Saturday, September 13, 2008

Game 148: Saving the Nightcap

The Red Sox rallied from a 5-2 deficit, with one in the sixth, one in the seventh, and then 3 runs in the 8th to salvage a split with a 7-5 win.

Tampa split with the Yankees, leaving us two lonely games behind in the East.

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Pain

In game 147, Toronto's AJ Burnett choked off the Red Sox on 5 hits in an 8-1 loss.

Game 148 is ongoing, and we're losing, 5-2.


Great news from the Twitterverse-one of my favorite podcasts, “We’re Both Right”, is hopefully going to return to the air very soon. It is (well, it was-reportedly they went off the air because someone at their mutual workplace heard the podcast and objected to it) a half hour musing on pop culture, news items, and just general riffing between two regular guys. It had a quirky charm that I can’t easily explain. Hopefully they will be back soon.

Lots of dire financial talk across the podcasts today. From Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code to KCRW’s Left, Right and Center, things look black. Adam seems to be rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of financial Armageddon, and at times, I can sympathize. The metalhead in me just wants the revolution to come, but the adult in me knows that there will be plenty of suffering. It terrifies me that I have a child who is going to grow up in this world. I am certain I am not doing as well as my father did, and I am just as certain my son will not do as well as I am.

The blowback from the Palin/Gibson interview is, as they said on LR and C, a Rorschach (sp?) test for how you view the election. Right wingers seem completely oblivious-Palin did fine, they were all trick questions, blah blah blah….From what I have seen, it was an embarrassment. She was smooth, certainly-poised and cool-but her answers were either laughably false, wrongheaded, or batshit insane. I do not understand how people can defend this choice.

Does anybody else hear a sneer in Palin’s voice? I hear a very Bushian whine, a superior sounding, you’re-stupid-for-just-asking-this kind of nastiness that I find very offputting. The superiority of the conservative Christian.

I’m glad to see Palin being called a liar in the national press, finally. “I said thanks but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere.” That is a lie-an untrue statement. Factually incorrect. Wrong. Saying it again and again does not make it true.

I heard a very disturbing story-second hand, but still-someone who was traveling to Tennessee told me that someone told him that gasoline was approaching $5 per gallon there, and there were semi serious gas shortages-a la 1973, you pull into a gas station, money in hand, and are told, “Sorry. No gas.” Now, I realize that Tennessee is a big place, and I realize that this is third hand information, but is anyone from Tennessee reading this? Is this true? If so, why aren’t we hearing about it?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Game 146: Winning In the Rain

In Boston, in the rain, Tim Wakefield throttled the visiting Jays on 3 hits in a 7-0 win. The Tampa game in New York was postponed, and so that puts us 2 games out with 16 to go.

Death Magnetic is Here!

Metallica's ninth studio album, Death Magnetic, is out.

A word of praise here for Warner Brothers, Metallica's label. Some time ago, I signed up with Mission: Metallica, a website that promised an instant download of the album at midnight this morning, September 12, the album's release date. They had a number of packages on sale, and I chose one that combined the album download with a CD copy mailed to my house. I'm not sure why-the download would have been enough. I just did.

The download went through, of course, but in this MORNING's mail, I have my CD as well. I assumed the CD would come in 2 or 3 weeks, assuming their efforts would go towards seeing that the download worked and getting the CD into stores-at least the few stores that still sell them.

I just want to applaud Warner for doing what it took to make sure the album was here TODAY, on the release date. It obviously took some thought and effort on their part, and I appreciate it. Firstness is a stupid concept-the music isn't going to sound any different because I have it first. But it's cool. And coming from someone who stood in line at midnight for Metallica releases, there's something cool about having it in my hot little hands this morning.

Why can't book publishers do this?

You Can Do IT!

This article from The New Republic neatly encapsulates an attitude I have been having with myself for years.

If you can do it, that means YOU can do it. It doesn't mean I can, or others can, or anyone else can.

So typical of conservatives to see all failure as "well, you weren't trying hard enough." Like climbing to the top of the wall, kicking the ladder away, and then ridiculing the people at the bottom.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Idle Thoughts

Both Tampa and Boston are idle today. Tampa Bay is 2 1/2 games in front. Tampa goes into Yankee Stadium on Friday, and Boston welcomes the red hot Jays into Boston. After that, Boston goes into Tampa for another series.

It is September 11, 2008, the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Hard to know what to say about that.

One of the things I remember most clearly was hearing Carl Castle describe what had happened-I had gone into a grocery store to get milk on my way home from a doctor's appointment. The very first thing I thought was about the bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building by accident on a foggy day in the 1940s. I remember distinctly thinking, "Wow, what a horrible mistake to make."

In retrospect, that was obviously wrong-it was a gorgeous day. (I'm about 90 minutes from New York City-close enough where, generally speaking, we have mostly similar weather.) But that's what I thought.

My wife and I had hotel reservations and theater tickets for the next weekend, too.

Game 145: Too Wierd To Miss

After giving up on this game repeatedly, it sucked me back in. Finally, having run out of pitchers born after the Nixon Administration, Boston let Mike Timlin pitch, and, reliably, he gave up a 3 run homer to Northeastern's Carlos Pena to untie the game at 4-1. Boston made it interesting, though, allowing Troy Percival to load the bases with nobody out in the bottom half. Some kid named Hummel came on, and he managed to retire Our Man Youk on a Fielder's Choice, strike out the Bay State, and retire Cora on a fly to seal a 4-2 win, a series win for Tampa, and a 2 1/2 game division lead.

Both teams are idle tomorrow. I mean, today.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Game 145: What's wrong with the strike?

"This guy needs a new pitch. By which I mean a strike."
-Old Baseball Truism

Starting the Bottom of the Ninth, tied 1-1, Aussie Grant Balfour of Tampa walks Mike Lowell, American Hero. Replaced at first by speedy Alex Cora.

Mark Kotsay, Professional Hitter, up now.

The speculation is that Kotsay may bunt.

Rick Sutcliffe says there's nothing Mark Kotsay can't do in baseball-pitch left handed relief, drag the infield, sell popcorn, nothing.

Apparently "homer into the Monster Seats" isn't one of them, because Kotsay flies out to center.

One out.

Farmer Jed is up now.

Lowrie whiffs on a ball down by his shoetops for the second out.

Chris Carter, who did not direct the X Files movie, is up now.

Both teams have phenomenally deep benches tonight, because it's September. I think it was Bill James who points out how silly it is to play a whole month of the season under completely different rules than the rest of the year.

Chris Carter keeps his hands in and slices a workmanlike single into left field for a base hit. Nice work, kid.

Now it's Jacoby Ellsbury, who is at the same time incredibly talented and deeply overmatched.

Tampa has Chad Bradford, who has gotten more chances than Susan Lucci, warming up.

Ellsbury swings (at a ball) and sends a chopper to third, then beats the throw to first.

But he is called out, causing great consternation and vexation upon the faces of the people. But, according to baseball's iron law, he is out and always will be. According to the replay, he was safe.

But he wasn't.

Bonus Baseball, everybody.

10th inning, with Metropolitan District Commission on the hill. This does not give me a peaceful easy feeling.

I have a feeling he will let me down.

MDC does get a strikeout to start the inning. David Ross, another bright waiver pickup by Theo the Genius, is now behind the plate.

MDC gets the second out on a 3-1 groundout. Youk gave MDC a lousy flip, but MDC grabbed it and was able to make the play.

Willy Aybar? There's been a Willy Aybar sighting, everyone!

MDC does not get two very questionable strike calls to go 3-2 on Aybar. Grumble.

Aybar flies out to left, ending the inning. If that ball had gone for a hit, after he had him struck out twice, I would have eaten my hat. Fortunately for me, I don't wear a hat.

Bottom Ten

Our Man DP is up now. Chad Bradford on now. Chad Bradford has been pitching for 611 years, and always seems to have a good year, yet he keeps changing teams. Is he a colossal prick, or what?

And our man DP slices a double, neat as you please, into the right field corner.

Ortiz is walked intentionally, which is the right move, of course-DP is the winning run.

Now it's Our Other Man, Youk.

And Youk, after a couple of tantalizing fouls, pounds into a DP, sending DP to third, but now with two out. Argh.

Jason Sittin By The Dock Of The Bay grounds out. Argh argh argh.

Top Eleven

Fernando Perez lays down a bunt, but Farmer Jed makes a marvelous scoop and throw to just get him at first. Sweet.

Navarro now. Strikes out looking.

Gabe Gross now. Gross goes to two strikes and then doubles down the third base line. Ulp. Stay icy, big guy.

Jason Bartlett now, who couldn't hit when he played for the Twins, and MDC takes him to 0-2 right off the bat.

Bartlett battles, but grounds out to end the inning.

Bottom Eleven

Alex Cora battling against JP Howell. Thurston's son.

Cora grounds out on a nice play by Bartlett.

Mark Kotsay, professional hitter, now.

Kotsay hits a 45 hop single into center field.

Farmer Jed now. Lowrie walks, and here comes David Ross. What a time to park one, big guy.

I remember I owned him in rotisserie last year with the Reds.

Howell is changing speeds pretty effectively. Everything a different velocity and a different spot.

And Ross strikes out swinging, and Ellsbury is up again.

Ellsbury sends a tantalizing fly into center, but Perez runs it down. Damn.

Twelfth inning. I may have one more in me, but that's probably it.

Javy Lopez (not that one) now pitching.

Iwamura up now. Groundout.

Rocco Baldelli, the pride of Rhode Island, now. Groundout.

Pena strikes out to end the inning!


We GOTTA win it now, come on, guys.

Bottom Twelve

Howell still on.

Our Man DP first.

DP is hit by a pitch, and then Ortiz BUNTS him to second. (?)

Our Man Youk now.

Youk walks, and now it's time for the Bay State.

Jason Bay strikes out swinging. Argle bargle fargle.

Now it's Alex Cora, who is definition 2 or 3 under "Red Sox hitters you don't want to see up in a key spot, infielders division."

Cora hits a LINE DRIVE...........

right at Perez to end the inning. Son of a son of a sailor.

Work beckons. However this turns out, I'm going to have to summarize it tomorrow.

Good night, America.

Game 145: What's wrong with the bunt?

"What's wrong with the bunt?"

-Rick Sutcliffe

What's wrong with the bunt, Rick, is that it doesn't work. Sure, there are individual situations when a bunt, in retrospect, was a good idea-IE Ellsbury grounding into a DP with the men on first and second in the bottom of the third.

But you don't govern, and you don't manage, by anecdote-you are supposed to manage based on evidence. And the evidence is that the bunt, over time, does not pay off in more runs than swinging away does.

And Our Man DP proves Francona right by doubling into the corner, driving in Farmer Jed Lowrie to tie the game at one.

I am not in a snit anymore. Apologies were exchanged, and it's all good in the hood again.

Boston and Tampa are tied at 1 after three innings. Boston is 1 1/2 games out of first in the AL East, and 6 games up on the Twins in the wild card.

Apparently, the news from Patriot Land is worse, but not catastrophically so-Tom Brady tore TWO ligaments in his knee, but not all three, so he is on target to return for the 2009 season.

The Angels have CLINCHED the division, a downright silly thing to say at this point in 2008. They are the first team into the postseason.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ks are Wild (Game 144)

Scott K against Dice K, but this one slipped away, as a 9th inning 4-3 Boston lead was lost. Dan Johnson, who hasn't had a major league at bat since Sarah Palin was still pregnant, homered off of the Lord of the Dance, Jonathan Papelbon, who then went on to give up the lead run. Boston mounted a comeback, pinch runner Jacoby Ellsbury getting all the way around to third before Troy Percival got a popup to end the threat for a 5-4 loss.

Josh Beckett goes to the hill tomorrow in the series finale, which may be one of the final chances for Boston to catch Tampa.

Another day in the post Tom Brady era.

I am in a snit, though. I engaged in an exchange of emails with someone, and I am letting myself cool off before I respond again.

We have a somewhat significant difference of opinion, and our analyses of the situation are just plain different. I have made my case as calmly and rationally as I can, and I don’t feel like my point of view is being appreciated.

Unfortunately, my tendency, being somewhat verbose, is to try to explain it again, and again, thinking that if I only express it well enough, my point of view will prevail. It is an obnoxious tendency, I realize. A lot of people in my family are like this, and it is hard to take, on the receiving end.

So I’m just letting it be, as I tend to do these days, saying nothing instead of something that I may regret. Silence does not solve anything, but at least it doesn’t make things worse.

But the things left unsaid are just sitting there, burning a hole in my gut. Letting it go emotionally is another matter.

I played Metallica’s “The Day That Never Comes” at top volume on the way in to work today. That didn’t solve anything either.

On this week’s “Le Show”, Harry Shearer replayed a clip of President Bush, in Molly Ivins’ famous phrase, the only president we’ve got, speaking about the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition against “outrages upon human dignity”. “It’s very vague,” he concludes. It’s a pretty well known clip-I’ve heard it before.

No, Mr. President. First of all, just because you don’t understand something, that doesn’t mean it’s vague. Vague means unclear or uncertain.

Second of all, an outrage upon human dignity is simply, actions that would shock or horrify or offend an ordinary, sane, sentient being. Things that cause physical or psychological damage. Things like, oh, I don’t know, virtually everything you’ve done as President.
Another cute little remark was Bob Woodward, speaking on 60 Minutes about how his sources indicate that Bush is stunned that the Iraqis aren’t more grateful to US forces for all that we’ve done for them.

That one doesn’t even require a comment, it just stands on its own in the Stupidity Hall of Fame.

More interesting Palin talk on “Left, Right, and Center” last week. As always, Robert Scheer is my hero. He calls a spade a spade, and called out the Republican on the panel, Tony Blankeley, for the way Republicans historically have demeaned the service of veterans who aren’t, well, Republicans.

According to most news sources, McCain is surging in the polls, probably because of Palinmania. This is something I really cannot understand. Sarah Palin is a liar, plain and simple. She lied about the Bridge to Nowhere. Any time journalists spend not saying this amounts to malpractice.

I just wish lying still mattered in politics.

Keith Olbermann raises another excellent point on Monday’s “Countdown”-in reference to Palin, haven’t we had enough damage from politicians who believe they get their orders directly from God, instead of, say, the Constitution?

Olbermann also brings up the point, that I have seen elsewhere, that is hypocrisy on a grand scale for commentators like Bill O Reilly to criticize Jamie Lynn Spears’ parents for having “no control” over their children, and, at the same time, call questions about Bristol Palin out of bounds. Either teenage pregnancy is a criticism of your parenting, or it isn’t.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Game One of Sixteen: Atari Bigby Update

On Monday Night Football, Atari Bigby came up with a fourth quarter interception to help seal a 24-19 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Atari Bigby, of course, is the OFPWAFNOTB.

Game 143: Big Jon Stands Alone

In Fenway Park tonight, Jon Lester stunned the division leading Rays with 7 2/3 innings of 6 hit ball. Given a three run lead after his mates reached Edwin Jackson for three first inning counters, Lester ran the show until the other Big John, Jonathan "Tiny Dancer" Papelbon, took it from there with a four out save, number 36 on the year.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles debuted for Season Two tonight, and I got hooked right back in again. Excellent show.

The National Enquirer as News Organization?

"[I]t's worth pointing out that while the Enquirer may or may not be scrupulous in its choice of stories -- that's in the eye of the beholder -- it is pretty scrupulous about its facts. They win lawsuits. They've broken a host of stories the MSM guys couldn't."

-Conservative Jonah Goldberg on the National Enquirer's reporting about John Edwards

"And all of a sudden, the norms and standards become a blur in the race to be first. In the case of Palin, the press vaulted over every principle and standard they’d established about what is and isn’t fair game, like O.J. Simpson leaping over luggage in the old Hertz commercials. It required the Jaws of Life to pry news of John Edwards’ affair out the mainstream press."

-Conservative Jonah Goldberg on the press' reporting about Sarah Palin

Wonder what 'ol Jonah will have to say about his precious Enquirer when they start saying that Miss Ice Princess had an affair?

Interesting Point about Money and Baseball

"And they've got every right to be worried by the Yankees' financial juggernaut that will only become more imposing in the coming years."

-Rob Neyer, reacting to Larry Lucchino's statements about the new Yankee Stadium providing them with a huge new revenue stream.

True, but as always, it's not entirely the money-Boston's payroll was lower than Detroit's and the Mets' this year-it's how intelligently you spend it. And Tampa's still whipping our ass.

Well, this isn't good news.

Obviously, Brady's injury sends shock waves through the league and the fantasy world.

There will be the requisite cackling from Patriot haters, of course. The Patriots are fairly system-centric, though. Virtually any competent NFL quarterback should be able to function there, and the Pats will score points-but they won't have Brady's savoir faire.

Big, big news, and I don't think it is overstating to say, as Tom Jackson and Chris Berman did this morning on Sportscenter, that this tilts the entire balance of power of the AFC and the NFL at large.

Glad I don't own him, that's for sure.

My team did well in Week One-McNabb, Reggie Wayne, Burress, Brandon Jacobs, among others-and it sounds like I'm going to cruise to a win. I wonder how bad I would have screwed it up if I had remembered to actually attend the draft and make my own picks.

My baseball team is in the playoffs, too. Banner year for fantasy for me.


The Day That Never Comes

Embedded Video

A video for Metallica's "The Day That Never Comes".


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Game 142: We May Just Win This Ting, After All

Paul Byrd did that thing he does-6 2/3 innings, 100 pitches, 3 hits, 3 walks, 0 runs, while his mates beat former White Sox phenom Brandon McCarthy like he stole something in a 7-2 win in Texas this afternoon. Thanks to Tampa being swept by the Jays, as Monday dawns we find our little selves 1 1/2 games out of first, and two games out in the "all important loss column," as Bob Ryan likes to put it.

20 games to go.

Says it all...

This one post says it all for me....

Now this is interesting...

Apparently, according to Texas election law, neither Obama nor McCain are allowed to have their names appear on the ballot in Texas.


Too Hard On Miss Sarah?

Interesting piece in the New York Times about the paper's Palin coverage.

The tendency is for the right wing, as usual, when their precious narrative is violated by ugly reality, to scream and yell about bias and unfair treatment by the almighty liberal overlords in the media. But if you present Palin's qualifications to be her fight against corruption, you have no right to be surprised when someone points out that you took the Bridge To Nowhere money. When you present her qualifications as a multitasking Super Mom, don't be surprised if someone asks if it was the smartest thing in the world to take a flight while dripping amniotic fluid.

Reality has a well known liberal bias.

Are You Better Off Now...

Interesting George Will column, recasting the old political question, are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Am I?

I make more money now. I hate my job more now. My health is worse now, at least partially due, I think, to the stress of the job that makes the more money. I feel less in control now. I have more debt now. George Bush is still president of the United States.

My nephew Simon is here now. The Red Sox have won two World Championships, the first in my lifetime, since four years ago. The Celtics and Patriots have also brought home titles in that time. I have wireless Internet now. George Bush will soon not be president of the United States.

I don't know.

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?