The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Three B's

• After 12 years of living in the East Village, I'm Brooklyn-bound. On Thursday, my wife and I signed a contract and put down a deposit on a 1,250-square foot apartment in downtown Brooklyn, one that will allow me to have a dedicated home office AND keep a room in reserve for a Jaffe To Be Named Later, not that we're "expecting" yet. The unit is still under construction and we won't close for at least a couple of months, but it's a very exciting development even if it does take us out of Manhattan. Most of our friends have long since moved to Brooklyn, and we desperately need the space, as we're coming up on four years in a 450-square foot apartment that requires us to go outside to change our minds. The downtown Brooklyn area is a bit raw at the moment (which is what made our space so affordable), but with a ton of civic planning in the pipeline, it's set to undergo a major facelift over the next few years.

In other words, we're now carpet-bagging, gentrification-chasing scum. Ask me how I feel about that when I won't have to double-stack books on my bookshelves or schlep a good quarter of my stuff into storage. Ask my wife how she'll feel when she's able to shut the door to my office and avoid the ever-growing pile of books, magazines, mail, computer cables and assorted whatever that's practically reached sculpture status during this past offseason. Ask me about the dining room table that will finally enable us to eat like adults on a daily basis, not that we'll actually do so because when else would we watch the previous night's Daily Show?

The baseball angle, of course, is that I'm finally moving to the borough where my favorite team originated, and only fifty years too late. I intend to do all of those historical things like tracking down the Ebbets Field plaque and the Washington Park wall that I've never done because frankly, I don't know my way around Brooklyn yet. Finding them will be part of my learning experience.

I have already come across one very cool baseball-related monument not ten minutes from my new home. It happened by accident when Andra and I were casing the neighborhood for the first time on the day after our bid was accepted, and it stopped me in my tracks. At 215 Montague Street, on the outside of Commerce Bank, is a plaque commemorating the fact that the Brooklyn Dodgers' front offices once resided on that spot. In those offices, on August 28, 1945, Dodger President and GM Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to an agreement to play for the Dodger organization, thus initiating the chain of events that allowed him to break the major-league color barrier less than two years later.

For somebody who can turn Chapter Six of Ken Burns' Baseball in to a three-hanky special, it was a total goosebump moment. Stumbling across the plaque by happenstance felt like a good omen. And soon I'll be able to see it just about anytime I want.

Anyway, you can read more about the plaque here.

• As announced last week, Baseball Prospectus 2007 is on the New York Times Bestseller List for the first time in its 12-year history. The March 18 list had BP07 at #15 on the Paperback Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous list, while on the March 25 one, we're up to #9. Look out, What to Expect When You're Expecting bitchez (ironically, published by BP's former publisher).

A reminder that I'll be on the promo trail for BP this week and next:If you're not in the area, see the BP events page for local listings in your market (not that all are as well-served as the Tri-State area).

• Last weekend, I got my copy of Bombers Broadside, which is now shipping from Amazon.

It's a nice piece of work, 112 pages of glossy, full color, pinstripe-flavored content about the current team as well as its illustrious history -- including features about the 1977 champions, and Babe Ruth's (in)famous "Called Shot" -- sure to appeal to Yankee fans, and featuring a roster that includes myself, editor Cecilia Tan, Alex Belth, Mike Carminati, Vince Genarro, Gary Gillette, Mark Healey, Derek Jacques, Tara Krieger, David Laurila, Dan McCourt, and Pete Palmer. I'll wager a guess that more than one of those names means something to those of you reading this, so cut yourself a slice. Belth's bittersweet piece on his childhood memories of Reggie Jackson and his recently deceased father is worth the price of admission alone.

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