About Bradley Woodrum

Known internet-wide for making love to the English language with an alleged lover of multimedia on the sly, Bradley Woodrum has writing credits ranging from FanGraphs and The Hardball Times to DRaysBay and the men's handicap stall in the Council Building at Jacksonville University.

Top 5 MLB Stories Heading into the Playoffs

Capture1. Who will win the AL East?
There’s a tight four-team competition for the AL East, with only the Rays knocked out of contention. With the current leader — Boston — finishing the season with series in Toronto and New York, the division may not be won until the final game of the season.

2. Can Daniel Murphy stay hot in the playoffs?
In the 2015 post-season, Daniel Murphy hit an astounding 7 homers in just 14 games. That offensive explosion has carried over into the 2016 regular season and has earned the Pride of Jacksonville University serious MVP consideration.

3. Can the Cubs break the all-time win record?
With 93 wins and only 17 games left, can the Cubs break the 2001 Seattle Mariners’ record of 116 wins in a single season? Joe Maddon recently said, “No, that’s not mathematically possible.” But that’s not likely to stop them from trying. Stay tuned!

4. Will Tebow arrive in time to save the Mets’ season?
Ten games behind the Nationals and stinging from the departure of JU alum Daniel Murphy, the Mets could really use a 30-year-old broadcaster-turned-outfielder who hasn’t played baseball since high school. Manager Terry Collins has intimated over the past week that the team plans to have him play two-ways, both offense and defense, though it is unclear whether he will be expected to run the option while hitting.

5. Yankees fans expected to start paying attention soon!
As the season winds down, New York fans are beginning to awaken from their year-long abstinence from actually caring about baseball to check on how the Yankees are doing in the playoffs. According to ESPN, if the Yankees fans awaken and don’t see the Yankees in the playoffs, then the MLB post-season will end early, and the NFL football season will be in full swing. But if the Yankees see a playoff team, then the MLB postseason will be long and bloated and overfull with documentaries about Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, and not about how uneven wealth is definitely ruining baseball.

Can’t wait!

A Look Back: Baseball in the All-Star Wars Era

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While distant galaxies a long, long time ago were fighting inner-galactic wars, here in the Milky Way, the All-Star Wars were just beginning. Long, long before genetically-engineered vatman “Roy Hobbs” hit a game-defining homer, long, long before Carl Crawford robbed a home run, or Fred Lynn hit a grand slam, the Okrimus Solar System was engaged in a fierce war over who would host the All-Star Game, the Okrimus home planet (Okrimus), the Plenner home planet (Plenn), or the National League (primordial Earth).

Here are the top ten moments from that fierce, bloody war:
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1921-07-31

Bless me Lord, with surging vengeance on those that might someday harm me.

Bless me Lord, with surging vengeance on those that might someday harm me.

Oh Lord, deliver me from George Herman.
He’s on deck and twirling a pair of sticks.
He’s watching me pitch. Watching, then spits.
Oh Lord, I walked Peckinpaugh,
Ruth is there standing tall —
Oh Lord, protect me from physical harm,
let this ball hit Sewell
or Wambsganss at second.
Strike them dead, Lord,
but in thy mercy consider my children
and my third and future wives.
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Ichiro Again

Japanese card.

Japanese card.

Somewhere in that swirling haze
between nighttime Advil and the alarm clock,
I was thinking about your father
and his failing health.
To be a healthy, normal man one day —
to be a personality and a story,
a guy with long-honed skills,
a guy who knew how to use a tablesaw well —
to be the guy who carried the family history,
who knew how great-grandpa’s voice sounded —

to be that and then not that —

Ichiro, burn brighter,
reach higher.
There’s a whole universe
out there to challenge.
Find bubbling planets
of plasmic goo,
teach them sport,
then beat them blue.

Ichiro, like a solar flare,
like a blast of energy,
go and go and go.
Like a heartbeat,
like a recovered heartbeat,
the downs mean only more ups,
a new peak,
a second career,
a hope upon hope upon hope.

(I dreamt your father recovered,
like my grandfather did.
I dreamt that when they pulled out the tube,
he could talk again.)

Ichiro forever, and when you’re done,
do it again.

Joey Rickard Analysis Poem

The early morning flowers are the first eaten by the post-apocalyptic bird-monsters.

The early morning flowers are the first eaten by the post-apocalyptic bird-monsters.

Athleticism has known bounds
when you and I were pressed together
in that Parisian bus,
jostling — crowded — down some historic rue.
Our eyes locked on each other,
I draw my arm around your waste,
and you helpless, hands full of luggage,
could only watch as I felt around
for your wallet, Mr. Meinke.

— he can’t hit,
he can’t field,
he had one good week —

It’s my stop, but I’ve already crossed
a major barrier of decency,
of civility, of civilization.
I can’t go back now,
I reach with my other hand
and check the other old man cheek.
The wallet must be in luggage,
the damn luggage.

— for an amphitheater of Rays fans,
the Orioles don a beret and striped shirt,
and mime the part of Meinke’s thief
on a crowded bus.

Pepper Martin Don’t Care

Pepper Martin once ate ten salmon steaks in between innings, and you think he cares to hear about your bellyaching?

Pepper Martin once ate ten salmon steaks in between innings, and you think he cares to hear about your bellyaching?

Pepper Martin don’t care that you got a blister on your throwing finger. He don’t care that you’ve got a bit of clay in your eye. Pepper Martin dislocated his shoulder and still hit a double. He ran into a wall and the wall spit him back, but nary a complaint found Pepper Martin’s tongue.

Onward, then, into the brick wall! Into the unbending clay! Overtop the pebbled infield!

Adorn thyself in dirt and grass, a crown of dust and sweat!

My sunroof has a leak and it just rains, rains, rains. (Pepper Martin don’t care.) I tell strangers — I look out the window forlornly and I tell the Asian woman wandering around the office with an empty coffee cup, I tell her: “My sunroof is leaking.”

She chuckles and hesitates and mutters, oh, realizing I’m talking about the old green Buick in the parking lot, and then she slips back into her meeting like water slipping into the interior of my green 1991 Buick Park Avenue, and a whole dimension away, Pepper Martin is cranking those ivory rain levers over and over and over.

He’s not laughing; he’s mirthless. He’s as solemn as a ground-rule double. He’s cranking the rain levers and I’m telling Joe, “I’ll be driving home with a soggy bottom today.”

Pepper Martin don’t care. If he did care, he could only care about toughening me up, raining me into either a sloppy oblivion or a hardened, weathered, All Star third baseman, like a chiseled stone revealed after the mud is washed away, the obsidian statue to me, hidden until a mudslide of trouble washed it clean.

Oh, Randy Johnson, Have Pity on Your Home Planet

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord, forget us not in this moment of certain doom.

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord, forget us not in this moment of certain doom.

For heaven’s sake —
the heavens rain
down and out another
doubleheader.
It’s not the first but
the third time
in three weeks.
I know the scent
of acrid chemicals
overbubbling
God’s cosmic stove.
He has a plan,
and he won’t tell me
because he knows I’ll
kick my stubby little legs
at the stew pot.
The rains clear up
and we lose
one-to-three
both games.

He’s six-foot-mullet,
and he’s ready for the first pitch.
May it miss a galactic dove,
may it keep us somehow spiraling
’round that orange warm blot in the sky.
Oh Randy Johnson, have pity
not just for us but for the birds.
Throw a change
and give us a chance.

RESULTS: Reds or Sweet Potatoes?

Starting left fielder Terrance Williams is so off the radar that few readers would notice if I called him a completely made up name like Terrance Williams.

Starting left fielder Terrance Williams is so off the radar that few readers would notice if I called him a completely made up name like Terrance Williams.

Given this list of persons:

  1. I. Williams
  2. K. Waldrop
  3. Y. Rodriguez
  4. P. Magness
  5. J. Winker
  6. T. Jones
  7. G. Leavitt
  8. J. Cave
  9. C. Keefover
  10. S. Tisdale
  11. A. Duvall
  12. C. Schneider
  13. S. Schebler
  14. K. Johnson

I challenged the BNI commentariat to identify actual members of the Reds left field depth chart. Here are the results:

#3 is sort of a gimme, as there is very little chance anybody living in Eastgate has the surname Rodriguez.

-Casey Singer

Eastgate is not a location, but the name of my church. However, you are correct in that Yorman Rodriguez is indeed a member of the Reds organization. But you are also maybe a little racist.

1 out of 6 for a point total of: 1 WET HAMBURGER

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Reds or Sweet Potatoes?

Starting left fielder Terrance Williams is so off the radar that few readers would notice that if I called him a completely made up name like Terrance Williams.

Starting left fielder Terrance Williams is so off the radar that few readers would notice that if I called him a completely made up name like Terrance Williams.

In the recent FanGraphs Left Field Positional Power Rankings article, author Neil Weinberg confessed:

…I couldn’t pick a single member of the Reds left field possibilities out of a lineup. This reads like a list of fake names a baseball video game would generate to fill out the low minors rosters.

Now it is up to you, dear friends, to guess which names are names of professional members of the Cincinnati Reds baseball franchise and which names belong to my softball team, the Eastgate Sweet Potatoes:

  1. I. Williams
  2. K. Waldrop
  3. Y. Rodriguez
  4. P. Magness
  5. J. Winker
  6. T. Jones
  7. G. Leavitt
  8. J. Cave
  9. C. Keefover
  10. S. Tisdale
  11. A. Duvall
  12. C. Schneider
  13. S. Schebler
  14. K. Johnson

Write your answers in number form below and I will assign you a random denomination of points.

EXAMPLE: “1, 2, 3, and 4 is my guess! God, I hate the blasse-ness of the Reds.” -Joe Internet