May 16, 2013: Live From The Mexican League All Star Game
I wrote about my trip to Oaxaca this past weekend to see the Liga Mexicana's Juego de Estrellas.
April 30, 2013: Managers
My new chart for Getting Blanked: looking at the current managers. Obviously, now that I've done this chart, one of them will be fired tomorrow, right?
April 16, 2012: MLB uniforms update
My fourth annual pixel uniform thingy. Features all this of season's uni changes.
April 5, 2013: Colby Rasmus' Hair Cloak
There was no real reason not to create an image of Colby Rasmus with a hair cloak.
April 3, 2013: Opening Day
My new chart for Getting Blanked: a few things about Opening Day, i.e.: baseball is back!
March 8, 2013: Diablos Rojos training sketches
This last week, the Diablos Rojos del México have held open-to-the-public training sessions at their ballpark, Foro Sol. I went along to three of them, watching them do drills, batting and field practice, play intra-squad games, and toay, play an exhibition game against the subway workers' team. I used it as an opportunity to do some drawing practice. Each of the following sketches was done "live," not using photos as reference. It's a good reminder that I need to do this more, to get better at drawing, and better at drawing quickly.
March 5, 2013: Ties
My new chart for Getting Blanked, looking at tied games.
February 27, 2013: Flip Flop Flyers
A drawing of what the uniform would be like if this Web site ran a Little League team.
February 22, 2013: Lego ballplayers
The last few days I've been making Lego sculptures of baseball players. There are seven of them right now. I plan to keep on doing them for as long as it is fun to do so.
February 17, 2013: Perfect life
This drawing began when I was watching a Red Sox game, and wondered about shrinking a baseball park to be cabin-sized. The idea changed a lot along the way, and ended up as a drawing of a little personal paradise.
January 31, 2013: Serie del Caribe
My fellow Mexico City-based pal Eric Nusbaum and I are heading up to Hermosillo in Sonora to see some Caribbean Series games on Saturday. Real live baseball. Woo, and obviously, hoo. Seems like the perfect time to do a not-very-graphic-y infographic (honestly, it's more like a glorified spreadsheet than an infographic), showing a brief history of the Serie del Caribe. Updated February 8 to include the 2013 series data.
January 28, 2013: Cardinals spring training
I had a dream the other night that the Cardinals held their spring training on a grassy ledge at a lake-filled, abandoned quarry. So I did a drawing of it.
January 25, 2013: Baseball in Australia
It's Australia Day tomorrow, which, as I type this at 2pm Mexico City time, is today for them. So here's a look at the recent history of professional baseball all the way down there near Hobbit land.
January 20, 2013: MLB cap insignias and their Scrabble points
As was the case last year, I'm very happy to be contributing to Old Time Family Baseball's charity blogathon to support Doctors Without Borders. You should go on over there and check out what's going on. Great stuff.
January 19, 2013: Charting an NFL game
This is a work-in-progress concept. It has flaws. It's a first attempt at charting an NFL game.
Before I explain further, I should mention that my knowledge of American football is minimal at best: I enjoy watching NFL games, I know what a quarterback is, but beyond the basics, I know nothing. The idea of making a chart like this came about because I want to understand the game better. My main sporting interest is baseball, and I had a thought that, to aid my understanding, I could take the idea of the baseball box score (giving the reader a brief overview of what happened during a game) and the idea of keeping score (using graphic elements and abbreviations to tell the story of a game), and applying those ideas in a graphic way to a football game.
It is entirely possible that something like this already exists. I've seen the Drive Chart on NFL.com's GameCenter, but they don't really tell me, a novice football follower, much graphically. In the chart, I am trying to keep the visual language as simple as possible, but also express as much as I can without the viewer having to keep referring back to the key to see what each graphic element means.
Like I mentioned, there are flaws. There are a few inconsistencies here and there, but I plan on doing another chart of a different game, hopefully this weekend, to address those flaws, and tighten up the concept and design a bit. For one thing, I'd like the next version of this to have fewer words. To add graphic symbols for interceptions, fumbles, penalties, and timeouts.
That being said, I figured it might be worth putting this online in its flawed state for people to look at. I'm moderately happy with this first attempt. I feel like a few more games of data might be enough to tighten up the concept to a point where I could hopefully be able to do something "live," to follow along a game and fill out a chart, like I would keeping score at a baseball game. Oh, and one thing I guess I should mention: I've not changed ends for the teams when they change ends in the game. This is purely to keep the chart neat and understandable: Baltimore are playing left to right, Denver right to left. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to contact me.
January 16, 2013: Blue Jays draft picks, 1996-2005
This is something I've been thinking about doing for a while: to look at a ten year period of a team's draft picks, just to get a sense of how it all goes down. I chose the Blue Jays, somewhat randomly, but, y'know, this piece is for Getting Blanked up in the frozen wastelands of Canadia, so not that random, really.
December 21, 2012: The 2005 Chicago White Sox
Okay, one last thing before the holidays. Mauricio Rubio (@MRubio52) put this graphic on his Tumblr site yesterday, noting that Paul Konerko is the only White Sock remaining from the 2005 World Series-winning team. So I made a chart looking at the rest of that season's White Sox players.
December 19, 2012: An anatomical diagram of Kevin Youkilis
This will be the last baseball-y thing of the year. It's a look at what goes on underneath Kevin Youkilis' skin. Hope you like it, and hope you have a happy and safe time over the holidays. External link to Getting Blanked.
December 13, 2012: More typing about fandom
It's been three weeks since I set my Yankeedom free, and decided to be a Mariners fan. In those three weeks, it's been very nice having emails and Twitter messages from people on both sides. There have been a few negative comments now and again, but mostly, it's been positive.
Whenever I do anything that is out there for other people to see, there's a part of my that wants to continually georgelucas (a verb that I think we should use more) things, so that it's better, clearly, whatever. In the heat of the whole News Corp thing, I'm not sure I explained myself perfectly. I am British. I came to baseball later in life than most Americans would come to baseball. And, I have a Web site about baseball that is moderately popular. So, I accept that by publishing stuff on the Internet about the sport, I am opening myself up to criticism, both positive and negative. I'm fine with that.
One thing to understand, though, and I didn't make this clear enough, is how much easier it would have been to just chunter and moan about News Corp., and continue being a Yankee fan. That would've been so much easier. I've got used to hearing and reading what other fans think of the Yankees, and think about some of the Yankees' fans, and Yankee fans who aren't from New York. I've heard all that from the moment I became a Yankee fan. I'm not gonna complain too much about the life of a Yankee fan; they've only missed the post season once since I started following them. That's not bad going. So, despite all of that, it would've been so much easier to keep on Yankee-ing.
But fandom, the idea and practise of fandom is something a lot of people hold dear to their hearts. Whenever I have a conversation with someone who doesn't follow sports, and they talk about the oddness of investing time and emotion in something you have no control over, I always say that's exactly why I like it. If I'm sad in my personal life, somewhere along the line, I've been intimately involved in the reason for that sadness occurring. The same if I'm happy. But to have something that can provoke those emotions, and not have any actual real life consequences coming from those emotions: that to me is the joy of being a fan. Yankees win. Thaaaaaaa-aa-a-a-a-a-aaa Yankees win. And I would be happy. Yankees get swept at home by the Red Sox, and I'm grumpy. But my life goes on. There was a three hour escape from that real world, where I can care about a pinch hit single that gets the runner in from third to tie the game.
That said, I totally see the other side of things. To invest time and emotion in something you have no control over, to align yourself so strongly with the identity of a team, their other fans, their culture. It's kinda dumb, too. I don't bleed pinstripes, Dodger blue, Rockies purple, whatever. It's a professional sports team. They don't care about your happiness, they care about your money. The only reason they give any sort of shit about fans is because it means TV companies will give them money, we will buy caps, jerseys, and little teddy bears.
In these last three weeks, I've unsubscribed from a lot of Yankee blogs' RSS feeds. I wanted to cut it loose, to not follow the daily news. The only Yankee news I've heard about is when it's mentioned by people on Twitter: Russell Martin going to the Pirates, Youkilis signing a deal with the Yanks. That kind of thing. An aside: the timing kinda suck there, cos I genuinely loved Youkilis. He may not be the player he once was, but as a Yankee fan, there was a time when there was nothing scarier than a tied game at Fenway, runners on base, and Youkilis at the plate. Aside from Ortiz, he was my favourite Red Sock.
Being totally honest, it has been nice to let the hot stove stuff just slide by, only seeing the headlines, not bothering reading the rumours. I've paid a small amount of attention to the Mariners' moves, but I'm not really an M's fan yet. It's still an intellectual idea. I'm not sure I will even start to feel anything of substance for them until the games start and I'm watching 162 of them. I'm watching these moves as an outside. Jason Bay... okay. Maybe Josh Hamilton... okay. Mental note of these things. Changing teams isn't hard like a divorce or a physics PhD. But you can't force yourself to love something. It's going to take time.
One thing that does amuse me about this thing, and putting the process of choosing another team out there in public, is to imagine the reaction if the thing had been the exact opposite way around. If I'd been a Mariners fan who decided for some moral reason to root for another team. And I went through the process and decided that, yep, I'm gonna be a Yankee fan now. Can you imagine how much shit I would get for that? Sports and fandom are lovely and stupid at the same time. I try not to take it too seriously. We see sports and teams used as excuses for insults, name-calling, and sadly, horrible violence sometimes. I was talking to a friend at the weekend. His family is originally from the Basque region of Spain, and he's a fan of Athletic Bilbao. In Mexico City, there's a club where people with Basque heritage get together, eat their food, watch soccer. I've been with him a couple of times, and it's a great place. The food is delicious, and the people were very welcoming. Thousands of miles away from home, they watch soccer. But one time, there was a game between Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, also from the region. And there was, apparently, a bit of a fight between the fans. So much so, that nowadays, they don't host both sets of fans for games between the teams.
Watching sport can be an utterly delightful thing to do, but when it gets to that level... well, you've gotta check yourself before, as the song say, you wreck yourself.
November 27, 2012: Mike Trout Mask Replica
I don't need to write anything here, do I?
November 27, 2012: Terry's arms
I was double dared and triple dared by Bill Hanstock and Mauricio Rubio to digitally remove the arms and bat from an old baseball card of Terry Francona and paint them back in. How could I not do it?
November 22, 2012: Los Marineros
After a party, you have a hangover and have to clean up. Since the decision to ditch Yankee fandom, mixed in with the far greater emotions of being pissed off and sad, there's been a part of me that has enjoyed the idea of starting over. I kind of knew that the Yankees were the hated team when I went to that first game even though I knew virtually nothing about the game. But, it was a decision I made, and that bed needed lying in, and for eight seasons, I enjoyed lying in that bed very much. Now I've had my choosing-a-new-team party, though, it's time to clean up, and get back to life: a new life as a Mariners fan.
How does it work, though? Picking a new team. It's something I've not done before. In my earlier years I was very much in the you-can't-ever-change-teams camp. And to a certain extent, I still am. I doubt I could ever not support Liverpool F.C., for example. But I wasn't born in New York. Other than enjoying the city a lot on several vacations, and having a fair few friends there, I have no actual connection to the city. And following baseball came to me later in life. While I'm in no way judging people who do root for teams with a strong News Corp connection, I can't do it. If that means switching teams, so be it. Only in Vatican City and for non-Muslims in Philippines is divorce illegal.
So, the Mariners. Once the decision had been made, it felt like the right decision. Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest in generally, is the part of the United States that I feel the strongest connection with. I have felt warmness towards the Mariners; from a love of Ichiro to having a Mariners-supporting ex-wife. But I'm starting fresh. I don't know a huge amount, the ins and outs, the highs, middles, and lows, of Marinerdom. I've got the winter to do my research and get ready for Spring Training. Aside from the Griffeys, Buhners, A-Rods, Martinezs, Ichiros, and Hernandezs, all I really know of the history is that Dan Wilson was my ex-wife's favourite player.
At the same time as gaining Mariner knowledge, I will hopefully learn to love the Seattle Mariners. Right now, it's an intellectual idea in my head. If the Mariners were to play a World Series game today, I clearly would not have a big emotional investment in the outcome. And I probably won't for a while. It might feel forced for a while, too. But, hopefully, as I get to know the players better, I will start to feel like Mariners fan. The other side of that, of course, is that I have to emotionally let go of the Yankees. You don't stop loving someone if they cheat on you, you might be angry and bitter, but you can't just turn it off. I'm hoping that, with three-ish months until Spring Training, that'll be enough time to get to grips with it. I don't want to hate the current Yankees players. I want to be able to see Cano's beautiful swing and still love it. But I don't want to care about the outcome of that swing.
I want to document all of this. To try and write about the learning process and the loving process. I could just keep a journal, but I won't: it's 2012 and I already put tons of stuff on the Internet, so I might as well document this Yankees-to-Mariners stuff, too. Lastly, I understand the urge to be suspicious of someone switching teams. I didn't want to do this, but I can't live with the News Corp connection. I wouldn't enjoy myself as a Yankee fan. I love baseball too much to have that spoiling things. And I love baseball more than any one team. Having said that, it's time for Mariners baseball.
November 21, 2012: Goodbye, Yankees
It is with no small amount of sadness that due to News Corp buying into the YES Network, I feel I can no longer be a Yankees fan. And because of that, I have chosen a new team. Here's the process and the decision. External link to Getting Blanked.
November 15, 2012: Ballplayer Island
This is an idea that I've had in my head for a year or so, to draw an island with all the geographical features being the names of ballplayers.
November 11, 2012: El Toro
A wee tribute to Fernando Valenzuela, done in the stype of a Mexican craft called papel picado.
November 8, 2012: World Series game diamonds
A graphic look at what happened during the World Series. External link to Getting Blanked.
October 29, 2012: The World Series
Here's a big-ass infographic about the World Series. External link to Sports on Earth.
October 24, 2012: A season boiled down to seven games
If we boil down the 162-game season to seven games, teams are a lot closer than they might appear in the regular season standings.
October 24, 2012: Alex Rodriguez
One of the best baseball players ever. External link to Getting Blanked.
October 23, 2012: The Championship Series
Here's a big-ass infographic about the Championship Series. External link to Sports on Earth.
October 18, 2012: Divisions, 1969 to present
An animated map showing the changes in the divisions of Major League Baseball.
October 13, 2012: The Division Series
Here's a big-ass infographic about the Division Series. External link to Sports on Earth.
October 12, 2012: Every final out of the 2012 season
And every walk-off of the season, too. External link to Getting Blanked.
October 8, 2012: From A.J. Burnett to Z.H. Taylor
There have been 66 major leaguers who've used two initials as their name. Clearly, that sort of thing deserves a chart of some sort, right?
October 7, 2012: Jason Motte
A drawing of said pitcher.
October 3, 2012: If wins in the 2012 standings were years
... then these would be the presidents. This could alternatively be called the least necessary chart ever made.
October 3, 2012: The foul lines of Major League Baseball
There was recent a map featured on Deadspin that showed the infinite ballfields of America, referencing a W.P. Kinsella notion that fair territory could, theoretically, go on forever. This is something I've thought about before. I did a drawing and a wee essay in my book about such a thing. It's not true, though. Fair territory ends. The map that was featured in the Deadspin article wasn't very clear, I thought, so I did some Google Earth research of my own, and created my own version.
October 1, 2012: Regular season vs. postseason
I'm not really a fan of the playoff system, but that's my problem to deal with. What is vaguely interesting, though, is to look at how big the regular season is compared to the maximum possible postseason games. So I did. And for good measure, I also took a quick look at the other major North American sports, too.
September 30, 2012: A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork
According to Dillinger, that's the way you spell New York.
September 28, 2012: MLB uniforms update
Less than a week of the season to go, and I've finally gotten around to updating the pixelly uniforms thingy. I'm planning to do it in a more timely manner next season, and hopefully, I'll be including one-off throwbacks and stuff, too.
Eric Nusbaum and I went to Hermosillo to watch some Caribbean Series baseball. We wrote and drew about it for Sports on Earth. And, in doing so, produced some other content, too, so I've gathered all the links together, in case you wanna see everything that we did.
Exactly what the title sounds like: Lego representations of baseball players. everything that we did.
FLIP FLOP FLY BALL
An Infographic Baseball Adventure
The photo above might've tipped you off to the fact that there's a book! 160 pages of charts, drawings, essays, and a foreword by Rob Neyer. More info here.
Published by Bloomsbury USA. In stores now.
You can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.
The usual stuff:
Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr
craig AT flipflopflyin DOT com
All content © 2009-2013 Craig Robinson.
Unless otherwise noted.
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