Big City Back to Do Big City Things

I suppose a lot of general managers have ideas about how a roster should be constructed, but Mike Rizzo has a formula, dammit, and that formula includes a relatively inexpensive left-handed guy who can hit home runs, play first base, and stand in left field on occasion.

In 2018, that guy was Matt “Big City” Adams.

In 2017, it was Adam Lind.

In 2016 (and 2015), it was Clint Robinson.

And so on.

Now, the Nats traded Adams away in late August last year as part of their not really a fire sale so much as giving some guys a shot at post-season or something trading extravaganza, but that did not preclude them from re-signing him this weekend. He’ll cost $3MM this year, with a $1MM mutual option for 2020, and if he comes close to hitting the 21 HRs he hit last year, he’ll help.

The “Big City” moniker is an ironic one, as Adams grew up in Philipsburg, PA, a borough with a population under 3,000 at the last census. The town is in central PA, not too far from where I grew up, a part of the state where can be found some of the more confounding town names, including:

  • Osceola Mills. While there was a substantial population of Native Americans throughout PA, especially in its early days, to the best of my knowledge, no Seminole tribes were among them.
  • Jersey Shore. A town on the banks of the Susquehanna River, located well over 200 miles from any place commonly thought of as the “Jersey Shore”, although there’s some logic to this name; seems back in the late 18th/early 19th century there were settlements on both sides of the river, with one side settled primarily by a family originally from New Jersey.
  • DuBois. Nothing really odd about this town except its pronunciation, which isn’t the expected “du-BWAH”, but rather “DOO-boyz”

I’m sure there’s a weekly blog post that one could produce regarding the weird town names in PA, at least enough to get us through the winter; I haven’t mentioned Moon, Mars, Eighty-Four, Forty Fort, and everyone’s favorites – Blue Ball and Intercourse among all the choices that there for the discussing, but this is a baseball blog, not a weird towns in PA blog, so I’ll speak no further on the topic.

Happy Holidays!

31 thoughts on “Big City Back to Do Big City Things

  1. …and Three Mile Island! (Well okay, that’s a bit more to the east, but from here it looks like the middle of the state.) The region is also the happy home of the blunt-nosed garter snake. Not everyone can say that.

    J T Realmuto update: as I wrote yesserday, the Mets signed Wilson Ramos so you can add them to the take-your-catcher-and-shove-him list along with the Barves. I suspect the Borg were always the joker in the deck anyway. Now, that apparently leaves the Reds, Rays, Dodgers and Padres. Of those teams, consider that Realmuto has every intention of playing with a genuine contender so it’s unlikely he has much interest in remaining with any of those teams, except perhaps the Dodgers, for more than the two years he has left before free agency.

    Ergo, if any of the other teams are informed in no uncertain terms that J T has no interest in signing any extension with them, they immediately stiffen their resistance to throwing any top of the line EYPs or solid experienced bats into a deal for Realmuto. That leaves the Dodgers (barring the sudden emergence of a mystery team) as a realistic market for the Feesh to go shopping the last diadem in their crown. On the other hand the Dodgers are savvy and hard nosed enough to know how to deal with a bunch of little leaguers like Mike Hill and Beep Beep (in his so far unimpressive executive capacity).

    The only smidgen of market leverage the Feesh have left is Grandal, who could just as easily sign with the Dodgers. He’ll cost the Bums a draft pick but they’d give that up more willingly than one of their prized EYPs or young veterans.

    Now, Realmuto has been professional enough to keep his dissatisfaction with the Feesh under wraps during the playing season, leaving his agent to unfurl the kvetch pinafore during the orfseason. If he finds himself mired in an empty(-er) Macondo Banana Massacre Field, with its new “standing room” decks peppered mainly by pickled cheapskates who drift down from the Clevelander, he might lose his compunction against public bellyaching.

    I sure would.

    And that’d be another attendance-killing headache the lamed Feesh need like a hole in the gill flap. Anything can always happen, of course, but the Feesh have pretty much shot themselves in the fins again and better pray Grandal doesn’t sign with the Bums or they’re looking at a choice between an attenuated haul and an unhappy backstop.


      1. Naw, just a haul of less valorized EYPs than the Feesh brainstem trust gambled they’d receive for him if they held their ground.


      1. The further weirdness in PA is in the food.

        Where I grew up, all the old Italian ladies made a dish called “stuffed mangoes”; you would call them “stuffed green peppers”. I thought this was just a PA thing, but it actually exists in multiple areas of the country –

        Another culinary oddity that would make you think that someone just tossed labels randomly at food was the dish called “pot pie”. It does not resemble in any way a pie, but is instead sort of a stew made with chicken (or ham), homemade noodles cut into a square shape, potatoes, and perhaps some other vegetables. As near as I can tell, the name is a bastardization of “Bott Boi”, a similar dish with its origins in the Pennsylvania Dutch.

        Oh, by the way, those Pennsylvania Dutch ain’t Dutch; they’re of German descent, and “Dutch” was just a different way of pronouncing “Deutsch”.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Never had a cheesesteak made with Velveeta. I grew up about four hours from Philly, and the local sub shops all made their cheesesteaks with provolone, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and mayo.


        2. Down here in Oz, a pot pie usually comes in a ‘pot’, such as a china bowl in various shapes and sizes. Typically also covered by a pastry crust, although sometimes by potato mash suitably encrusted under a grille. Fillings might include chicken, or more likely beef or lamb, but I’ve never seen one with noodles.


        3. Tex: I love scrapple. Always have. I chop up pasture raised uncured bacon and fry it up mixed with the scrapple for a little morning pizzazz.


        4. OG, whilst I appreciate your reference to Australian ‘cuisine’, I doubt I could join you in enjoying a pie floater. Perhaps it’s my east coast Oz upbringing or, more likely, the copious quantities of pea soup I was forced to eat as a child, but the concept of a good meat pie being submerged in a green sea fails to float my boat. I take my pies straight, just like my whiskey.

          I can’t recall seeing any US equivalent on my travels there, but for those reading this and wondering what we’re on about, the Australian meat pie is predominantly a form of fast food often eaten by hand but equally enjoyable at a dining table on a plate with actual cutlery. (I had one just yesterday at a pub lunch. Steak, bacon and cheese, the latter inside the pie, not melted on top, along with a garden salad and seasoned potato wedges. Yes, yummy, and thanks for asking).

          A basic pie consists of a pastry base, filled with diced or minced meat (beef mostly), plus many varieties adding vegetables and other ingredients such as mushrooms or the cheese mentioned above, all with enough gravy to ensure the pie is not too dry. A pastry cover, typically flaky style, sits on top and the whole lot is baked and served hot, unlike the English pork pie. It is also popular to add a sauce (tomato, barbeque, etc.).

          Meat pies are ubiquitous here and in NZ via mass production to stock supermarket freezers but the quality of those varies from barely acceptable to truly awful. A better alternative is to find a local bakery that makes their own and, better yet, one that has had success in one of the annual ‘best pie’ competitions. For me, the two most important considerations are the base, which needs to be firm enough to hold while eating and not become soggy from the gravy inside (with obvious messy consequences), and the meat content, which needs to be high as a percentage of volume and cooked ‘just right’.

          So, Australian meat pies: simple, widely available, tasty, cheap, edible in formal or informal settings, and even vaguely nutritious. Perhaps a candidate for a place among the basic food groups?


        5. I like pea soup. I like meat pies reasonably well. The pie floater looks awful.

          Meat pies are not a big thing down here in Texas – unless you count empanadas. Not the same thing to me at all.

          I have two experiences of down home meat pies. One in Melbourne, the other in Bath, England. Both were from a local bakery. I liked them, but I would agree that the big issue is going to be getting enough gravy (sauce) in to keep them from being dry.


        6. Ackcherley, I can get pretty good Cuban meat pies stuffed with picadillo that makes an excellent sub for the Ozzie version. And yep, I plunk it down in a shallow bowl of homemade pea soup (made in a pressure cooker to break down the lectins in the peas) and then spoon some tomato sauce tarted up a bit with Bragg’s organic cider vinegar to taste more like the stuff the friendly pie cart man squirted on his wares in Adelaide.
          Rowena and I were sojourning in Cairns where we met a hilarious couple from Adelaide – he was an accountant, and remains the only hilarious accountant I’ve ever met – who first told us about the pie carts and regaled us with their traditions and lore. He’s a suburban Adelaide denizen and explained that around sunset his neighbors would gather by the local strip mall and wait for the pie cart to pull up. “You get Jaguars, Mercedes, even Bentleys mixed with Fords, Volkswagens and Ladas,” he said. “Everone hangs out together and chats pleasently about sports and politics and wolfs down their floaters. It’s all very democratic.”
          A couple of weeks later we were in Adelaide and attended our first pie cart service in front of the downtown casino. He was right. I was as hooked on the ambiance as I was on the floaters. I remain so to this day, over two decades later.


        7. Meat pie should be mainly meat, which is why the best meat pie is our own French Canadian tourtiere. Meat, spices and pie crust… perfection!


        8. Tourtiere…

          A French-Canadian dish usually made with ground pork/beef/veal or a combination, mixed with shredded potatoes, onions and spices. It is the spices that give it its distinctive taste, as it is usually some combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground cloves.


  2. On a holiday trip driving various parts of the US east in 1996 with numerous baseball-related stops, we were headed for Williamsport (from Gettysburg) but detoured to Lancaster as my wife wanted to ‘see the Amish’. Imagine my delight to find our journey around that area passed from Bird-in-Hand through Intercourse to end in Paradise. A metaphor for life, surely?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “…and everyone’s favorites – Blue Ball and Intercourse…”

    That’s almost as good as those famous Newfoundland places… Blow Me Down, Come By Chance, Conception Bay and, of course, Dildo.

    There are not many places that can boast as many weird and wonderful names as The Rock.


    1. Forgive me, nbjays, but it’s early (about 6:30 AM and I’m at work). I looked at your post and thought it said “Blue BELL and intercourse” in a friendly reference to the Texas-based ice cream maker.

      In which case you were truly mentioning two of my favorite things.


      1. Yeah, but the best thing(s) about Nova Scotia are the “mess,” which is poutine seamlessly blended with pan fried hamburger meat, and the Anne Murray museum in Spring Hill. They have her original prom gown!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Okay, I realize there is a difference between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, but I cannot think of anything on the Canadian Atlantic Coast without going back to “The Shipping News” by Annie Proulx. Seal Pie. I can’t say I have actually tried it.


        2. Gator, you forgot the original King of Donair on Quinpool Road in Halifax, which makes the best donairs I have ever eaten, drunk or sober.


        3. Missed it somehow. The couple of times I’ve been in Halifax I was too busy engorging myself on cheap lobster and watching the harbor, warily, for any hint of a fire on an ammunition ship. On the other hand, having lived in London for years and visiting it on average twice a year since, I set the bar for donair (or “doner,” as they call ’em across the pond) high enough to need a cherry picker to top it.


  4. My non apropos comment of the day: yahoo sports story of Mike Piazza’s ownership of an Italian soccer team. Looks like a bad investment. The story describes him as “Mets great”. F’in LA Dodgers traded him away.


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