This is the first part in what will be a very special mini-series covering the fascinating history of “The Gas House Gang”. Join Paulie over the next few weeks to uncover not just a story about baseball, but one about ourselves… -Jay

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There have been many memorable teams in the storied history of baseball: McGraw’s feisty Baltimore Orioles squads of the Gay 90’s; his NY Giant teams which dominated the early decades of the 20th century; the powerful Cub squads of the first decade of the 20th century; the several dynastic periods of Connie’s Philadelphia Athletic Mack-Men; the immortal Yankee dynasties of Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Jeter; the Bums of Brooklyn in the 40’s-50’s; the Big Red Machine; Earl Weaver’s Orioles of the late 60’s-early 70’s; and, of course, Charlie O’s mustachioed masters of the diamond, also of the early 70’s. All of these teams were powerful; some were awesome; and, many were endearing. But, none of them were as colorful as the St. Louis Cardinal’s Gas House Gang of 1934.

The Cardinals, a perennial losing team, both in the standings and at the box-office, were owned by Mrs. Britton. She was rumored to be looking into selling the club to buyers in another city. A local insurance executive came up with the idea that local merchants would invest in the club by buying stock. In 1917 Mrs. Britton agreed to this arrangement. Each investor who bought $50 worth of stock would receive one ticket which was to be used for one kid during the season. These were called Knot Hole Tickets, and an entire section was set apart for what was to be called the Knot Hole Gang.* The consortium of businessmen agreed on Miller Huggins as manager and, by a unanimous vote, agreed to pursue Branch Rickey as Club President; at that time Rickey was business manager of the St. Louis Browns. The head financier of the group was Charles Breaden, a notorious skinflint. He later became President of the Cardinals and worked closely with Rickey.

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My first piece of advice to you is: Don’t do this…

Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, and seeing as how I have done this, let’s discuss. First off, you might be curious what access to the API gives you. You might even be curious what exactly an API is (still not sure). Or maybe you’re just wondering if that attractive co-worker of yours has ever hooked up with anyone in the office (she has).

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The time has once again arrived to get wild and crazy with my procrastination! Wait, is that the right word? No. No it’s not. That’s actually my life strategy. Prescientinism is probably the word I’m looking for. It’s a totally made up word, but whatever. So here I am, back to bring you 11 BOLD (bolded for effect) predictions that may or may not come true. (Probably not.) If you missed it, last year, Eno Sarris of FanGraphs and I had a gentlemen’s battle to the death (because that’s what gentlemen do) over our predictions. Much to my sadness, I lost by only getting three right to Sarris’ five. To be fair, I got really close on a lot of the spewed boldness, so if you like pleading and excuse-making, well then technically it was a tie. But a new season brings new hope and something-something wax poetic, so let’s get bold AND beautiful (just like your mom)…

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It’s official because we don’t deal in unofficial. Whatever that means. Which is nothing, if you’re wondering. But it does make this post feel more important. Delusions of grandeur? That’s my life story bro. And that also might describe the life story of many here who reside at Razzball HQ. Which is basically our basements. With bountiful supplies of Hot Pockets and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Oh, wait, nevermind. Sky called, he want’s his everything back. Jokes on you buddy. I’m keeping the Hot Pockets. So, where were we? Oh, that’s right, delusions of grandeur…and Hot Pockets, it happens to the best of us. And that’s why we make these picks. Because we think we’re right all the time. Except for me. I’m just very wrong. Jay Wrong. (/turns off Sean Connery accent.) But don’t let that stop you from looking at our well-thought out (MAYBE) picks for this upcoming 2015 season. (Now with more Grey and Rudy!) We all can’t write a 1500 word exposé on these players, so you get this nifty assortment where you’ll gain a general sense of which players we like and which we don’t. All in a simple box for you to stare and giggle at. Kind of like what you normally would do if you were looking at Tehol‘s well, you know, simple box.

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Frank Grimes of Sunnyvale, California! He was lucky number 401 of the 993 submissions in our Win a Free Awesome Dell XPS 13 Laptop Like the One I Use! contest. I am psyched that the randomizer function I ran picked a longtime reader/commenter (Frank’s been commenting on Razzball since 2013).

My condolences to the 992 of you who failed to win (none of you are losers in my book) and those of you who failed to enter the contest. If you are in the market for a laptop, though, I do give a Fred McGriffian endorsement to the Dell XPS 13 laptop. Below is my review of the laptop from the original post in case you missed or forgot it.

Thanks to Dell for providing the free laptops (I got one too). I look forward to seeing my avatar and endorsement stamped on Dell laptop boxes going forward!

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I thought a fair amount about what the topic should be of my second article, and while I would have been happy to continue waxing theoretically about what a fantasy baseball bot might look like, I figure people probably want to see some actual code or at the very least pseudo-code. You’ll settle for some pseudo-code, right? Great.

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xps13_1160b-100249349-origI have been saddled (by employers) with mediocre PC laptops for years. Most companies have their IT
groups recycle (aka ‘refurbish’) laptops to save costs. Inevitably, all but a couple people end up with 3-year old models that are heavier, slower, and lamer than the latest/greatest model (kind of like comparing a Miguel Cabrera 2014 to Miggy 2011).

Just as my latest laptop started acting up, an e-mail popped into my inbox from Dell. They wanted me to test drive their XPS 13 laptop and share with all of you my thoughts on it. As an incentive, I could keep the laptop and give one out to our wonderful readers. Wow, last year I got a free book to review. This year, a laptop. Just putting it out there that Rudy could use a non-minivan to drive around in…

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This was a yearly tradition until I didn’t do it last year, so I’ve decided to bring it back and make it a semi-annual tradition. Semi-annual traditions are better anyway. They’re not as stuffy as annual traditions, being run by a timetable and whatnot. They come and go as they please. ESPN Fantasy Baseball is the number one result in Google when you search fantasy baseball. Yay, for them. But what are people searching Google for when they find Razzball? Since it’s a holiday, I decided to break away from the normal schedule of 2015 fantasy baseball rookies and look at exactly what people do search Google for when they find us. These are all queries straight from our analytics. Last year, we had our biggest year. Over 15 million people found us. (I think about 14.9 million found us with the search query “What is SAGNOF?” Neverthehoo…) That’s a big Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us here at Razzball. On a side note, I was hospitalized the last two nights with a kidney stone. Why has no comic book hero ever faced a 4-foot tall villain named Kidney Stone? A millimeter-sized one is incapacitating, forget a dwarf-sized one. As I lay in the hospital, I thought about what a lousy way to spend Thanksgiving. Then Cougs posted in the comments the other day what was happening with me, and I realized this wasn’t a bad way to spend Thanksgiving. This was spending it with some of those that I am most grateful for. You. Oh my God, go to the hospital for two days and suddenly you sound reborn into a sap. I’m fine, out of the hospital now, but I might be a bit touch and go until Monday. Anyway, here are 20 actual Google searches for people who found Razzball and my answers to their Google searches:

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Well, it’s about that time folks. I’ve taken a small break from running Razzball Football to go over how my 2014 Bold Predictions turned out. If you remember, 2013 was a fantastic year for me, as I got zero predictions correct. So by “fantastic”, I mean a total sh*t-fest. Which is also Nickelback’s favorite venue. Of course I had to up my game, so showing no proof whatsoever that I knew what the heck I was doing, I decided to take on Eno Sarris of FanGraphs, mano a mano, or, in this case, mother’s basement a mother’s basement, and have a prediction competition of the ages! All of them…

Here were the terms: Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has agreed to take on your very own lovable and quite handsome Jason Longfellow (yes, that’s my name, don’t wear it out) in a duel for the ages. His bold predictions will battle my bold predictions for COMPLETE AND UTTER SUPREMACY. Sort of like Highlander. We certainly need more Sean Connery, that’s for sure. And what’s at stake in this epic battle? Heads? Lightning swords? Shinobi’s? Naw. It’s beer. That’s right, beer. Whomever get’s the most predictions right, well, the loser has to buy him a six-pack of the beer of his choice. In this case, Eno has chosen DC Brau. Great selection, but it might come with side effects such as too much hipster and listening to Mumford. My choice? Koko Brown, because Hawai’i is the greatest thing ever known to man besides ice cream and blow jobs.

Here’s what happened…

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You’ve sat by your computer and wondered aloud, how far can the Razzball tentacles stretch, while people nearby have shushed you for talking to yourself. Well, the unruly ivy that is Razzball has just grown itself a new branch — we’ve started to cover fantasy soccer. Next thing you know, we’re gonna have fantasy bocce ball with your host, Luigi. Alas, for now, it’s footy, futbol, the sweet protective shinguard of sports, soccer. A longtime Razzball writer, Smokey, and Ralph will be heading (get it?) the soccer side of things. I can’t wait to see what they say about fantasy soccer without using their hands. That is part of the rules for writing about soccer, right? They should make that a rule for everything to do with soccer. Concessions? Delicious, but must be eaten with your feet. By the by (like the rest of this isn’t a side note on top of side notes), what do they serve at soccer games? Can’t serve hot dogs, that’s baseball. Hamburgers are football. Malt liquor and hoochies in thongs are basketball. What’s soccer? Seems like they’d serve something like kefta kebabs. Oh, wait, is it a soccer game or match? Do we have our first branch of Razzball that is a match? Match sounds so tennis-y and that’s so girly. No offense, four girl readers. Fantasy Soccer: We Get Flop Sweat Without Using Our Hands and We Mean The 2nd Definition of Flop Sweat on Urban Dictionary. What? That’s our motto.

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