Carson Cistulli, Closer: A Tale of Two Cistullis

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Life at Triple-A Durham has been very interesting. For starters, the Blue Jays traded RA Dickey to the Rays for Desmond Jennings. Which is completely plausible for the 65-64 Rays. The acquisition of Dickey bumped Matt Moore to the bullpen. Dickey has a 9-7 record over 169.2 IP, 105 Ks, an ERA of 3.77, and a WHIP of 1.33. Matt Moore has a 6-8 record over 121.1 IP, 105 Ks, an ERA of 3.77, and a WHIP of 1.44.

WE WANT A PENNANT, DAMN IT.

Triple C has not exactly had the best start for the Bulls, though. Consider his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde first two games:

Triple C’s first game in Triple-A:
Knights batting. Cistulli pitching.
Davidson hit by pitch.
Davidson reached 2nd on wild pitch.
Coats doubled and deflected off centerfielder Mahtook, Davidson scores.
Eveland in bullpen.
Sanchez grounded out to Hager (6-3).
Rottino grounded to center for a single, Coats scores.
Markel in bullpen.
Parrino flied out to Motter (F7).
Lemon chopped to the pitcher for a single, Rottino advances to 2nd.
May flied out to Mahtook (F8).

Triple C’s second game in Triple-A:
Braves batting. Cistulli pitching.
Tuiasosopo struck out chasing a fastball high and away.
Landoni struck out chasing an outside slider.
Kennelly flied out to Mahtook (F8).

Well, which one is it?! Make up your mind! That’s baseball, I suppose.

We also received a new email from the very catty General Manager:

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Album Review: “Bitter Agony” by Rasmus

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Let’s play a quick word association game. What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “baseball music”? “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? Walk-up music? Others will mention John Forgerty’s “Centerfield” without any hesitation. Perhaps the more in-the-know will mention Bronson Arroyo’s “Covering the Bases” or Joe West’s “Blue Cowboy.” But we’d bet our bottom dollar that death metal would be pretty close to last on your list of responses.

So, brace yourselves. Houston Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus is taking the music world by storm with his first foray into death metal.

And it is excellent.

“A lot of the guys didn’t believe me when I told them what kind of music it was gonna be,” Rasmus admitted with a smile. “I’m a Georgia boy through and through. It don’t take long to figure that out when you talk to me. But my musical roots are all over the place.”

Colby provides vocals for Rasmus, and the band is made up of close friends of his from his childhood in Georgia. “We’d kicked around the idea for a while. It wasn’t until I hit the DL for my cyst when we finally said, hey, let’s get this thing done.”

Death metal is a subgenre of heavy metal. Beware, as the album is not for the feint of heart and is a dramatic shift away from even traditional heavy metal. “Bitter Agony” is filled with break-neck guitar speeds and Rasmus’ practically unintelligible yells.  Comparisons could be made to Puig Destroyer, a grindcore supergroup that writes songs centered around Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. “It ain’t for everybody,” Rasmus laughed.

Rasmus kept the project close to his chest because he fears that teammates would take it the wrong way. “It’s not about the Astros or how we’re doing. It’s a commentary on human struggle and the apathy of the world around us,” Rasmus clarified. He told no one on the team about the album until its release last week. “It’s too rough to be played as walk-up music or during games, but we’ve been doing warmups with it on. The guys really dig it.”

The four song EP, which barely cracks ten total minutes, has drawn rave reviews and universal acclaim from every nook and cranny of music journalism. Pitchfork rated it a 9.3 out of 10 and gave it the “Best New Music” classification, praising the album’s ‘masterful fusion of musical styles and ‘apoplectic wall of sound that lunges for your throat.’ The album opens with a thunderous cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Rude Mood”, which most listeners would only recognize if they read the track listing.

“If anything, I’d like the album to challenge what a conventional ballplayer is. We’re very unique individuals with a wide spectrum of interests,” Rasmus commented. “There ain’t a single lyric about baseball in the whole EP. This is a separate deal for me, and I think it’s got something for everyone.”

“Bitter Agony” is out today on Southern Lord Records. Find it here.

Track list:
1. Rude Mood (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover)
2. Bitter Agony
3. Obscene Apathy
4. Ominous Clouds

Carson Cistulli, Closer: Montgomery Biscuits Clip Show

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That’s odd. I don’t recall putting on Bull Durham. And Kevin Costner sure looks peculiar.

OH, WAIT. THAT’S JUST OUR DIGITAL FRIEND CARSON CISTULLI, CLOSER.

Our beloved beast has been promoted to Triple A Durham. You read that correctly. The Biscuit days are behind us as the hottest digital sensation in one of the most controversial digital seasons in recent digital memory is now one digital step away from his digital Major League Baseball debut.

GOOD RIDDANCE, ADAM KOLAREK. GOOD RIDDANCE, 8TH INNING.

I guess they knew what they were doing after all. As Adam Kolarek crashes and burns as the Biscuits’ closer, Triple C gets the call-up. The people decreed that there shall be no groveling for playing time. We didn’t need to ask for a workload increase. Good things come to those who wait. And groveling was beneath Triple C as he strolled in hot to Durham, North Carolina.

It is worth pointing out that, presumably as a holdover from the Wacky Joe Maddon era, the second baseman stands on the mound as Triple C winds up in Durham as well. That digital treat made the digital leap from digital Double A as well. (It will also get hairy now that Triple C is in Triple A. Please be wary of the letters following “Triple” because I’ve already confused myself a few times.)

Many baseball fans are actually unaware of Bull Durham because of its extremely loose connection to the sport and the abundance of films about baseball. Without spoiling anything, a young flamethrower navigates minor league life with the Durham Bulls with the guidance of a voluptuous temptress. Now, this sounds far too familiar. Is Triple C’s call-up life imitating art? Or perhaps digital art imitating digital life? Who will be his temptress?

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Power Rankings: The Best Nickname-Based Walk-Up Songs of All-Time

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Walk-up songs give you a momentary yet monumental view into a player’s soul and mind, perhaps triggering a connection that you otherwise would not have made as a spectator. I recall learning that John Axford would have “New Noise” by Refused play every time he ran out from the bullpen. It was a moment that proved to me that baseball players were, in fact, humans that don’t all exclusively listen to Florida Georgia Line.

A lot of fun can be had perusing Baseball-Reference’s nickname tracker. Did you know that Bill Tomb was known as the Chinese Bandit in the 1960s? I’m not even remotely certain that I know what that means. If I was to hazard a guess, I would imagine that a remarkable level of racism went into that creation. Current Red Sox star Travis Shaw is known as the Mayor of Ding Dong City. Some are genuinely confusing. Why would Eugene Moore be called Deerfoot AND Lucille? Why would Ronald May be nicknamed Tri-Pod?

Using meticulous research and advanced sabermetrics, we have identified the top ten nickname-based walk-up songs of all-time.

HONORABLE MENTION
Bob Oakley – Valuable Blonde

Oakley was blessed with one of the most unique nicknames in the history of Major League Baseball, but with that blessing comes the most unfortunate curse. While no tune goes by that exact title, plenty of songs discuss the value of blondes, both male and female, at explicit length. Oakley gets and loses points for both an abundance of songs about valuable blondes and no single song about valuable blondes.

HONORABLE MENTION
John Reigar – Milkshake

Barring a government conspiracy greater than any of us could imagine, I was not present on the night that John Reigar was gifted the nickname of Milkshake. I, therefore, cannot speculate on its seemingly nonexistent origins. What I can tell you is that Milkshake strikes about as much fear in me as a loaf of bread. And to be clear, I love bread. The divisive split between adoration and lamentation of Kelis’ “Milkshake” prevents Reigar from making the cut.

HONORABLE MENTION
Dozens of Players – Shorty

Seriously, there are like a million guys nicknamed Shorty. Apparently, it was a thing to be as uncreative as possible. 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” is an inclusive positive statement to all, which both hurts and helps its cause to crack the top ten. It misses the cut because I’ve heard it like a billion times (999,999,997 times of which not by choice) and man it gets old. Question, if a batter nicknamed Shorty faces a pitcher nicknamed Shorty and this song is played for Shorty’s walk to the plate, who benefits from the brief mental spark that it might actually be their birth month and day?

HONORABLE MENTION
Marty Marion – The Octopus

Marty Marion’s decision to use iconic children’s musicians the Wiggles’ Henry the Octopus is the very definition of making a statement. We just aren’t sure what it is. Is it purposefully ironic? Is it his own subtle way of reminding his children how much he loves them? Or, perhaps, the most obvious choice, he simply loses his mind getting amped up to this song. Who could blame him? This audio masterpiece certainly cracks your humble author’s top three favorite songs of this list.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s top ten list.

10. BRANDON BARNES
POSITION & TEAM: Colorado Rockies, OF
NICKNAME: Superman
WALK-UP SONG: “Superman” by Goldfinger Continue reading

Carson Cistulli, Setup Man: Criminally Insane

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Oh, hey, how’s it going? How was your All-Star Break? That good, huh? Glad to hear it.

Mine? Oh, you know, same old thing. Made it to the All-Star Game and didn’t get to pitch. Came into the 8th innning a lot during tied games. Which is funny because, y’know, I’m a closer. Inexplicably missed six games in a row. Navigated around McCarthy, who still stands on the mound during my warm-up pitches.

I thought we were doing pretty well. Locked down the closer’s role before the All-Star Game, lights-out during a simulated game, named player of the game for the first time all season on a 5-3 victory over the Tennessee Smokies. I mean, we did have a rough outing. 0.2 IP, one HR allowed when Triple C was brought in to a 9-9 tied game in the 10th inning. But that was just one game and shouldn’t have an impact on Triple C’s role given his excellent season, right?

WRONG!

Carson Cistulli, Closer is now Carson Cistulli, Setup Man. He’s been usurped by Adam Kolarek, a 27-year-old  with a 5.17 ERA that is inferior to Triple C in every feasible way. Who in the Tampa Bay Rays organization suggested that usurping their wunderkind lights-out All-Star superlative-laden hurler of the sphere with Adam Kolarek?!

The worst part is, it came via email.

In Triple C’s digital mailbox, a digital message from digital manager read as follows:

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Carson Cistulli, Closer: America the Biscuitful

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What does the 4th of July mean to you? Is it a symbol of the idyllic life we all once led? Is it a testimony to the beautiful, diverse world that exists within our fifty states? Is it a vexing complication of mangled civil rights repackaged as a drunken barbecue littered with “Back-to-Back World War Champs” trucker hats, nostalgia for “the Griffey days” and bottle rockets?

To the digital Montgomery Biscuits, it is just another meaningless digital day. They did not celebrate digital Independence Day with any digital uniform changes or digital in-game tributes. Whether in protest of the current digital political climate or the reprehensible annual digital Hot Dog Eating contest, the Biscuits stood their ground.

Our beloved Triple C stood his ground as well, to some degree. In a gregarious rejection of pitching strategy, he threw back-to-back-to-back backdoor Cistulliballs to get a strikeout. It is also worth mentioning that Carson Cistulli, Closer has not made a single defensive play all season. After coming in with a 12-2 lead after making the All-Star team, Triple C declined to play any sort of digital defense whatsoever. Routine dribblers back to the pitcher are dismissively avoided. Teammates’ errors are, well, teammates’ errors, and no responsibility to our fair closer.

But, as Waka Flocka Flame warned in his 2011 masterpiece “Karma”, “Yeah, karma coming back around. You know I’m not backing down.”

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Carson Cistulli, Closer: All That Glitters is Gold

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Let’s set the scene. It’s the year 2001. America is fresh out of the Y2K scare and amidst the summer of Ichiro. You’ve been invited to a pool party in Torrance, CA. You don’t know the hosts, but the idea of spending a California summer day drinking poolside and eating mediocre barbecue sure sounds nice.

But when you arrive, you immediately know this isn’t your average pool party. Cars are lined up and down the street, and you have to park two streets over. As you approach the house, you see some of the most vibrant colors that you have ever seen. Whoever decorated this party is a master of their craft. While you marinate on the idea of setting up your eventual wedding reception in a similar fashion, you are jarred by the comedy royalty sitting at the table. That’s Ben Stiller. William H. Macy. Janeane Garofalo. Paul Reubens. Hank Azaria. And, oh my god, is that Kel Mitchell?!

Before you get a chance to begin to process the company in front of you and the opportunities that could unfold this fateful afternoon, you are pushed out of the way by a psychotic Dane Cook holding what appears to be a waffle iron.

But your anger quickly subsides when you hear the next song blaring on the speakers. It’s a calming voice. “SOMMMMEBODY ONCE TOLD ME”, it croons, making it impossible for you to ignore. You start tapping your toes. And next thing you know, Steve Harwell and co. are there playing their hearts out.

That is the memory we replay in our hearts with the following news:

It is with unbridled joy that we join in celebration of our beautiful Frankenstein’s most monumental accolade to date: being named to the Southern League All-Star Team.
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Carson Cistulli, Closer: Piece by Piece

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You, the people, decreed that Carson Cistulli, Closer’s pre-game ritual is no longer a super elite and inexplicably complicated handshake loaded with Emil Cioran references. After all, why would he interact with lowly Double A buffoons? It never made sense from the start. You also decided that pre-game workouts are horrifically unnecessary for Triple C. Even sunflower seeds were “too corporate”, as a formal denouncing of the sunflower as the Scott Stapp of shell and seed cost Triple C an undisclosed fine.

Frito Lay is the official sunflower seed (yes, actually) of Major League Baseball (and comes in MANY delicious flavors available at MANY fine retailers near you). Much like how the real-life Roger Goodall handles NFL players attempting tributes to their mothers, the digital MLB does not take kindly to any behavior that threatens lucrative digital endorsement deals. Despite the recent MLB trend of wastefully dumping large quantities of perfectly good Frito Lay sunflower seeds all over the ground in a post-game celebration, Triple C felt the wrath of the digital MLB legal team.

So, in a surprise to very few, Carson Cistulli, Closer now begins a pre-game ceremony not unlike a visit to Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room. We just hope his rendition is a bit more “culturally appropriate.”

He switched to the tiki for the advertised extra luck. You could blame what happened on the tiki, but that would be downright unfair.

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Carson Cistulli, Closer: Trapped in Biscuit Purgatory

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Ah, yes. The joys of summer. Memorial Day is already behind us, and the MLB season roars ahead past the 1/3rd mark. Can you believe it? Those of us young enough to enjoy the carefree June and July months find ourselves immersed in seemingly endless baseball, fireworks, and Kid Rock’s greatest hits on the radio. And those of us in the real world find ourselves indifferent and oblivious to a new calendar month, worrying about cholesterol levels, and masterminding plausible excuses to postpone imminent yardwork.

As the working world reclines in above-ground pools daydreaming about summer days not unlike ones described in Grammy Award-winning Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “1st of Tha Month”, Carson Cistulli, Closer lives them. Digitally. That is, if you were to replace Bizzy, Wish, Layzie, Krayzie, and Flesh-n’s various forms of drug dealing with “hurling Cistulliballs” and “isolating yourself from your teammates in the clubhouse after the game.” Which we will. Never no shorts and no losses. It’s the Triple C way.

So cash your checks and get up as we check in on our favorite digital flamethrower via the link below.
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Carson Cistulli, Closer: How it Feels to Suffer

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Don’t let the deceptive rebranding fool you. This is a continuation of the thus-far wildly successful Banknotes Industries crowdsourced MLB 16: The Show Road to the Show involving Carson Cistulli, Closer.

Sorry for the delay, but Banknotes Harper hosted a contest where one author could win a trip to an all-expenses-paid writer’s camp to network with other famous sportswriters (they call him Banknotes for a reason). I won, but instead of attending, I was able to parlay the admission into a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas wherein I spent two weeks drinking codeine syrup over ice and eating Triple Cheese Double Bacon Chili Cheese Dogs I smuggled in from Weinerschnitzel.

But as I hunted for extra Jolly Ranchers and Sprite, I encountered many gentlemen and soldiers who informed me that the captain was ill and needed a back rub. As I rolled my eyes and scurried back to my room, I found myself overwhelmed with new ideas and new subjects to write about.

That’s enough of that for now. Our dear friend Carson Cistulli, Closer has been very active.

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