The Bump: It was twenty years ago today

2013 March 20
by Don Hammack

The date: 3/20/93
The time: 0546Z
The place: The Barents Sea
The event: A little bump between the USS Grayling and a Soviet ballistic missile submarine.

Twenty years ago today, a few of my great friends in life and I nearly became fish food off the northern coast of Russia. Those of us that were there can fill in the blanks in this heavily redacted copy of the investigation report, but then we’d have to kill you. I’m grateful for a strong boat and stronger shipmates who helped get us all back safely.

I had just gotten off watch, and I was waiting in the wardroom for my breakfast before the usual post-watch reconstruction and report writing. It was the day the real eggs ran out on board, so as the plate of fake eggs was put down in front of me there was a loud noise, the ship moved abruptly and the plate of fake eggs slid off the table. The captain cursed and ran out, followed quickly by us. All the submariners on our boat and the Soviets’ boomer made it back to port safely, with what I’m sure were investigations and lengthy shipyard time on both sides. I can vouch for meeting an admiral or two and the early morning shuttle boat rides on the Cooper River (plus an encounter with a deer with driving on the Naval Weapons Stations, or Bump 2.0).

So, I’d like to salute all my shipmates, especially our recently departed friend Christopher Bates, with a little song. I invite you to join along to a song to the tune of an obscure ditty done by The Beatles.

It was twenty years ago today,
Captain Self brought the sub to play
They’d been going in the Barents Sea,
The U.S. representatives of the bourgeoisie.
So may I introduce to you
The sub filled with all these mates,
Captain Self’s Only Bubblehead Band
We’re Captain Self’s Only Bubblehead Band,
We hope you will enjoy the show,
We’re Captain Self’s Only Bubblehead Band,
Sit back and let the course change go.
Captain Self’s only, Captain Self’s only,
Captain Self’s Only Bubblehead Band.
Not so wonderful to be there,
It was certainly no drill.
You’re such a bubbly audience,
We’d like to keep the dome with us,
We’d love to undent the dome.
I don’t really want an emergency blow,
But I thought that you might like to know,
That Chief Singer’s going to cuss real long,
And he wants you all to cuss along.
So let me introduce to you
The one and only Norm Bates!
And Captain Self’s Only Bubblehead Band.

Diamond Scientist or Scientist?

2013 March 7
by Don Hammack

Diamond ScientistsBack on May 29, 1906, Birmingham defeated New Orleans 3-0 in a Southern League game that took 78 minutes. That’s apparently 10 minutes shorter than the fifth inning of a May 8, 2004, game between Detroit and Texas. For such wizardry, the next day’s Times-Picayune newspaper labeled the players “Diamond Scientists.”

Figure out which of these legendary figures are Diamond Scientists or just plain ole Scientists.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThe always trustworthy Wikipedia tells us this man was either one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century or struck out five consecutive future Hall of Famers in the 1934 All-Star Game. Click the photo to reveal the answer.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis man was either the German theoretical physicist invented quantum theory or has more shutouts than any left-hander in history. Guess and click.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis man was either a Greek five-tool smart guy (mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, astronomer) who created the foundation of hydrostatics and invented a marvelous type of screw pump or a lifetime minor league nicknamed Archie who had a strange shoe fetish. Guess/click.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis guy created the periodic table or bounced around the major leagues and generally was viewed as an underachiever. Guess. Click.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis man is either the gentleman sailed around the world on the HMS Beagle and proposed the theory of natural selection that applies to all things in nature, including baseball (unless you’re a high draft pick with a big contract), or finished with a 171-182 record in the big leagues (you play in the bigs, you’re Diamond Scientist, dangit). Click. Guess. Wait, reverse that.

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis man won the Nobel Prize for discovering how the chromosomes affect heredity or he was one of the great second baseball of all time who virtually the entire Interwebs wanted fired from his second career, so much that a whole website existed for that sole purpose. Click and be angered!

Diamond Scientist or ScientistThis man is almost as famous for his beard and the baseball card with him wearing a python or he was a mid-18th century Englishman who did experiments on frog limb regeneration. Click and be amazed!

Ancient baseball illustration

2013 February 28
by Don Hammack

Newspapers were vastly different creatures in 1906. For one, there were lots of them. For another, they were pretty gray entities. There was no color, and there were few pictures. But here, in the Charleston, S.C., Evening Post’s April 7th edition, things got interesting.

Baseball cartoonery

Are you a "fan"?

Band names, inspired by hockey

2011 August 6
by Don Hammack

Syl Apps All-Stars
Gordie’s Chapeau Astuce
Rocket Riot Boys
The Eddie Shore
Toe-d the Blake Sprocket
Little Brawl of Hate
Grant’s Fur Coat
The Caddie Looper Mario
Two Line Brass
Cross Czech Machine
DIY Clapper

Save It or Shave It, Results

2011 May 20
by Don Hammack

Credit: Nicholas Savalas

I had my head shaved Monday. The fundraiser kinda fell apart at church, and there was nothing done at the festival Sunday. You helped me raise $250 for the church, which is great. It was below my goal of $1,000, so there will be no picture of me posted here. Instead, you’ll have to settle for Mr. Tavales.

Stalking Wilco

2011 May 12
by Don Hammack

Finally getting around to updating the blog, and getting around to posting about my 2011 Jazz Fest experience. I went just two days this year, Thursday and the second Friday. The big draw for me, of course, was Wilco.

read more…

Nationals, Game 18: Cardinals 5, Nati0nals

2011 April 22
by Don Hammack

Record: 9-9. Standing: 3rd, 3 GB. Streak: L2.


Feeling good: Uh, not much to feel good about. I think Gorzelanny getting to the fifth means the Nats are still the only team not to have a starter yanked before the fifth all season, but he needed 108 pitches to do it. Looks like Brian Broderick had a good afternoon, too.

Feeling bad: Where’s the offense? Anybody who’s not a little concerned about Jayson Werth might want to start. I’m not typically one to panic, but he’s on his way to his worse month since 2007. Just because you pay a guy $126 million doesn’t turn him into Babe Ruth, but he’s not very productive right now with the bat in his hand. .209/.293/.358, Gulp.

Feeling shame: Meh.

Nationals or Natinals: They got a 0 because there was no O. Get the Pirates.

Nationals, Games 16 & 17: Nationals 8-3, Cardinals 6-5

2011 April 21
by Don Hammack

Record: 9-8. Standing: 3rd, 2 GB. Streak: L1.


Feeling good: I’m not going to complain about a loss after a four-game win streak. The Nats rallied to beat Milwaukee in the first game, then soundly dispatched the Brewers in a Sunday doubleheader, shutting up the always immature Nyjer Morgan. And a second consecutive doubleheader started out just promising, with the Nationals putting up a big crooked number early against St. Louis. The pitching chinks in the armor appeared late in the opener, and the nightcap was disappointing.

Feeling bad: Not going to complain about being above .500.

Feeling shame:

Coverage of note:

Nationals or Natinals:

Nationals, Game 12: Phillies 4, Natinals 0

2011 April 15
by Don Hammack

Record: 5-7. Standing: 3rd, 4 GB. Streak: L2.


Feeling good: About Jordan Zimmermann, and Jordan Zimmermann alone. He deserved better tonight, but runner-up to Cliff Lee ain’t too shabby.

Feeling bad: Back-to-back games where nobody can feel like the Nats have a chance to win is a terrible feeling. Washington played pretty well, but two losses is two losses.

Feeling shame: Nats defense let down Zimmermann and the relievers. Only one run was earned, and the Nats pitching staff deserved better striking out six and walking none.

Nationals or Natinals: The only ‘O’ was the total runs. Natinals.

Nationals, Game 10: Nationals 7, Phillies 4

2011 April 13
by Don Hammack

Record: 5-5. Standing: Tied 2nd, 2 GB. Streak: W2.


Feeling good: Heck, yeah! Feeling great! Nats at .500. Jayson Werth goes 2-for-4 with a homer, a double and a walk in his first game against his former team. Livan Hernandez also baffled ‘em with BS in another strong start, six strikeouts and a walk in getting to the seventh inning, plus a squeeze bunt.

Feeling bad: Knowing that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are back-to-back the next two days. And that Ryan Zimmerman is on the DL.

Feeling shame: Nope.

Nationals or Natinals: The ‘O’ is strong after this one.