Classic card of the week

Derek Bell, 1996 Upper Deck "Strange But True" series

This is the third time we have approached the subject of Derek Bell around these here, and other, parts. What can I say? Operation Shutdown is an operation that is near and dear to my heart. And as if Operation Shutdown were not strange but true enough, there seems to be even more strange but true aspects of Derek Bell’s game, and his refusal to play it well and/or at all:

The title of this strange but true episode is, “To Catch a Thief.” Interesting to note that, according to Wikipedia and following Operation Shutdown, “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” sports columnist Mark Madden summarized the incident with "Derek Bell becomes the ultimate Pirate: Lives on a boat and steals money." No other information on the Wiki page alludes to Bell living on a boat, but if he was indeed doing just that, then that is like, the best headline ever. Unrelated to accusations of stealing, Bell was eventually caught for drug possession. My knowledge of pirates begins and ends with Captain Jack Sparrow, but I think it’s safe to say that pirates use drugs, too. So there’s a lot of evidence here of Derek Bell being an actual pirate.

*Tangent: Only because “To Catch a Thief” reminds me of something else … whenever I am flipping channels and “To Catch a Predator” is on, I have to watch it. Have to. I feel like this is wrong, but it is so horribly fascinating that I cannot look away. One thing I always wondered though—they like to draw in the predator with a plate of cookies. Somebody has to bake those cookies, right? Who is responsible for baking the “To Catch a Predator” cookies? Do you think this person brings up this fact at parties? Do you like the cookies? Great! Ya’ know, they’re the same ones I bake for ‘To Catch a Predator!’ Yeah, really! Wait—don’t spit them out!” End tangent*

On June 19, not only did Bell walk on ball five when the umpire miscounted,

I will never understand how this happens. I’m all for humans, but how long is it until computers are calling baseball games? It seems like umpires only exist to protect some perceived sanctity while sacrificing accuracy. You will never convince me that when they appeal to the first or third base umpire on a checked swing that the umpire is not completely guessing. He’s like, Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow … wait, why is everyone looking at me? Ummm … think fast … {Dramatic fist pump} Yer outta here! For strike one! Yeah! Still got it. Whew. I better start paying attention though. What day is today?

but in his next at-bat, the Houston outfielder also reached base and was caught stealing twice in the inning due to an error.

First of all … what? You can’t get caught stealing twice, because if you get caught stealing once, you are required to return to the dugout. If an error was involved, you still were not “caught” stealing. Because of the error. If they are alluding to the fact that the “error” was an error on the umpire’s part in calling him safe with the replay proving otherwise, then a) wow, b) I reiterate my earlier sentiments re: umpires, and c) it’s still not getting “caught.”

Also, and I understand he probably figured he was playing with house money at this point, maybe Derek Bell should stop trying to steal bases. It’s quite possible, however, he was just living out the motto of the cartoon inset here, which reads, “If at first you don’t succeed, slide, slide again,” implying that even if there is a short brick wall in front of the base you are attempting to steal—in this case, “second base,” as the sign helpfully points out—you should simply slide headfirst into this wall repeatedly because … why not? Baseball! The manager in this cartoon reenactment is Dusty Baker.

Did you know?
Chris Hansen is doing important work, yes, but man is that dude smug.