Two years ago, while wondering why the dropped third strike rule exists in baseball, I wrote the following:

Baseball has some weird rules, but you can usually figure out why the rule exists by playing the alternative out to its extreme conclusion: It’s usually trying to prevent something from happening that people decided was unfair. For example, the infield fly rule exists because defenders intentionally let routine fly balls drop to the ground in order to get a double play, instead of taking the out.

I stick by that descriptive statement but I stand before you now to say this…

One year ago, I learned the news of Kobe Bryant’s death, just minutes after the story first broke, in a text message from my friend Murph. “Is this Kobe news real?” he asked. I had no idea what he meant. I was at brunch, in playground in the back, throwing a football to my sports-obsessed 5-year old. I immediately went to Twitter and typed in Kobe. “Wow,” I replied to Murph. “I hadn’t seen.” I threw my son a few more passes and struggled to figure out my reaction.

The thing is, I was never a Kobe fan. He was…

This can wait.

I can barely stomach writing about baseball. The negotiations between the owners and players are exhausting. But I want to discuss something else about those ongoing discussions. Over the past few months, I have seen baseball writers, fans, and politicians expressing some variation of the following:

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred:

“Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back. Our fans will be back, our players will be back, and we will be part of the recovery, the healing in this country, from this particular pandemic.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“America needs baseball. …

Over the last few months, writer Joe Posnanski has been counting down his Top 100 baseball players of all-time at The Athletic. Last week, he named Giants legend Barry Bonds at No. 3.

Barry Bonds could be a jerk, yes. But, like all of us, he is not monochromatic. He is complicated. In naming Bonds the third best player of all-time, The Athletic’s Joe Posnanski discussed Bonds’ reputation for being a jerk in the locker room. Posnanski writes the following:

*This personal thing must be said here: Barry Bonds was always nice to me. There was no apparent reason for…

Over the last few months, writer Joe Posnanski has been counting down his Top 100 baseball players of all-time at The Athletic. This week, he named Giants legend Willie Mays as Number 1.

It’s a name that really sings, doesn’t it? Willie Mays. Say it out loud, but say it quickly. Willie Mays. For 70 years, that name has echoed on streets and playgrounds, ball fields and school yards. Willie Mays. Imagine little kids across the country in 1951, when Willie debuted with the New York Giants, hearing that name dance out of their radio. Willie Mays. Imagine it rolling…

Bruce Bochy managed his last game for the San Francisco Giants last Sunday. I paid a mint to be there. My wife asked why it was so important. I considered her question a moment and said, “The man had a large part in a half dozen of the twenty or so happiest moments of my life.” And then I thought for a few more moments, and confirmed in my mind what I had just said. In terms of pure, unadulterated joy, he really did. So, I had to be there to say thanks. …

It’s a TOB Only Week: Exactly one year after this amazing photo was taken, these two lovebirds are tying the knot this weekend. Congrats PAL and NML!

Why Are We Still Discussing This? MLB Needs to Mandate Immediate Extension of Protective Netting to the Foul Poles

Last weekend, a 3-year old was struck by a foul line drive off the bat of Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians. At this time, the extent of the child’s injuries are unknown, but he was seen rushed up from the stands in the arms of an adult, presumably his father. This incident came on the heels of a similar incident in May, where the Chicago Cubs’ Albert Almora, Jr. fouled a ball off that struck a toddler in the head…

Each week we read the internet, and bring you the best stories and why you should read them.

by Thomas O'Brien and Phil Lang

NFL player Josh Norman leaping over a bull at Pamplona.

A Bum and His Boch

The Giants may be on the verge of trading Madison Bumgarner, a pitcher who helped win three World Series titles, and practically won the third all on his own. Some fans are practical: He’ll be a free agent, he’ll cost a lot, the team needs to rebuild by replenishing the farm system, and he’s one of the few marketable assets. Other…

While watching last year’s U.S. Open, I saw an ad for this year’s tournament, played at the relatively close Pebble Beach Golf Course. My friend Phil and I decided to attend, and purchased tickets a year in advance. Neither of us had ever been to a golf tournament before, nor had we been to Pebble Beach. We decided attending both Saturday and Sunday was the perfect plan. We could try a few spots and vantage points on Saturday, and use that to inform our plan of attack on Sunday.

The night before we left, the reality of the fact I…

California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced State Senate Bill 50 (“SB 50”) late last year, and the bill caused quite the uproar. Although a vote on SB 50 has been delayed until 2020, SB 50 is not going away. Earlier this month, Wiener went to Palo Alto to state his case:

Wiener, 49, said SB50 is the answer to the state’s 3.5 …

Thomas O'Brien

Thomas O’Brien is an attorney in San Francisco. When he’s not busy attending sporting events, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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