The Wayback Machine… Tom Emanski
If you grew up watching sports in the 90s or the 00s, chances are you know the name Tom Emanski. The commercials for his baseball fundamentals videos were ubiquitous. The most famous of those was the one you see above, featuring the Crime Dog, Fred McGriff (who should totally be in the Hall Of Fame. It’s not a difficult leap, given how long those commercials ran, to think that the video series was very successful. Possibly more successful than you would even imagine. Fox Sports has a great article on the history of Emanski, that covers how the video series came to be.
There are some very interesting numbers included in there. The first video was released in 1986, and the commercials ran until 2007. What’s more, even though the commercials stopped, you can still order those same videos today. Amusingly, while they were eventually upgraded to DVD, you can also still get them in the OG VHS. Perhaps the most surprising number is how much Emanski paid ESPN for all of those commercial spots (estimated at over 50,000 airings). Up front, nothing. When the videos started, ESPN was not the sports juggernaut it is today. Because of that, Emanski was able to make a deal where ESPN would get a percentage of each video sold through the commercial.
The aftermath to the whole story is different as well. After becoming a household name in baseball, Emanski effectively disappeared from public view, leading to some wild internet rumors about where he may have ended up. The truth is less exciting, but his story is still completely fascinating.
Baseball according to Greg Maddux
You’ve probably heard that Greg Maddux is one of the newest members of the baseball Hall Of Fame. Deservedly so. He had an incredible career that included a span where he was otherworldly good. If you would like to hear a little about the philosophy that got him there, you have to have a look at this story at the Washington Post. I particularly enjoyed this example.
[expletive] Tony Gwynn! The whole thing is great, offering an interesting look at one of the greatest pitchers of our generation.
Things Are Different In South Korea
If you’ve been to a major-league baseball game, chances are you have seen them trot out some minor celebrity or corporate bigwig for a ceremonial first pitch before the game. It’s usually a rather forgettable part of the rather forgettable pre-game festivities. That’s not the case in South Korea. It seems that the ceremonial first pitch is a bit of a thing. Check out this video of rhythmic gymnast Shin Soo-ji.
Go ahead and watch it again. And again. Just to get your head around that. Interestingly, Shin Soo-ji isn’t an outlier. Deadspin has put together a collection of first pitch shenanigans. And those are just an entry point to another internet rabbit-hole if you start checking out the related videos on YouTube.
Missed it… by ‘THAT’ much
We’re all very excited to have Raul back in Seattle!