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Don Kelly Pre-season Speech

October 2, 2019

Hey fellas



Finish your conversations and give me your attention, please.

Hi guys.

Thank you.

Wow, it’s so nice to be here and be your manager. I think we’re going to have a great season together.  I certainly have some objectives about winning games, but I sure hope we’re going to develop many life skills and grow as people too.

This team has so much potential. You are all such gifted athletes.  Think of all the people who haven’t been able to get to this place like you have.  You have an amazing responsibility and privilege as professional baseball players. There were times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the big leagues. But then I just told myself to stop thinking that, and so I didn’t anymore! That’s when I knew I could make it.

In this job we can all be a beacon of hope for someone.  I want to tell you the story of a girl. A girl who was being attacked by a black bear.  She could have given up and let the bear eat her, but she didn’t.  She said, “I need to live. I want to meet professional baseball player Don Kelly”  And you know what? She did live. I was able to meet her and give her a wonderful side hug.

In some ways that bear attack girl lives inside all of us.  When things are tough, when we miss a ball in the ceiling of the Metrodome or have our shoelaces ignited by a rascally teammate, do we give up? No! We need to summon our inner bear attack survivor and press on!

And we rise to challenges with pride in our work, not too much pride though, it’s more of a medium amount of pride.  Well, not pride really at all but an inner fortitude kinda is what I’m saying.

Some of you may have heard about “saber metrics”.  People tell me these are numbers that come from a computer.  Computers can be really interesting, but I’m more interested in the numbers that come from your character, your “own personal substance”. That’s the OPS I’m interested in, guys. You can measure a lot of things, but you can’t measure the girth of the bonds we share as teammates.  We become more than teammates, we become brothers, or brothers-in-law even sometimes.

So let’s go out there show our fans what we are all about: strength of character, fullness of effort, and smiles that warm the hearts of grandmothers!



A new endeavor

February 24, 2016

Jordan Hall and myself have started a podcast. It’s like a radio show without the burden of advertisements or listeners!

Give it a listenpodcastellanos


Better Michigan high school team names

December 29, 2014

High school team mascots have gotten better over the last few decades but they are still awful. It was smart to get rid of the Redskins and Indians and replace them with Red Hawks and Warriors but this does contribute to horrible sameness of the team names. How many more schools need to be the Bulldogs, Rams, Eagles, or Tigers? It all feels sort of bland.

Some teams get it absolutely right.  The Watersmeet Nimrods is awesome. The Sparta Spartans is perfect. The Holland Dutch (even in the face of a growing Latino population) just seems to fit. The Midland Chemics and Bad Axe Hachets are great.

You can have amazing, memorable team names without resorting to inappropriateness.

Here’s my list of improved Michigan High School nicknames (in no particular order):

(disclaimer: I’m not sure all these places even have high schools and I’m too lazy to look them all up, deal with it)

  • Wayland Smithers
  • Cass Tech Aztecs
  • Grandville Anvils
  • Covert Operators
  • Birmingham Burgers
  • Rockford Files
  • Belding Misters
  • Charlevoix Cowboixs
  • Gladstone Joeys
  • Clare Bears
  • Roscommon Criminals
  • Taylor Swifts
  • Dundee Crocodiles
  • Tecumseh Shermans
  • Saline Solutions
  • Flat Rock Flat Rocks
  • Coldwater Flaccids
  • Sturgis Turgids
  • Dowagiac Attack
  • Owosso Opossums
  • Ludington Luddites
  • Mason Jars
  • Bangor Sandmash
  • Marshall Mathers
  • Hamtramck Hammocks
  • Alma Maters
  • Manistee Rexes
  • Marquette ZeroDonnies
  • Niles Cranes
  • Charlotte Webs
  • Ontonagon Toboggans

Emily Yost

October 16, 2014

Emily Yost’s name has become synonymous, at least in North America, with proper etiquette and manners. We have the privilege today of having this esteemed expert answer YOUR questions about social graces.

NYT2008100715240854C Q: Dear Emily Yost,

My cousin, who lives one state away, is a terrible hostess. Her home is such a mess (think soiled clothes and piles of paper in the hallway) that I’m not comfortable having my family stay there when we visit. However, I don’t want to hurt her feelings by confronting her about her bad housekeeping. What should I do?

A: In this case I would call for a bunt

Q: Dear Emily Yost,

If a new acquaintance invites my family to dinner, are we obliged to return the invitation if we found her husband objectionable, bigoted, and rude?

A: It would probably be smart to move the runner over with a bunt

Q: Dear Emily Yost,

I’ve often been told that when you visit a new neighbor for the first time, it’s proper to give the host or hostess a bottle of wine. But I do not consume alcohol and do not want to be embarrassed by refusing to imbibe with them. I would love to know what gesture might be an appropriate alternative.

A: A nice bunt would be appropriate

Q: Dear Emily Yost,

My boyfriend’s mother wants to know everything about our financial situation—from what we make to the size of our debts. How do we explain to her that it’s none of her business?

A: Nothing makes things happen like a bunt, I would give the bunt sign

Q: Dear Emily Yost,

I’m getting married in October. My fiancé and I are over 45 and well established in life. Both of us have houses and have been married before. We really don’t need standard wedding gifts. Is there a way to ask for a gift card or just cash without being rude?

A: Bunting is a good idea here

Emily Yost is a syndicated etiquette columnist and American League manager

An Elegy for Fantasy Football

August 21, 2014

Oh, Fantasy Football, how sweet your glory days were to me. The excitement I felt looking up box scores in the USA Today deep in the haven of the middle school library. How I slumped over a borrowed paper spreadsheet and carefully hand-tallyed each touchdown and score. The joy I had in developing and communicating new rules to my fellow Freshmen team owners. The pride I took in photo-copying and distributing weekly updates. The mind blowing revelation that was online score keeping and management.

My cluster of friends would talk for hours about trades and players and strategies. We’d hang on every pass, every touchdown, every scoring permutation.

But, Fantasy Football, our time has come to an end. You don’t excite me the way you used to when my life had more empty spaces. The weekly task of researching lineups and looking over numbers is no longer a treat but a chore. My buddies and I used to have something special. But now you have whored yourself out to soft-drink companies and chicken wing restaurants. You are no longer about the joy of owning a favorite player, but the exacting calculus of value, value, value.

And so I say goodbye, with no small amount of melancholy. We had a good run you and I, but there are new loves in my life.  

Take care.

Image dump

August 8, 2014

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been over here at ol’ Brain Matters. It feels like a comfortable old pair of jeans that smell a little like Chinese food because you wore them to a greasy ethnic restaurant and never wash the jeans.

As you know my main outlet is still Twitter. Over the course of time I’ve posted stupid images and photoshops.  Maybe you’ve missed some of them so I thought I’d dump them all here for posterity.

Here we go!

Andrew Ermine, because…IDK.

andrew ermine



At the trade deadline there reports of escalating talks. This cat can relate:talking-intensifies-cat

Minor league jerseys are getting out of control. Especially this nude Prince prince


This was all a bigger part of the whole naked Prince Fielder ESPN cover fiasco.

Here is a mashup with Bryan Holaday’s swimsuit for modesty.

prince bryan suit

More naked Prince.

figurehead fielder ceiling

prince nude

The world cup was fun. I BELIEVE THAT WEEBLE WIN!

weeble win

Eastern Michigan reveled their new, gray field. I tried to talk them into being the Emus.



Grand Rapids got a new NBA D-league team

sex drive

Evidently the Tigers were a dumpster fire for a while.


Puig has some cold spots between the ears

puig heat map

Rick looked pretty bad ass during spring trainingexplosion

Contrary to previous reports, sometimes they can stop Don Kelly.can stop don kelly

I tried to make a mashup of all the things Chris Iott hateshate1



Darwin Barney

darwin barney

Jim Leyland cupid

leyland cupid

What did Brad think of this post?


Most stereotypical name on each country’s World Cup roster.

July 1, 2014

Basically, if you were creating a soccer player character for a novel which name would seem most appropriate?  Here are my choices.

Brazil: Paulinho

Cameroon: Aurélien Chedjou

Croatia: Ognjen Vukojević

Mexico: Francisco Javier Rodríguez

Australia:  Adam Taggart

Chile: Felipe Gutiérrez

Netherlands: Paul Verhaegh

Spain: Fernando Torres

Columbia: Carlos Sánchez

Greece: Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Ivory Coast: Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro

Japan: Shusaku Nishikawa

Costa Rica: Giancarlo González

England: Leighton Baines

Italy: Mario Balotelli

Uruguay: José María Giménez

Ecuador: Édison Méndez

France: Stéphane Ruffier

Honduras: Juan Carlos García

Switzerland: Fabian Schär

Argentina: Federico Fernández

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Avdija Vršajevićs

Iran: Rahman Ahmadi

Nigeria: Azubuike Egwuekwe

Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger

Ghana: Kwadwo Asamoah

Portugal: Fábio Coentrão

United States: Brad Davis

Algeria: Saphir Taïder

Belgium: Jan Vertonghen

Russia: Dmitri Kombarov

South Korea: Lee Chung-yong

The Beautiful Game

February 12, 2014

I have a confession to make and frankly it is rather embarrassing.

I’ve been watching soccer and enjoying it.

The affair started with some people on Twitter sharing about the English Premier League.  Then came the decision from NBC to air every single Premier League game live.  I decided to dive in and have been following Newcastle United for about a year now. Casually at first but now I find myself DVRing games getting mad when they lose (I’m mad a lot lately)

But the funny thing is, as pure sport, soccer is just “okay” for me. Perhaps it is just my American conditioning, but I much prefer to watch baseball or football.  Soccer seems too simple and the outcomes too arbitrary in relation to the skill of the team.  But in the simplicity there certainly is beauty.  There is a natural ebb and flow to the game. It’s more like watching an aquarium of fish swim around than it is a Bourne movie.

But soccer is more than pure sport, it’s a study in anthropology and geography. It has a whole culture.

For one it is a global game. Americans are not the best soccer players in the world. Even the word “soccer” would cause most people around the world to grimace.  To understand a big time soccer club you must understand the people, culture, and language of the other place. This flies in the face of American exceptionalism and is actually quite satisfying if you are willing to put down your Quarter Pounder and consider something outside of ‘Merica.

Being a soccer fan is different than being a fan of different sport. I dare say supporting a soccer club is more about the experience of the match than the team itself. There are flags and drinks and scarves and songs and a general festiveness that is different.

I’ve been a bit jealous of my friends on the east side of the state as they have a pro franchise, the Detroit City Football Club. It looks like a lot of fun. I see the supporters march over to Cass Tech from the local watering hole waiving flags and generally having a good time.  Why not on the west side?

What would a Grand Rapids franchise look like?  I’m no expert, but lets do a little thought experiment.


Detroit City F.C. plays in the National Premier Soccer League. They have a Great Lakes division with three teams from Michigan already in place.  Seems like it would pretty simple to add a GR team.


We need a place to play. A soccer only facility would be amazing, but it makes no sense to build something from scratch when we have ample spaces available. East Kentwood has a gorgeous new facility, but it is out in the suburbs. To me, soccer needs something urban, something, well, European.  This brings us to Houseman Field. The field is in an urban area, has had recent extensive renovations, and seats 10,o00 people. There are a couple problems. One, those pesky garish football lines. Two, booze. I don’t know how the Grand Rapids Public Schools, owners of the field, would feel about beer in (or at least around) the field. Beer is going to be an important component, because we’ll need a…


The biggest impediment for any fledgling franchise is money. In order to get money (to start) we need some sponsors. What better sponsor for a GR team than Founders Brewing Company? They are a growing brand and are growing their national reach with their ever expanding facility.  They have shown a interest in supporting other “fringe” sports like cycling and whitewater rafting.  Their clientele fits soccer perfectly.  Young, social, urban people with an interesting in having a unique, fun time without the baggage of traditional jock culture.  If the English have thought us anything it is that drinking a beer and supporting a soccer team go hand in hand.

founders kit home

Not only are we going to put their logo on the kits, we are going to NAME THE WHOLE FRANCHISE AFTER THEM. Grand Rapids Founders sounds great, the Founders name has roots in GR history, and, we can always fall back on Founders Bank and Trust to send us money!

I chose to mirror the colors for the kit based on the Founders logo because not only are we selling out to the brewery, but because they also look damn good together. Tell me you wouldn’t wear that shirt around town and be proud.


Yes,Grand Rapids is known for the river and for the Calder, but it is also known for furniture making. The quality of furniture from Grand Rapids was so good that other companies outside of West Michigan would name their companies or brands “Grand Rapids” to fool consumers into thinking they were getting Grand Rapids made furniture. In response, furniture makers in GR created this trademark:

grand rapids furniture

Here is another, cleaner, look:


I basically co-opted the look and darkened the red to match the Founders Logo. (I had a heck of a time finding a typeface that looked even close.  This one is okay, but I’d still like it look more like the original)

gr foundrs logo dark


Think of the people you see in a brewery on a weekday night or you see at the farmers market on Saturday morning. These are people who could support a team. Young, urban, professionals looking for something social to do.  Supporting a soccer team in America is something you do with a wink and a nod, understanding you are being a bit eccentric. Cheering on a soccer team is a borderline hipster endeavor.  I imaging people going nuts for it. Starting at Founders or Brewery Vivant and making their way to the field waving flags and wearing big hats. All the fun without the drama and posturing of going to Lions game.

Business potential:

Having a soccer team in GR would be a lot of fun, but this is more than just games. There is a huge potential for growth here. The Griffins and Whitecaps have proven success is possible in the more major sports and while soccer is young yet in America it is growing.  As concerns about head injuries mount in football and more and more kids are being raised with soccer, the demand for the sport will grow.

So, if any of you has lots of money, and wants to start a team, send me an e-mail and a blank check and we’ll get to work!

Macho Nacho – A Restaurant Concept

October 23, 2013

Why do we not have any nacho-only restaurants?!

Here is the menu:

Standard, $5.99: Bed of tortilla chips (triangles, of course), seasoned beef, melted cheese blend, onions, tomatoes, fresh salsa, sour cream

Deluxe $6.99: Bed of tortilla chips (triangles, of course), seasoned beef, melted cheese blend, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, black olives, fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole

American $6.99: Bed of thick cut potato chips, ground beef, melted cheddar cheese, diced onion, dill relish, Heinz ketchup.

Poor $3.99: Bed of tortilla chips (round…round seems cheaper for some reason), refried beans, warm nacho pasteurized cheeze product, canned salsa

Fancy $11.99: Bed of pita chips, choice of diced steak or seasoned chicken, melted gruyere cheese, organic garden fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole


September 5, 2013

Baseball has a language all its own.  Lucky for you I’m here to translate.

He was out on the bunt attempt, but it was a good idea

That was a terrible idea.

Sure, he was thrown out by 15′ at the plate, but I would have sent him there too

What the fuck was he thinking?! I’ll fall on the sword for my guy’s crap decision.

I was trying to establish the inside part of the plate. It’s important to be able to pitch inside

That guy is a total asshole, I was trying smoke him. I’d just walk up and punch him in the face if I could get away with it.

He doesn’t have an over-powering fastball

This pitcher is a pussy

We need to get him going

Damn, he is really sucking ass right now.

This is a young team

This is a shitty team

He’s scuffling a bit right now

He couldn’t hit sand if he fell off a camel

We just have to come to the ball park ready to play

We’re exhausted. Is this shit over yet?