It’s Time for Vaudeville Baseball!

Abbott and Costello 2016

EXT. CAMELBACK RANCH GLENDALE – DAY

Abbott: Well Costello, I’m here in Arizona for the first full squad spring training workout with you. You know Dave Roberts, the new Dodger manager, gave me a job as coach for as long as you’re on the team.

Costello: Look Abbott, if you’re the coach, you must know all the players.

Abbott: I certainly do.

Costello: Well you know I’ve never met the guys. You’ll have to tell me their names and then I’ll know who’s playing on the team.

Abbott: Oh, I’ll tell you their names, but you know it seems to me they give these ballplayers nowadays very peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names?

Abbott: Strange names, pet names…like number 14 over there. His name is Enrique, but he goes by the diminutive.

Costello: Oh yes, those Diminutives are very popular these days.  The kids, they love those goofy little guys and their silly gibberish language. From what I hear that young man and those Diminutives are both awful fond of bananas too.

Abbott: No, those are the Minions. I said the diminutive. It means the small or short version meant to convey a sense of endearment.

Costello: Oh, sense of endearment or not that’s problematic!

Abbott: Without the accent in the proper place it sure can be.

PAUSE

Costello: What accent? I thought they preferred to be called Little People.

Abbott: Oh for crying out loud, it’s not about his height.  It’s a nickname common in his place of origin, an island in the Caribbean.

Costello: I think I get it now. He’s from the Diminutive Republic.  There are a lot of guys from there, he must be one hell of a player if he’s the one they call THE Diminutive.

Abbott: I’ll break your arm if you if you say the diminutive one more time.  His name is Enrique.  He is from Puerto Rico.  They call him Kiké.

Costello: Okay, now I think I finally understand. So where do…they-que play-que Enrique Kiké the Puerto Rique?

PAUSE

Abbott: No. No, we’re not going to do the positions now.

PAUSE

Abbott: AND THE SPANISH DIMINUTIVE OF PUERTO RICAN IS PUERTORRIQUEÑO GOD DAMMIT.

~FIN~

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The Thrill of the Chase

Guys, I’m not terribly superstitious, but I want to tell you about something that I think is a good omen for the Dodgers. I was doing inspections for work outside of the office today and I had to stop at a Target to use the bathroom. While I was there I bought a single pack of 2015 Topps Chrome baseball cards. This particular brand is notable for having a number of variants to chase with differing levels of scarcity, one of which has a print run of 5 for each of the 200 cards in the set. These are inserted at a rate of 1 per 1916 packs, which are fairly astronomical odds.

Well, guess what gang…

…I pulled one from my single pack…

…and it was new Dodger Chase Utley.

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I feel very blessed that The Big Dodger in the Sky has chosen me as the vessel through which He could deliver us this message.

Wild Pitches

At this point in time I feel that it is finally safe to conclude that the launch of Sports Net LA has been a disappointment. Time Warner Cable paid a record price for the rights to carry and distribute the all-Dodger channel, but it would seem that other carriers cannot justify paying their asking price for a channel built around a single “show” (live Dodger games) and little else of any interest to a broad audience. Dedicated postgame coverage and repeats of old games are obviously not being recognized in this marketplace as compelling content. What I would like to propose is that SNLA expand their lineup to include additional original scripted and unscripted programming to appeal to a wider subscriber base. This tactic has seemingly done wonders for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (all of whom offer no live sports programming to compliment these shows and charge more than the reported $5 per month that TWC is asking from DirecTV and other cable/satellite providers). I have taken the liberty of developing several pilot pitches (as with all of my puns this one was of course intended):

Throughout his tenure as Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti was mercilessly bullied, mocked and harassed online. After accepting a promotion to Senior Advisor Ned now has the last laugh and time to pursue other interests…such as vengeance. In this brazen, unscripted hidden camera series follow Ned Colletti as he confronts strangers at their places of business and gives them frank, no holds barred assessments of how they’re doing their jobs. The tables have turned, how does it feel now that you’re on THE HOT SEAT?

As a former player and current manager Don Mattingly knows a thing or two about performing under pressure and intense scrutiny. Larry King has been married 18 times. Together they have the experience to answer even your most sensitive sex and relationship questions. They’re live in studio and operators are standing by. For a good time call 1-900- THE HOT SEAT.

To Bea or not to Bea? That is the question that is asked on this exciting new reality competition series where legendary Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bea searches for the next generation of stadium organist. Will you make Nancy beam or will you get Nancy beat? If you can’t take the Nancy heat, get out of THE HOT SEAT.

She’s a little bit stat geek. He’s a little bit old school troll. In this hilarious new comedy love conquers ball when baseball’s first female general manager also happens to be her manager’s second wife. They say “OPS splits” attract, but whether at home or at the stadium someone is always going to be on THE HOT SEAT.

Before the days of StubHub the secondary ticket market was like the Wild West. In this 1990s set coming of age dramedy we meet Erica Bay, a typical teen trying to juggle school, experiencing all of the things that in 25 years only 90s kids will remember, work as a stadium usher and a secret double life as an underground ticket broker/scalper/thief/counterfeiting kingpin. Show her your ticket stub and she’ll show you to THE HOT SEAT.

Detective Richard Ecktive thought he was getting too old for this shit…literally. Just days before settling into a quiet retirement this Private Dick got the one call that could thrust him back into everyone’s business: Deuces Wild, a powerful new performance enhancing drug, is threatening the sanctity of baseball. Detectable only in feces Dueces Wild is like nothing the sports world has ever seen. Now, backed by the expressed written consent of the office of the commissioner of baseball and the Joint Drug Agreement Det. Ecktive and the elite sample collectors of the Fecal Activity Recovery Team must get to the bottom of this mess in this thrilling new crime procedural drama and discover the dirty little secrets that lurk beneath…
( •_•) 
( •_•)>⌐■-■ 
(⌐■_■)
THE HOT SEAT.
YYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

To any Time Warner Cable Executives who may be reading this: it is now you who are on the proverbial hot seat.

Justin’z Greatest Holiday Jamz of All Time

It is New Year’s Eve. It is time to party, but sometimes that can be hard to do when the music is all so terrible! I humbly submit to you my own personal playlist. Justin’z Greatest Holiday Jamz of All Time are guaranteed to jump start any holiday shindig.

Track 1
Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters
Blow the roof off of the gingerbread house with the rollicking, effervescent pop of Richard and Karen Carpenter. Oh, and you know who else just so happens to be a Carpenter? Trick question! The Carpenters were a vocal duo.

Track 2
Eternal Flame – The Bangles
For the Hanukkah crowd.

Track 3
River – Joni Mitchell
What would the winter holidays be without fun outdoor activities like ice skating?

Track 4
Same Old Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg
New Year’s is a great time to catch up with old friends and to wistfully internalize a lifetime of regret. 2015 is going to be great!

Track 5
Brick – Ben Folds Five
Going out the day after Christmas to return an unwanted gift? Haha, yeah, I think we’ve all been there.

Track 6
Fancy – Reba McEntire
This tale of a young girl and her red velvet Christmas dress is sure to be the evening’s emotional high point. You’ll have to dance just to keep from crying.

Track 7
Building a Mystery – Sarah McLachlan
You wear sandals in the snow and a smile that won’t wash away? Must be from California!

Track 8
The Final Countdown – Europe
If you time it just right this syncs up perfectly with the ball drop on New Year’s Rocking Eve.

Happy New Year from all of me here at Beyond the Valley of the Daals!

Baseball’s Oscar Gamble

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This post don't seem to be like it is, but it do.

[Editor’s note: An apology: I’m reading the title of this post again now and I feel that in retrospect it might seem a bit misleading for some of you. Some of you probably came here expecting a requiem for hair of fame outfielder Oscar Gamble. That could actually be pretty cool, but that isn’t what I had in mind. This has surely caused some unnecessary anger and confusion and for that I am deeply sorry.]

This year the Academy Awards had everything: a scared and confused pizza man, a Samsung commercial that broke Twitter and the controversy surrounding John Travolta being left out of the In Memorium montage after suffering a stroke onstage. The show was so chock full of EVERYTHING that you probably didn’t even notice what was missing.

Well, guess what? Baseball was missing.

After the mid-90s kid’s wish fulfillment baseball fantasy movie boom fizzled out there wasn’t a lot to get excited about. There definitely wasn’t anything worthy of the Academy’s attention. Oh sure, there was that one where the doofus from Friends high fived a chimp, but that is a good example of attracting the wrong kind of attention. Recent years however have shown that this trend is changing. Long gone are the days of the flighty baseball comedy.  Not only is Hollywood making baseball movies again, but they’re making them as important prestige pictures.  Moneyball was just the beginning. Yeah, Trouble With the Curve was terrible, but it had Oscar bloodlines. With the release of the Jackie Robinson film 42, 2013 was supposed to be baseball’s year. 42 was everything that the Academy usually loves unconditionally: a civil rights hero biopic period piece with an over-the-top supporting performance from Harrison Ford (FUN FACT: as Branch Rickey, Ford consumed 31 whole cigars and chewed so much scenery that the movie’s final act had to be filmed on green screen). When it debuted in April it seemed like an Oscar shoo-in despite tepid reviews. A funny thing happened when the nominations were announced though: the mighty Jackie was shutout.

Since conventional methods seem to no longer be working let’s try something a little bit different and reverse engineer some great baseball movies using the titles of this year’s Academy Award winning and nominated films!

AMERICAN HUSTLE
A gritty, aging ballplayer dreams of representing the United States on the world stage. When his country betrays him by putting together a team of conventionally talented players he grinds and scams his way onto Italy’s World Baseball Classic roster…seeking revenge. Nick Punto stars.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
A gripping courtroom drama explores the backroom conspiracy to stop Mark Cuban from purchasing the Texas Rangers through bankruptcy court.

PHILOMENA
When a maverick owner announces his intention to hire baseball’s first female manager, baseball lifer Phil Garner trades “Scrap-Iron” in for a flat iron to take one last shot to get back in the game.

HER
The seedy underbelly of the baseball card collecting community is exposed when the only known copy of a Tom Herr error card goes up for auction.

NEBRASKA
Christopher Nolan helms a dark reboot of The Scout, reimagining Steve Nebraska as a brooding anti hero.

With recent past failures will an enterprising executive take a chance on another high-concept feature? That’s baseball’s Oscar gamble.

Welcome to Beyond the Valley of the Daals! This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

A Post-it of the Artist as a Young Man

A Post-it of the Artist as a Young Man

Hi, I’m Justin Drummond.  You might remember me from such Tumblrs as A.J. Ellis Facts and such Twitter interactions as I AM NANCY BEA.  By day I’m a low-level employee in a mid-level bureaucracy, but by night when I’m not asleep I’m an aspiring writer/humorist and an avid Dodger fan (I’m also a fair to adequate softball player).

I’ve been actively tweeting about baseball and the Dodgers for a few years now and telling jokes on the internet for even longer than that (Try and find my old American Idol recaps on MySpace.  I dare you.).  If you count A.J. Ellis Facts I’ve technically been a baseball blogger before, but this I think is the year I finally expand my horizons and write more than one sentence at a time.  Also, by horizons I mean character limit.  Let’s take a look at a recent tweet of mine:

This is admittedly a pretty great tweet.  It’s got baseball, an old pop culture reference, multiple puns…and exactly 140 characters.  If you’re not familiar with the rules of Twitter, that is the absolute limit.  One more character and the entire enterprise falls apart.  I often toss completely great material simply because I can’t make it fit without compromising the soul of the joke (I type this realizing that I may be presenting myself as a huge douche, but humor is something I take VERY seriously).  Well, no more do those jokes have to suffer that fate.  WordPress has no limit that I’m aware of.  In fact, I’m currently at 275 words for this post with no signs of slowing down.  I’m literally figuratively drowning in my own words and it feels pretty wonderful.

So, what should you expect to see here at Beyond the Valley of the Daals?  I’m honestly not entirely certain.  I’ve kind of jumped into this without a specific plan in mind.  There will be Dodger things and general baseball things…and we’ll see what else pops into my head.  I love all of the new analytics employed in baseball, but I am myself am not much of an analyst so mostly I hope to put a humorous spin on what’s going on with the team.  Occasionally you may see some longer essay-type pieces and maybe even some fiction (non-erotic).  I’m generally not a very spontaneous person so this is all a bit frightening.

I can say more definitively what you won’t be seeing.  The internet is full of wonderful sites that do game threads and nightly recaps (my personal favorite was the wonderful Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness which is now the even more wonderful Dodgers Digest).  At this time I don’t feel like I have anything additional to add to that arena, and honestly I don’t think I have the time (and currently I don’t even have a legal means to watch any games, so…).

If you’ve gotten this far you’re probably wondering about the very long and tedious to type name of this blog.  When I was first getting the urge to start this blog and spitballing names I was set on using wordplay to combine a pop culture reference (the Roger Ebert penned cult classic film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) with the name of a random former player (left-handed wispy mustache haver and two-time Dodger Omar Daal).  I feel like I’ve done that and a little bit more.  If Chavez Ravine is the metaphorical “Valley of the Daals” then I feel the title gives you, the reader, the sense that hey, this is a Dodger blog but may also explore topics outside of just the Dodgers.  Trust me when I say that when this popped into my head I was like, “Yeah, that’s the stuff.”  If you’re curious, alternate titles I considered were That’s So Ravine! and crazysexycool-a-coo.  I didn’t register those so they are free for you to have for your very own blog.  Just promise to pay it forward.

When I teased the blog I thanked EephusBlue (from Twitter and Paint the Corners) for creating the artwork for the header/logo.  I would like to thank him again now.  I think he perfectly designed something that both mimics the original Beyond the Valley of the Dolls movie poster and doesn’t infringe upon Omar Daal’s personal image rights.  Thanks again Eephus!

Let’s recap:

(1) I started the post with a strange hand drawn self-portrait and

(2) shamelessly embedded and overpraised one of my own tweets.

Oh yes, we are off to a very strong start.

With any luck I’ll be at this for a very long time, look back at this post years from now and feel deeply ashamed.

I’m an optimist.