitation (see: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Martha Ackmann is an excellent journalist-historian known for her earlier book on a group of female astronauts, The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight. But Ackmann, though she is white, depicts Ms. Stone and the figures in her life with consistent respect, without falling into stereotypes or tropes about African-Americans. The author/narrator's voice is minimal to nonexistent throughout, rightly allowing the facts about Ms. Stone's life to speak for themselves.

One adaptation of Ackmann's book is already in the works, a play by Lydia R. Diamond, an award-winning Black playwright and professor known for previous works including The Bluest Eye and Smart People. The Ackmann biography is a fascinating read on its own, but it is even more encouraging to know that it is providing others with source material to create different types of media based on Toni Stone's story, and to ensure that Ms. Stone's commitment to the game of baseball against all odds is not forgotten.

You can find Curveball on Amazon here, or at your favorite independent bookstore or local library!

Read it? Have an opinion? Email us at restingpitchface@gmail.com or @restinpitchface on Twitter to share your thoughts!