SnakePit Round Table: Into the Diamondbacks Off-Season

World Series "celebrations" in San Francisco. Stay classy, Giants fans...

With the dispatch of the Rangers by the Giants, the 2010 season is officially over, and the off-season begins. What will our team be doing during the "dark ages" of baseball? That's the topic for this week's round-table. Well, it actually started off with a question about who we wanted to win the World Series, but that seems kind pointless given the swift demolition of Texas. The only reply worth preserving there is probably Wailord, who said, "Like much everyone else, was completely banking on and rooting for Texas. As Kishi noted, "Well, now we know why Texas lost..."

Rest of our off-season plans are after the jump...

 

When asked what he does during the winter, Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby famously replied, "I stare out the window and wait for spring." What are your plans this off-season?

Kishi: It’s winter in Phoenix! It’s the time of year when you can enjoy the weather outdoors for once! Or so people tell me. Personally, I’ll probably stick with my standard plan- read a lot, watch some movies, play some video games. I gotta finish Final Fantasy XII at some point, right?

Azreous: It’s winter in Flagstaff! It’s the time of year when you enjoy not going outside ever. Unfortunately, it’ll be about the same plan as before: Work, the occasional hike when it’s above 50 degrees, and the warm, comforting glow of a 50-inch plasma.

IHSB: Staring out of the window and waiting for spring... well, mostly the windows of my classrooms, but it’s the same idea.  I’ll be skittishly waiting for Minor League Ball’s, Baseball Prospectus’, and Baseball America’s top prospect lists, for Arizona and all of baseball.  Those will be some good days once those bad boys start filtering through.  Also, Kishi, I’ve finished FFVII like three times.  Pfffft.  Sephiroth = Pwned N00b.

Kishi: IHSB, I hope those fancy classes you’re ignoring aren’t about Roman numerals. Or reading comprehension. VII and XII aren’t the same number. Geeeeez.

emily: I will continue to be annoyed by my online classes, have more annoyance with trying to register for classes, and then be really really happy if I can get a car before pitchers and catchers report. (Hear that, Phil? No more of me asking for rides!) Maybe I’ll actually pay attention to my classes...including that weird group project (seriously. a group project for an online class.)

DbacksSkins: Awesome! You still want me to inspect when you go look?

IHSB: Kishi, I’m more concerned with the state of my eyesight now...  woops.jpg [sic] (yea, I put my spin on it).  Sephiroth is still a pwned N00b, though.

Kishi: Son, I was breeding Gold Chocobos and laying Materia-fueled beatdowns on Sephiroth back before you were learning long division.

Jim: Moving house. Yes, inevitably, it’s taking longer than expected. We originally thought we’d easily be in for Halloween. Now, it’s Thanksgiving. If we’re lucky. Catching up on movies will also take place, and I’ve got some projects for my other websites I want to get taken care of before my time is once again vacuumed up by the Diamondbacks.

soco: I don’t have to long for baseball because I’ll be actually playing it for nearly the entirety of the offseason.  Other than that, it’ll be the usual demons for me: work, school, the occasional book or movie.

snakecharmer: I absolutely love that quote, Jim, it used to be my main LJ icon. Hey maybe this off-season I’ll finally finish that stat-keeping web app I keep talking about. ::looks at workload:: Hmmmm....... I don’t know. For me, work and soccer!

DbacksSkins: Work, watching Wildcats and Redskins football, not using Twitter at all, playing vintage base ball, um... dunno. Got one big trip planned, to Russia next month to visit my brother, who will have just finished his semester there. Probably doing more fishing.

Actually, "playing vintage base ball" should probably be "losing". Clefo and I lost 20-6 to kishi’s team on Saturday.

Kishi: I’m sure you guys will get better. Kind of rough to start off your season against the defending league champions.

Wailord: I’ll be very preoccupied with school, which is probably significantly less interesting than everyone else. I’ll probably play around with programming again, too. Like I said, boring...

How will you get your baseball fix from now till the Cactus League starts, or are you going to go cold turkey?

Kishi: My normal off-season plan involves getting my baseball fix from my PS2, but I’ve got a new addition this year- vintage baseball. Our season kicks off (kicked off, since you’re likely reading this in the future) on October 30 in Tucson, and there are games every week or two into March, so that’ll be a big help. It’s a lot of fun to watch, so I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking to get their fix. I’m on the Prospectors, and the Saguaros and Gophers both have some Snakepitters on them, too. Schedules are up at arizonavintagebaseball.com, and we play games across the Valley and in Tucson. (End Plug)

Azreous: Sign me up for the video game fix too. The MLB: The Show franchise is terrific, and I’ll be pouring time into it on the PS3. Plus, it has the added bonus of letting me make the Diamondbacks better than they actually are, and not having hand center commercials in between innings.

IHSB: I need to get into MLB: The Show, in a big way.  But mostly, I need to get back to the US to play it.  I think all of the prospect sites will keep me out of full-force, cold-turkey withdrawal.

emily: I’ll probably catch a few vintage games, maybe make a run up to Phoenix for some AFL ball. I will definitely be spending some time at the batting cages, because the weather is actually tolerable from now til March.

Jim: I go cold turkey. That way, baseball seems fresh and interesting again by the time March comes around, and I’ve had enough of watching movies with titles like Lunatic Frog Women. Watch the link and you’ll know why, come spring, I’ll be desperate for the games to begin.

soco: As noted by kishi, I’ll be spending my time playing vintage baseball.  I’ll be on the Glendale Gophers, who will hopefully run the table and be the champs.  I could never get the hang of baseball video games, so that’s not going to happen.  I will be reading a few baseball books, though, as part of the Snakepit Book-A-Thon.

snakecharmer: Count me in for reading baseball books too! I don’t have time to play much Wii, and when I do I go old-skool like SMB1 or 3 or Zelda. I am excited for all the baseball trades and signings to start happening, I guess that’s my baseball fix.

DbacksSkins: Playing vintage base ball for the Tucson Saguaros. As noted, soco and kishi are also on league teams. Clefo joins me on the Saguaros, while BattleMoses also plays on the Gophers with soco. I believe other Snakepitters are in the league, as well?

emily: Oh yeah, baseball books!

Kishi: Our other Snakepitter in the vintage league is Marionette, who plays on the Prospectors with me. Don’t know if there’s anyone else out there, but I’m sure they can mention it in the comments.

Wailord: I’m hoping I can start playing softball again soon (don’t hate). Past that, I may read a bit, and I’ll still keep up to date with the articles around the Internet. It won’t be long before the hot stove heats up, either.

Do you follow any other sports or teams?

Kishi: I’m a Broncos fan, but I don’t follow the team as fanatically as I used to.

Azreous: It’s been well-documented, but I’m still a Suns fan first. So without question, they’ll be getting the bulk of my attention in the winter months. I’m also trying to get myself back into hockey; I used to watch it a ton, back in the late-’90s, but the lockout crushed my interest until a couple years ago. Now that the Coyotes have a young, exciting core, it might be enough incentive to jump back in again.

Kishi: Yeah, I want to get into hockey, too. I figure I need something to fill those long, dark winter months.

IHSB: The Suns, kinda.  Not really.

emily: mehhhhhhhh. I feel like I should get into hockey. Or something. I take that back. I kinda marginally follow Wildcat football. Hard not to, considering I work in a hotel that fills up with out of town fans almost every home game.

soco: As my poor wife can attest, there are always more sports for me to watch.  In football I’ll be watching the Bills and the Sun Devils, unfortunately.  I imagine there will be quite a bit of NBA and Sun Devils basketball, though I don’t really care that much for any specific NBA team.  I guess I’ll watch the Suns as default, but I’m just as likely to watch a Thunder game.  I like hockey, and am trying to support the Coyotes.  They make it difficult by not being consistently on TV and being in the dreaded West Valley.  If there’s time after that, I’ll watch any Euro-league soccer that might be on.

Jim: Nope. Vague interest in the Coyotes, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full game on TV. NFL and NBA might as well not exist. I’d probably go to roller-derby, if my new shift didn’t mean I work Saturday evenings.

soco: But, Jim?  What about FOOTERBALL??

snakecharmer: I watch the 49ers (sorry, kishi! although not really) and whoever’s on tv and not annoying me at the time. My teammates are all Sharks fans, but I just can’t get into it.

DbacksSkins: Salpointe Lancers, Arizona Wildcats and Washington Redskins in football. Georgetown Hoyas in college basketball. In terms of the local teams, I’m a casual Wildcats basketball and Phoenix Suns fan, and the Cardinals are my second NFL team. Hockey? Coyotes, I guess, but jinnah is trying to make me be a Capitals fan. I have a feeling I’ll be dragged to a few Suns games this season, (starting this Friday) because my sister splurged this year and bought season tickets. (She’s a HUGE fan -- and WILL have tickets for sale, since she can’t go during the week. Hint, hint)

Wailord: I’m a pretty big Steelers fan. To a lesser extent, I’m a Suns fan, too. I was a basketball fan before football, but I drifted away from the sport as soon as I discovered the awesomeness that is the NFL. The Steelers are the one team I have that I can actually be disappointed and surprised at when they lose. Woo (I think)!

Now there’s no more Diamondbacks games, what will you watch on TV?

Kishi: Lotta Food Network, likely. Other than that, some Chuck, some Castle, some Community. I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, I find, but I have a terrible tendency to just leave it on for background noise.

Azreous: Chuck. Nice choice. With fall in full swing, I’ll be watching House, Burn Notice, and still running through classics on the DVR like Whose Line is it Anyway and Wheel of Fortune. By the way, I’m a destroyer of worlds in Wheel of Fortune. Never challenge me.

IHSB: Scrubs, if it’s ever on, and lots of movies.  Not much else, really.

emily: Netflix. We started watching Pushing Daisies, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, Louie, and Weeds...will probably try to get into Mad Men too.

Dan, what do you mean "if it’s ever on"? Seems like that’s the only thing that’s ever on, here.

soco: Sports always come first for me.  The only scripted shows I consistently watch anymore are Gossip Girl, Mad Men (but the season just finished), and Caprica (which just got cancelled).  So I’m really down to just Gossip Girl, which really isn’t as fun as it used to be.  I guess I need a new show to get into, but luckily I have plenty of NBA to watch.

Jim: Fringe, Dexter, Nikita, MI-5 and The Event are the currently-scheduled shows for the Tivo, with The Walking Dead about to join them. It’ll mostly be movies though. I have a vague project to watch every film the Hammer studio ever made; got through about 20 to date, but it’ll probably be best if I take a break. There are only so many mummy movies a man can take. Really.

Kishi: mrskishi supports your project, Jim- I believe her exact words were "Awesome, I believe that is the best project he could possibly do."

snakecharmer: Wait, do I really have to say all the embarrassing shows I watch? Well, the cool ones are Castle and Bones. I also watch White Collar, Burn Notice, and Psych, whenever they return. I need to catch up on Gossip Girl, The Good Wife, and The Mentalist - those shows all premiered when baseball was still on so they’ve just sat on the DVR. What’s usually on my tv is XM Radio, though. Or SONIC TAP whatever it’s called now. That’s the easiest to just put on the tv and work.

DbacksSkins: As is well-documented, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (new and reruns) and Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns. I also watch MythBusters and Dirty Jobs and, occasionally, various other shows on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Science Channel, and Military Channel. Sometimes SyFy, Food Network, or Travel Channel. I also watch PBS.

Wailord: Well, definitely not Desperate Housewives. I know that for sure. I’ll probably rewatch Lost here in a few weeks. Past that, there really aren’t a ton of TV shows I watch. I used to love Heroes, Chuck, and 24, but I felt all of them got real lame (and probably most would agree on Heroes), and 24 ended a while back. I tried watching The Event, but lost interest fairly quick. Stupid ads hyping it as a Lost replacement...

What non-baseball websites do you frequent that you want to recommend?

Azreous: I mostly just wanted to beat kishi to the punch here. My sports recommendation is Basketbawful, which chronicles (in hilarious fashion) the worst that basketball has to offer. It’s more for fans of the sport, but even the casual watcher will get something out of it. For regular stuff, I’ll put a link up to one of the best comics on the Web, even though I’m confident a number of people here already read it: xkcd.

Kishi: Azreous! Okay, done with the fist-shaking. I’ll tell you, though, that dude types pretty fast. Uh, non-baseball websites? What are those? I suspect many of the non-sports sites I hit are for particular niches- io9 is a favorite for sci-fi news, Echo Bazaar is a pretty weird little game that I find really entertaining for some reason, and I read way too many webcomics to even bother assaulting you with a list of them.

Azreous: I tell you, 130+ words a minute gets the job done. If I ever had the interest, I could crush GDT numbers and make Skins’ overall post count cry.

DbacksSkins: Bring it sometime. ;-)

IHSB: My bookmarked pages (in left-to-right order of vague importance): Facebook, E-Mail, Snakepit, DBBP, BA, BP, MLBTR, Winter League Stats for D-backs-owned players, Twitter, Futurebacks, D-Blog, Official Yakima Bears page, Official South Bend SilverHawks page, Official Visalia Rawhide page, Official Mobile BayBears page, Official Reno Aces page, The Onion, and the Daily AFL Scoreboard.  Sooooo....... Facebook and The Onion?  Lots of YouTube, as well.  Also... http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kitty_pet (So getting this poster for LadySouthBend for X-Mas)

emily: The Gawker network, random blogs...Not having the ‘Pit around in the offseason really confuses me and makes it more difficult to waste my time. I’ll probably spend a bunch more time on Pima’s website, since, you know, I should be doing stuff related to school. Facebook, twitter, reddit...twitter.

soco: My #1 favorite site is nymag.com (sorry, Jim).  All of the blogs there are fantastic, and the articles are the best in the business.  I also read The Awl (another fantastic blog that does it better than just about anyone), sometimes Gawker, Emily Magazine on occasion, and Paris Review when I remember.

Jim: My current main amusement is Urban Dead, where you can play a zombie or a survivor, in a post-apocalyptic city. My characters spend a lot of time hiding. Such are the perils of still being low level. Various film and TV sites, like cinemageddon.net also get checked, and I spend far too much time playing Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook - about the only thing I ever do on there.

snakecharmer: Umm... nothing, really... I go on Facebook (but not for games), I do Sudoku and crosswords...

DbacksSkins: Um....nothing, actually? I’m with Jenny. Facebook sometimes. Certainly not Twitter...

Wailord: My life on the Internet: Facebook, Reddit, MacRumors, TUAW, Twitter, and obsessively checking my grades like a total loser. Though, I don’t think there’s a ton of interest in the last item...

We’ll probably have a "What’s on your iPod?" thread a bit later, but for now, tell us about one band you think deserves to be famous?

Kishi: I’ve been back on an Ayria kick lately. It’s a Canadian synthpop group with a lead singer who is absolutely adorable, how can you go wrong with that? Oh, well, I guess if that’s not really the type of music you’re into. Whatever.

Azreous: Even though they’ve been around a while, my personal favorite is Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives. First of all, you can’t go wrong with a band name like that, and secondly, their songs are catchy.

IHSB: Bloc Party.  I’ve loved ‘em since Silent Alarm came out way long ago, and all they’ve ever gotten recognition for was "Helicopter" on one of the freakin’ Guitar Hero games.  They just make consistently good music.  Listen to "Banquet" or "Ion Square" if you’re thinking of dabbling.

soco: Right now?  Twin Shadow.  Such a fantastic musician.  Creates dense, thoughtful music that evokes many other great underground bands but also carves his own way.  And I bought his debut album for a buck off his website!  I would have paid $20 for it, that’s how much I love it.  

snakecharmer: Not even going to try. I suck at music questions.

Jim: Synthpop, eh? I’ll see your Ayria, Kishi, and raise you a Leiahdorus there. Locally, I’ll plug The Strand, whom I first saw, virtually the night I moved to Arizona, supporting VNV Nation, and are still going, almost a decade later. Their live shows are always huge fun, and I’m sorry we don’t get to go to more of them [shakes fist at work schedule]

DbacksSkins: Eh... hmm, Flogging Molly. Why not?

Maybe the Meat Puppets, due to the local connection, influence on 90s music, and the fact that they’ve been around for about 80 years?

Wailord: EMINEM. Oh, wait. I only listen to mainstream music like a coooool kid.

Come up with one off-topic question for the other participants here

Azreous: You’re stranded on a desert island, and can only bring two possessions along with you. (Somehow you had the prescience to know you were going to be stranded, so you had these two things with you. Shut up.) There’s no electricity, and supermodels are not possessions. What do you bring?

Jim: What? Supermodels are not possessions? The ones in my basement know differen... Er, where was I? Sheesh. No electricity and no supermodels? Is life worth living? A set of encyclopedias and a pipeline to the Stella Artois factory, conveniently located just over the horizon.

IHSB: Hmmmm... Well, first, I’m not going to worry about food, because that’s silly.  Probably a photo album of family, girlfriend, friends, etc. - y’know, to make myself even more super depressed about my isolated, worthless, and lonely existence - and either a lifetime’s supply of Tanqueray & Tonic’s or possibly a drum set?  I feel like I would need music and all I can do is bang things together with a decent sense of rhythm.  :)

Kishi: I imagine not worrying about food means that a lifetime’s supply of anything would be a much smaller quantity... Anyway, no electricity? What kind of sadistic, backwater island is this? I suppose this means no wifi, either. Well, I guess I’d bring some books to read, and the Professor from Gilligan’s Island. I’m just excited to see what advances there have been in coconut-based technology.

soco: I would bring a way home.

DbacksSkins: How big is this island? Can I mine uranium? If so, a small nuclear fission generator. Then, my netbook. I figure I can keep myself busy that way. Actually...hmm, crap. I'll need spare parts. Suppose I'll have to invent my own electric devices on the island. Well then, I guess just a nuclear generator and a really long notebook. And pen. Wait, if the pen is attached to the notebook, it counts as one thing, right? Otherwise, I guess just the generator and a really really big box of pens. I'll write on some native plant matter.

I figure the IAEA would eventually discover that Philistan has developed atomic energy and the UN would sanction me, but Iran, China and Russia would still trade with me. When that happened, I would sneak off the island on one of the trade ships.

Yes. This plan is flawless.

emily: Yeah, definitely with soco on this one: a way home.

Wailord: I dunno, ask Steve Jobs. Seems anything he ever shows anyone I buy (though, I sold my iPad tonight... to buy a Mac Mini).

Kishi: For my question, something insightful and important: What is your favorite TV theme song?

soco: My favorite TV theme song is certainly not the second L Word theme, as that was freaking awful.  I would pick Monday Night Football.  Cannot be topped, ever.

Azreous: Hmm. I like so many. I think the theme from the $100,000/$25,000 Pyramid was very catchy. I liked the theme from Inspector Gadget as a kid. But if I’m stuck with one, it’s the opening to the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego game show theme, by Rockapella.

soco: Someoooooone’s feeling nostalgic for the 90’s!

DbacksSkins: CARMEN SANDIEGO! YES!!!

Jim: The one I’m most likely to find myself whistling is Dexter. Usually in the mornings, when I’m getting up [for reasons that will be well known to anyone who’s seen it!]. But about the only one on my iPod is about twenty remixes of the Doctor Who theme.

snakecharmer: I think Castle is the best theme jingle right now - too short to be considered a theme "song" - but favorite one is probably West Wing.

DbacksSkins: Either Gilligan's Island, Star Trek: The Next Generation, or The Rockford Files. /oldskool

emily: I really don’t watch enough TV to answer this.

Wailord: Certainly not, hands-down, the Pokémon theme song. Like, no way possible. I wanna be, the very best...

Soco: Assuming you could get the necessary capital, what kind of business would you start, if any?

Jim: A film studio. Admittedly, it probably wouldn’t last too long, since we are of the opinion that the world is crying out for a big-budget remake of Lunatic Frog Women. But our failure would be the stuff of legends, spoken about in hushed tones whenever other executives pass the crumbling, neon-yellow, acrylic spires of our former dream palace. On a slightly smaller scale, probably a comedy club,

soco: Aiming for The Day the Clown Cried notoriety, eh?  I think I would also want to start a movie production business, though I think my focus would be less on the horror and more on the intimate character studies and pretentious dramas that never make much money.  So we’ll both be out on the street not long after opening.

DbacksSkins: Tim, you continue to not shock me.

soco: W...why?  It was either that or start a weekly magazine dedicated to movies, both popular and obscure.  Can you believe there is no pop-magazine in the US dedicated to movies?  I find that shameful.

snakecharmer: Oooh, any business I want? .... I’ll have to think about that one. :)

Kishi: Don’t think too long, Jim’s going to publish this at some point. For myself, if I was going to open any business... A theater.

DbacksSkins: Capital is no object, right? I’d make cars. Or airplanes.

emily: Unlimited capital? I’d find some way to provide adequate music education (complete with instruments and extra training for teachers) to every child that wants it.

Hey, you said it could be crazy.

DbacksSkins: I think "business" implies that you’ll be able to turn a profit at some point, Emily?

Kishi: Turn a profit? Have you actually read any of our answers?

emily: Nobody said anything about turning a profit, Phil. Crushing my dreams. Thanks.

Wailord: I’d definitely start my own indie dev company with a few friends. Then again, it’d likely blow up in my face. BUT I DON’T CARE

DbacksSkins: If you could play any non-baseball sport professionally, what would it be?

soco: I spend a good amount of my spare time at work fantasizing about being a professional baseball player, so this is a bit tough.  It would probably tie between being a hockey goalie, or playing soccer professionally.  Playing in Europe in one of the top leagues would be amazing.  I think I would pick Spain if given a choice, followed by Germany and then Engerland.  Though if I wasn’t that good, playing in Ireland would be the bee’s knees.  

emily: Softball /sadface

soco: Pssssh professional softball.

emily: Thanks Tim. Super sadface.

DbacksSkins: For my part, I’d either wanna play secondary (cornerback or safety) in the NFL or play golf. No, I don’t think golf is a sport, either, but still. I can see why Tim or anyone else would wanna play soccer, though. Those guys are gods in their home countries.

Now that I look back, I think this question may be slightly dependent on whether or not "play" means simply "play", or "be a star in".

soco: I’d think soccer would be the best to not be a star.  It’s really the only sport where you might able to travel anywhere, so as long as you were good enough to make a roster, it would be an awesome way to take in a different culture.  

Kishi: I was going to say curling, but then someone informed me that the game actually keeps score somehow, so it isn’t just a zen exercise in sliding rocks across ice. Way to ruin a good thing, Scotland. Geez. On the other hand, you did give us caber tossing, which is so ridiculous as to be awesome. Anyway, what would I play? Arena football might be cool, if one can call that professional. Or cricket. I only vaguely understand the sport, but they still manage to, at time, play in front of huge crowds, which would be an interesting experience.

Jim. I really can’t think of any sport I’d want to play professionally. Too much like hard work. As Hunter S. Thompson said, "Nothing is fun when you have to do it — over and over, again and again — or else you'll be evicted, and that gets old." I’d rather be an amateur for my own amusement.

Wailord: Badminton, only because it’s totally awesome, I think I’m good at it, but I’m actually terrible. I’m like, the Chad Qualls of badminton. Sort of. Also, my question: am I the only one that finished his/her writeup fifteen minutes before the deadline? Yeah? Cool.

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