The lovable, anachronistic bullpen phone

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I was barricaded deep within my fortified compound for the weekend, cut off from most forms of media. So this now makes — I think — the third neat story that ran in the New York Times over the weekend that I had missed and that I’m now seeing. It’s about how dugouts are one of the last places where you’ll find land lines being used outside of your grandmother’s house:

The seed-strewn dugouts of baseball stadiums around the country may very well end up the final bastions of corded communication in this wireless era. While landlines in homes collect dust and serve increasingly decorative functions, the attitude among baseball clubs is a familiar one in a sport tied tightly to old-fashioned ways: why change what works?

What follows is a surprisingly neat story about the development and advancement of bullpen phone technology. Technology that still adheres to wired, rather than wireless, communication.

Of course if anyone would bother to dig deeper they’d realize that the wired communications and lack of network integration in ballparks will render the dugouts and bullpens unaffected by the infiltration program used by the Cylons to disable Colonial vessels and defense systems which employ the Command Navigation Program developed by Dr. Gaius Baltar.

Which basically makes Tony La Russa the new Admiral. So, yeah, frak.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.