Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jumpball and Shootout (NHL and NBA Roundup, weeks 4 and 1)

Terry Francona will be the manager of the AL All Star Team at Yankee Stadium.


First off, we go with the guys on skates. Call it seniority, they've been playing longer.

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers: The winning? Good. The hitting? Bad. The color scheme? Ugly.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Wasn't too long ago that these guys were basement dwellers. Good to see them doing well for a change.

NY Islanders: Okay, dude, Islanders, I know you get the least coverage of the NY/NJ teams (well, at least in Jersey), but c'mon. Stop showing the rest of us up!

NY Rangers: Apparently they've finally realized that winning games is a good thing. That, or that they're probably the only team capable of winning say, oh, more than 20 games in the Garden this winter.

NJ Devils: Dude, guys, you're playing at home, it's okay, you can win now. Please?

Ottawa Senators: Officially dubbing them the TEAM TO BEAT in the East.

Montreal Canadians: Just because you make it to Overtime doesn't mean it's okay to start losing.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Back up to .500, well done.

Boston Bruins: Still above .500, but probably the team in Boston no one cares about right now...

Buffalo Sabres: C'mon guys, you need to give Buffalo fans something to cheer about!

Carolina Hurricanes: I won't lie. It amuses me greatly that the sports team with the greatest success in the Carolinas is the hockey team.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Winning at home? Excellent. Not a single win on the road? Not so good. Even the Devils got three wins on the road.

Washington Capitals: Take a lesson from the Devils. You do eventually need more than just a goalie to win games.

Florida Panthers: What is it with Florida and losing sports teams?

Atlanta Thrashers: S--t. They now have more wins than the Devils. Good news, though, they still have more losses.

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings: Why do they even bother playing the season? Just have them lace up in April, and all will be well. Detroit is hockey, and if it's not it pretty well should be.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Dude! You took my advice! SWEET!

St. Louis Blues: Keep it up and you'll play a few more games in April.

Chicago Blackhawks: Don't worry, the Bulls are going to start playing tonight, they'll put you out of your misery.

Nashville Predators: Well, there's still the Titans. For now,.

Minnesota Wild: Good. Better than Ottawa? Not yet. Could they be before season's end? Yes. Team to Beat in the West? Not while Detroit's still doing their thing, but certainly up there.

Calgary Flames: Finally realized it's hockey season, eh huh?

Colorado Avalanche: Sorry about the Rockies, guys. Don't worry, the Nuggets have 'Melo.

Vancouver Canucks: Winning on the road is good. Losing at home? That's both bad AND ugly.

Edmonton Oilers: I thought you guys played for the Cup in 2006? What happened?

San Jose Sharks: Well, if you've got 29 goals scored and 29 goals scored against, I guess that means you're the epitome of a .500 team. So why are you in first?

Los Angeles Kings: I thought you guys were supposed to be bad, is this a Halloween trick?

Dallas Stars: You disappoint me. Such a great advertising campaign, and you, so far, have failed to live up to it...

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: *insert lame A-Rod joke here*

Phoenix Coyotes: Should we start writing their team in fifth place with permanent markers?

And now, the NBA:

Eastern Conference

Toronto Raptors: You guys really miss Vince, don't you? I stayed at the Plaza hotel one night in NYC, and you guys were spending the night there, Carter's rookie season, but my dad wouldn't let me wait to get Vince's autograph.

Philadelphia 76ers: My brother's friend David, a 76ers fan, has this to say: "the 2007-2008 76ers will struggle to win 30 games and will be lottery bound."

Boston Celtics: Easily the most improved team in the East, but with everyone in Beantown still oogling over the Sox, the Patriots and BC, who will notice the guys in green before, say, February?

New York Knicks: Let me point and laugh. Every day you don't fire Isaiah is a day I laugh a little bit more.

New Jersey Nets: My team, and I mean my team. I followed this team back in 1998 and the lockout season of 99, and through all those baaaad years, so now that this team can win games on occasion, I feel that much more pride. Kidd, Vince and Jefferson are gold if they're healthy, and Kristic finally is!

Milwaukee Bucks: I know nothing about them, except that Sam Cassell once played there. The Packers are more entertaining for now.

Indiana Pacers: They miss Reggie, don't they? Maybe he'll come back and coach some day?

Chicago Bulls: Well, we all know they miss Michael, but at least now they seem to have finally, for certain, gotten over it.

Detroit Pistons: Hopefully last year's conference finals loss will put an end to that whole arrogant streak. Yeah, last year Cleveland owned Detroit...

Cleveland Cavaliers: Made it to the finals last year, a great step, easily the best of the east, but now they need to be better than the West. And King James rules.

Miami Heat: If you're a Heat fan, you better start praying the preseason wasn't a forerunner of the season...

Charlotte Bobcats: I know nothing about this team, sorry, but it is still an expansion team, right?

Washington Wizards: Using Harry Potter as a mascot? Good. Using Albus Dumbledore? Might ruffle a few feathers. Of course, I don't imagine they're using either, but it'd be a brilliant marketing strategy...

Atlanta Hawks: What is it with Atlanta and teams named for different types of birds?

Orlando Magic: See entry on Wizards.

Western Conference

Utah Jazz: Ascribing to the 'play game, win game' philosophy so far. For one game.

Seattle Sonics: Whoever correctly predicts where this team plays next year gets a present.

Denver Nuggets: 'Melo!!!!!! Seriously, the guy was amazing for Syracuse, and is STILL amazing. He donated enough for us to have a new athletic facility, and is more or less like a campus g-d.

Minnesota Timberwolves: No KG? Why am I gonna bother to watch?

Portland Trailblazers: Almost feel bad for them, because nothing seems to go right...

Phoenix Suns: Heh, I just remember a game when the Nets scored 75 against them in the first half.

Sacramento Kings: Don't know anything about them--don't even know if Webber's still playing. Still, they're better kings than the ones in LA.

LA Clippers: That "other" team in LA. If you think the Mets/Islanders have it bad in New York...

Golden State Warriors: Does Cinderella become an ugly stepsister this year?

LA Lakers: Jackson is the Zen master, but apparently he can't Zen Kobe. Oops?

San Antonio Spurs: Best team in the NBA, a true dynasty. I don't know if that should bother me, but it doesn't. Tremendous respect for the team.

Houston Rockets: Any time I think of this team I think of Yao.

New Orleans Hornets: First full season back in New Orleans, wishing nothing but luck for them. However, what, exactly, they're doing in the Western Conference I'm not sure I understand.

Dallas Mavericks: They'll be fine in the season, but what, exactly they do in the Postseason is still up for grabs.

Memphis Grizzlies: Know nothing about them, and I'm tired and don't feel like looking. Win a few games, guys, and I will.

Heard Joe Girardi on the Michael Kay radio show and loved what I heard. 2008 is gonna be great.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Sun Also Rises

(Thank you, Mr. Hemingway)

The darkest hour is just before dawn.

I’m not always one for overdone clichés, but this one seems to hold a particular resonance with me right now.

When you consider that on Sunday night Yankee fans were hit with the double whammy of archival Boston winning the World Series AND Alex Rodriguez not only opting out of his contract, but insulting the team by refusing to meet with them as well, it’s quite amazing that today seems, all and all, to be such a good day.

Joe Girardi was named manager; while all three managerial candidates were good, most people I’ve talked to (including Brent over at The Bronx Block and Andrea at Joblog Chamberlain ) agreed that Girardi was the best choice. He’s got a very different style than Joe Torre, did wonders for the Marlins in 2006, winning Manager of the Year, and has both played and media-ed for the Yankees.

While Mattingly will not remain with the Yankees, which was the proper option (and if you listen to Mattingly’s press conference, the guy is NOTHING but class), Tony Peña will, and by many accounts, including Pete Abraham, Peña is a class guy that is very close with the kids, and, well, if you saw the picture from the interview, Peña’s got some great fashion sense as well!

Joe Torre landed a gig with the Dodgers, which is great for two reasons: 1) Torre was a Dodger fan growing up, and 2) as an NL West team, the Yankees are unlikely to be concerned with them, except in the event of the World Series. Torre fans can still root for Torre and not feel bad about it.

Oh, and case you didn’t know, it’s been mentioned that Paul O’Neill, a guy whose name is more or less synonymous with drive and winning, could come back as a coach.

Yes, the Yankees need a third baseman, an entirely new bullpen (save Mo), and there are questions about right field (though Abreu’s option is likely to be picked up), 1st base and starting pitching, but one can’t help feeling that we’ve left the era of 2004-2007 (excepting June-September 07) when the Yankees were more a collection of stars than an actual team.

Because A-Rod opted out when he did, and the Yankees, once Torre announced he wasn’t coming back, did not take forever to name a new manager, the Yankees will likely be able to negotiate with Mo, Posada and Pettitte all that much sooner. In fact, Mo was in Tampa today (yesterday?), with his agent. Obviously there’s no reason to rush to a conclusion, but it’s a distinct possibility that whatever Mo wants, he’ll get (unless it’s 10 years and $250 million, of course). Same for Posada.

Are the Yankees a lock for the playoffs in ’08? Of course not, but ask yourself if the Yankees were a lock for the playoffs in ’07 anytime before they went 19-9 in July, and Seattle had the adolescent teenager of all collapses (the mother belongs to the ’04 Yanks and the father the ’07 Mets). Ask yourself if the Yanks were a lock for the playoffs in ’07 in April and May, as even while A-Rod was the Yankees, the team was only 21-29.

2008 is a year where the Yankees have the All-Star Game and that is also the last year of the old Yankee Stadium, a year where we’ve got three pitchers under 24, a year where Derek Jeter can not just be the captain in name.

Is it likely that 2008 will pass without at least some sort of memorable, classic, history-making moment?

Didn’t think so.

Every journey, even one to twenty-seven World Championships, starts somewhere. Sunday, yesterday and today we took the first steps.

A Welcome Letter to Joe Girardi

To Joe Girardi--

Welcome back! We've missed you!

You will find that while much has changed, there are still some things you will find familiar: Derek Jeter is still here, King George is still around (even if it's the princelings Hank n' Hal doing most of the work), anything other than a World Series is a'll remember it well!

You will also find that there are a few things that need to be done before April, such as finding a third basemen. Wilson Betemit is good, yes, but you do need someone with that Aaron Boone or Scott Brosius ability to play CLUTCH in the playoffs...speaking of which, I have it on good authority (namely, Tyler Kepner's blog) that Aaron Boone is a free agent. I'm not advocating anything here, just find it a wee bit amusing. Anyway, you might also want to hire a proper bullpen, and proper bullpen coach, but you knew that.

Please be advised of the following:

Damon plays best in left.

Wilson can't hit from the right. Shelley can.

Shelley could probably kick Chuck Norris' ass bare handed, so be careful.

Alberto Gonzalez has probably never actually been to the White House, and unlike the chap that shares his name, he should be used for defense only

Bronson Sardinha is not a fish...and neither are you!

I still need season tickets. Bleachers will do just fine.

Good luck in 2008,


PS: You did a great job with Jorge. Never properly thanked you for that one, so Thank You!

Yankees' Classic Moments, Week Three

As the news is likely to come that Joe Girardi has been named Yankees' manager today, I offer this classic Girardi moment:

On July 18 1999, Girardi was the Yankees' starting catcher. The game was an interleague game against the Montreal Expos (the future Washington Nationals), and the starting pitcher was one David Cone. Remember here?

Anyway, Girardi pitches as Cone pitches a 1-2-3 first. And then a 1-2-3 second. And a 1-2-3 third. There's a rain delay (I'm not sure when in the game it comes, but it does), but Cone and Girardi go back out there, and continue to have these 1-2-3 innings...

Suddenly, it's the ninth inning, and no player from Montreal has reached base...C. Widger strikes out, R. McGuire flies out and O. Cabrera fouls out to third, and David Cone has pitched a perfect game.

And Joe Girardi has caught it.

(They never give catchers enough credit for catching these, do they?)

Letter to Joe G. coming when the news is made official.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Open Letter to Alex Rodriguez

To Alex Rodriguez--

Hi. Like legions of Yankees fans everywhere, I found last night exceptionally painful to bear.

However, I'm not angry.

I'm disappointed.

I had thought that maybe this year you really did want to win, that maybe you weren't lying when you said that you wanted to stay, that you wanted to play in New York. That you would settle for a World Series.

I see that it is not the case.

I see now that you will do only as Scott Boras tells you, and I must say that as long as you keep that up, and keep playing only for the money, your legacy will be just as tarnished as others whose names are not worth mentioning.

Manyt of whom we call the greatest icons, such as Don Mattingly or Ray Borque or Cal Ripken, Jr played nearly their entire time for one team, even during some of their team's darkest days. You can't fault Borque for going to Colorado to win a Stanley Cup--20 years with one team is no small legacy.

What is your legacy with the Yankees? In the four years you were here, we had the greatest choke in baseball postseason history, and then failed to make it out of the first round. The Yankees were not Jeter's team, even though Jeter was the captain. Sure, in 2007 there were spots of promise, but on the whole they are not four years we will remember fondly.

My gut tells me, a few years from now, we'll consider the events of last night and today as the real turning point for the Yankees, the beginning of the return to greatness.

The Yankees of '96-'01 knew it well.

No player is bigger than this team.

No player is bigger than this game.

When you come to this conclusion and start to play accordingly, you might again find me as one of your supporters.

Until then,


(I have a prospective letter for Joe Girardi but will not post it until the news has been made official, that he has accepted the job).

And I'm Freeeeee, Free-Falling (Random Baseball Trivia Week 3)

Sheesh, I give you all more writing like you asked, and no one reads it? Does wonders for my psyche =P.

(okay, okay, A-Rod, opt out, etc...I get it...)

Well, after last night, the only appropriate topic for RBT would be something concerning free agents.

I could give you all the nugget that Scott Boras is not my favorite person, but I have a feeling you guys already know that.

So I have this nugget for you all:

The first baseball free agent did not play in the 1970s, like many of you probably think, but instead in 1937.

The player is named Tommy Henrich, he is one of the oldest baseball players still alive, at 94, and he was a free agent after his team had failed to resign him or release him.

As would be fitting, Henrich played for the Yankees.

here and Here.

I will be back with a more substantial A-Rod posting this afternoon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rock Bottom (World Series Game 4 Postgame Notes)

[edit]: I need to not write these sort of posts immediately following the game...

The Red Sox do deserve to be congratulated on winning the series; I have a few close friends that are Sox fans, and I am happy that they are happy.

I'll admit it: This is a dark day to be a Yankee fan.

Any other team wins the World Series while not playing the Yankees, I can easily congratulate them for a job well done...with Boston, every bone in my body repels at the notion, even though it's the classy thing to do.

The pinstripe pride runs too deep in my veins.

Colorado tried to play today, they managed to keep it close, a one run game, but it was too little much too late.

The simple conclusion that can be drawn is that the National League simply is not on the level of the American League. At least, not this season, not this October.

Colorado had a great season, and should not despair. Winning 21 of 22 is no small feat, especially given the time they did it and the situation they were in. Just one other loss and Colorado would not even have made the playoffs.

As a Yankee fan, it won't be easy to go to sleep tonight, knowing what lies ahead, but then again, beating A-Rod and Boston in 2008 will be all that much sweeter...

Breaking News Yadda Yadda...

Take this with a grain of salt. It might just be a stunt by Boras, who I really, really don't like and that's not easy for me to do if I've never met someone, but we'll find out soon enough.

This has more or less been confirmed by ESPN and Sweeney.

Sports Illustrated is reporting that A-Rod is opting out of his contract.

When I don't have massive thesis work to do for tomorrow, I will work on a proper post, but this is one of those news things that you just have to 'stop everything and post' or something.

My basic, quick take?

If you don't want to be in New York, we don't want you here. It was great while it lasted, but truth be told, I'm not that fussed. A-Rod's been one of the marquee Yankees from 2004-2007, and with the exception of June-September 2007, they aren't exactly years (baseball wise, at least) that I'd like to remember.

Again, tremendous respect for what A-Rod did for the Yankees in four years, not too fussed about it, and will have something more impressive to post tomorrow or the day after.

WS postgame notes coming at the appropriate time.

The Season, Part 3

If you've missed the previous updates, you can find #1 here and #2 here

I've gone to doing three character upddates/chapters/whatever you call them a Sunday--if I've timed it right and I think I have, I've set up to finish the week before or week of Opening Day 2008.

I love timing.

Please remember that all work is (c) Rebecca Glass, and all international copyright laws apply.

The Season, Continued

#21 Terry Jones, First Baseman, sixteenth year.

The best part of the baseball season to Terry Jones isn’t in September or October. It’s not even in April. No, the best part of the baseball season comes in February, when he boards a plane from Hope City to Florida. It’s right now, at the start of Spring Training, when the possibilities seem endless, that he’s at his happiest. Anything can happen, and that’s the way Terry Jones likes it.

It’s all fun for him, buying a coach ticket on the airplane, and then having all the young boys on their way to Disney World come up to him, ask him if he really is Terry Jones, and then get his autograph. He never refuses a boy (or girl) that says please and thank you, though adults are another matter. Sixteen years, now, he’s done this.

Sixteen years and this is his last.

The thought hits him, cold and hard, as he sits in the airport, waiting to board the plane. It wasn’t really a hard decision to make—his contract’s up at the end of the year, the team can’t afford to keep him and the young pitchers they want, and he doesn’t want to play anywhere else. Sixteen years is a long time to play in any league. He doesn’t have a ring yet, and it’s kind of odd that the left fielder his rookie year is now the team manager, but he’s been to the Championship, the All Star Game, and everything in between. He’s been married twelve years to the same woman, three kids…there’s no reason for him not to think he hasn’t spent the past sixteen years in Heaven.

He’ll miss it, for sure, Terry thinks. Since he made the announcement three months ago, he’s gotten offers to coach, even to manage for some of the weaker teams in the league, but Terry’s decided against it. He would rather be in the broadcast booth, a broadcaster that actually knows what he’s doing…(he even already made up his home run call!) They wouldn’t even have to pay him, Terry thinks, he’d do it just for fun.

The absurdity of that idea makes Terry’s smile grow even larger. It’s not the most attractive smile ever, but it ranks pretty high. His hair’s still mostly blond, though some white streaks have slipped in, and his eyes are as vibrant blue as ever. He does need glasses to read, though his wife, Linda, keeps on begging him to get the laser eye surgery. He’s the second tallest member of last year’s team, and he has enough muscle mass that it makes him seem shorter. He’s let the stubble on his face grow in a bit, he doesn’t bother trying to hide his age anymore.

The first person to come up to him isn’t a child; it’s a teenage boy, probably no more than fourteen. He’s wearing a Knights t-shirt, so Terry prepares for a slate of insult, but that isn’t what comes out of the youth’s mouth.

“This is really corny, but you’re the reason I play baseball.”

“You root for the Knights though…” Terry laughs as he says it. It’s not the first time anyone has ever said this to Terry, but it doesn’t make it any less special.

“I know, but our first baseman sucks.”

“Is that what you play?”

“Yea. I don’t hit well, though, but neither do you, and if you can still play, well, so can I.”

“Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to hit.” Terry smiles. It’s good to know that this fan knows that he has weaknesses, that he’s not perfect.

“I do, I’m just not good enough. I don’t have any power.”

“Try lifting weights. It will help. It helped me…I never hit for a lot of power, but I did get my average up. I was maybe two-twenty my rookie year, but I’m usually around three hundred now. You get a hit, even a dinky single, three out of every ten times at bat, and you’re going to go far.” It sounds like a lot of advice, even though it’s only a little bit. Still, it’s probably more than the boy ever expected to hear.

“I know that’s what I should be doing, but my coach says I should try supplements as well.”

“Well, a protein shake now and then won’t hurt, but be careful. It’s not a long road from shakes to…stuff…you understand?”

“Yeah. You never touched stuff, right?”

“I…no.” Terry hesitates before answering. The truth is he never knowingly touched anything, but there were those few years, back in the nineties, when everyone and his brother was doing something. The trainer tried to get him to take what he called ‘protein pills’. He tried it once, and knew immediately something wasn’t right, so he made up a lie about a stomachache and never did it again. The guilt, however, has stayed with him. That was the year he had thirty-nine home runs, and he’s never come close to that in any other years. The papers that supported the Knights started all sorts of rumors, and for a little while, Terry was scared that his one mistake would be caught.

He lucked out then: the trainer was caught by someone else in September that year, and Terry was the first to sign up for the drug test to prove he wasn’t on anything. He passed with flying colors. Terry Jones, the face of the franchise, Spartan in the truest sense. It was one of his better moments, the papers said, though he didn’t feel that way. How many on the team that year were caught out? Pete Towers nearly lost his job, even Charlie Haus came under fire…it really wasn’t a good moment. Thinking about that year is enough to wipe the smile from Terry’s face, but when he brings himself out of it, he sees the boy still standing there.

“Kid, promise me you’ll just do weights? That you won’t do stuff?”

“Sure,” the boy says, a bit bewildered at Terry’s suddenly serious tone.

“I mean it.”

“Okay. I promise.”

“Good. Where are you sitting on the plane?” Terry turns jovial again, as if trying to make amends.

“Twenty-one E.”

“Well, I’m a lucky one!” Terry laughs, “I always pick row twenty-one, because of my number, and I’m in seat F. Guess I have someone to talk baseball with on the flight, instead of reading the Journal!”

The boy tries to discern if Terry’s serious, so Terry shows him his plane ticket, seat number marked. The boy is momentarily rendered speechless, and again Terry’s thoughts dwell on how much he loves this moment, how much he wishes, right now, that it wasn’t for the last time.

# 32 Richie Haus, right fielder, tenth year

Richie Haus used to love the beginning of spring. The beginning of spring means baseball, and how could anyone not love that?

Easy enough, Richie thinks, when every year it’s the same questions from the same people: are you really good enough to play? Should you really be playing for a team your father owns? Doesn’t that insinuate preferential treatment?

For the first few years, the stats spoke for themselves. Thirty home runs, eighty RBI, never more than ten errors in a year…but it’s not been the same since he hurt his arm, and he knows it. Since he dislocated his shoulder four years ago he hasn’t hit more than fifteen home runs, hasn’t had more than fifty RBI, hasn’t made the plays he needed to make. He’s still good at taking walks, and hitting above two-fifty, but even he knows other managers would have sat him long ago.

A stronger person than he would ask for a trade, Richie thinks, a trade to a team that would be able to play him or sit him without worrying about any repercussions. Still, it’s not like his father has forced Pete to play him. In fact, there were a few times last season when Charlie Haus told Pete to sit Richie…more than a few…but playing anywhere else just wouldn’t feel right.

So the beginning of spring has become a bit of torture. He’s still not perfected his answers to any of the questions; he hopes that somehow, magically, he’ll regain his form. He conditions like hell in the off-season, going every day to the best gym in the country. He takes batting practice at least five times a week, usually more. He is dedication, and he never has anything to show for it.

He’s in the batting cage at the Spartan’s complex in Florida. He’s trying to crush each ball that comes out of the machine, and he’s missing a fair few of them. His thoughts keep distracting him. He’s got to look silly, he thinks, his big, hulking mass swinging and missing pitches coming out of the cage. He looks like an All Star and he’s hitting like a rookie.

The only other person in the cage area is TJ Redd, the second baseman, who’s been here every day since the doctors gave him the go-ahead to swing. Even after missing the entire second half of last season, he’s still swinging better than Richie. TJ broke his wrist last season after diving after a ball, something that Richie’s legs won’t allow him to do anymore.

It’s seeing TJ do what he can’t that makes Richie wonder why he signed on for another year. Something keeps drawing him back to the game, but he’s never quite sure what it is. It’s not even winning a championship—it would be fun, but the pressure of the playoffs has always dropped his already meager stats. It’s not the fans, they like to boo him, call him all sorts of names he’d rather forget, blame his father and Pete for ceaseless nepotism. It’s not the joy of the game, either. There’s little joy left when each at bat is as disastrous as the one before it, and balls any respectable outfielder would catch are dropped.

It’s more that Richie hasn’t given up on proving himself. Somehow, despite it all, he always thinks that he’ll be able to show everyone that he deserves his spot on the team. He’s got to prove it to himself. He can’t let them win.

He hits the next ball so hard it dents the wall.

#9 Micah Garcia, pitcher, fifth year

“You’ve never had a problem with that before.”

“I’m not doing anything wrong, I’m throwing it like always.” It’s hard to make out Micah’s words at first, lost in his heavy Dominican accent. When he first came up, Micah could not speak English at all, so despite the accent, it’s a remarkable improvement. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his pitching. The pitching coach, Steven King, makes that all too clear with his expression: his blue eyes, which often speak louder than his words, hold no answer.

“Well, it’s only February. We’ve got time to work on it. Anyway, the change has never been your best pitch.” Steve is soft-spoken to the extent that it almost seems like a father telling his five year old son that the sun is not about to explode.

“No, it’s only Spring Training…just need to throw it more.”

“I agree; it’s the second week of Spring Training, not the second week of July. I wouldn’t get too worried, but we should fix what you’re doing wrong.” The words of Steven go a long way towards reassuring Micah, but still…

Micah’s tiny for a pitcher. He doesn’t have Paul Green’s baby face, but there’s nothing intimidating about him. He looks like exactly what he is—a dirt-poor Caribbean kid, seen by the right guy at the right time, suddenly thrown into the world of professional baseball. There are many that can’t handle the transition, but until now, Micah has absolutely thrived...which is why the sudden inability to throw a pitch is all the more troubling.

“What am I doing wrong?” Micah stands on the mound on the practice field, Ben behind the plate. The other pitchers are scattered around the outfield, pitching at targets or each other, waiting their turn with Steven. The rest of the team is in the cage; they’ll take the field in the afternoon. The sun is bright, a bit too strong for Steven but exactly what Micah likes.

“Go through your delivery slow, and I’ll see what I can pick up.”

Micah takes the baseball, grips it appropriately, set himself on the rubber, brings his leg up and throws the ball towards Ben. There is something stiff in his elbow, but that’s not on Micah’s mind. What’s on his mind is how the pitch misses Ben, going high past his outstretched hand and bounces against the backstop.

“Qué es?”

“Hmm…” Steve pauses, which signals to Micah that he doesn’t see anything immediately wrong. “Your leg work is fine, so whatever’s going on is going on with your arm. You aren’t throwing your arm across the body, so it’s not a shoulder issue. It’s either your grip or your elbow release. How are you gripping the ball?”

“Like this,” Micah says, taking the ball back from Ben, and holding it in the appropriate change up grip. Ben walks out to the mound to join the conversation.

“I think it’s an elbow thing,” Ben says, but his words seem to go unheeded by Steven, who repeats the same.

“It’s got to be an elbow issue.”

“Okay…” Micah looks at both Steven and Ben. Between the two of them, Steven understands pitching mechanics a bit better, but Ben’s quicker to spot an injury. That the two of them agree on something—that Micah’s problem is an elbow issue—is a promising start, but the trouble will be getting them to agree on something else beyond that. “Well, what do you think?”

“Did you stretch right?” Ben seems to say it just to get the words out first, to try to assert his importance over Steven. He’ll make a great coach or manager someday, Micah thinks, but now’s not really the time.

“Yes, I stretched like I always do.” The response seems to take a bit of life out of Ben, but transfer it instead to Steven.

“It’s probably as you said, just that you haven’t thrown in a while. Why not try throwing some fastballs, making sure you’ve got that working for you, and then we can come back to the change?” Steven is almost deferential, but it’s deceptive. He is optimistic to a fault. Micah knows this, so, like the rest of the pitchers for the Spartans, he is careful. He learns to read Steven, to understand when Steven’s really concerned, and when Steven’s not too fussed. Right now, Micah senses a mild concern; the fact that it’s still only the second week of Spring Training is weighing on his mind.

“Okay, I’ll try the fastball.”

“Good, let’s see how that goes.” Steven smiles, and Ben returns to his position behind the plate.

Micah takes the ball, grips it in the more comfortable fastball grip, and sets. The fastball is his best pitch; if he can’t get it past ninety-four, there’s reason for concern. He deals, Ben manages to catch this one, down and away, and Micah glances up at the scoreboard, for the automatic radar gun.

It reads ninety-two.

Three and Out (World Series Game Three Postgame Notes)

So I did not see any of this game past the fourth inning, but then again, I'm not sure that there was any reason for me to do so.

Colorado, quite simply, has played overmatched.

When the American League team's pitcher gets a hit that drives in two runs, there's an issue, and Colorado is now as up against the wall as you can get.

Josh Fogg, the "dragonslayer" was supposed to be brilliant, but he couldn't make it out of the third inning. If you can't make it past the third inning, you probably shouldn't be starting a game in the World series, but who knows. Maybe Fogg just 'didn't have it' could have been the pressure of the World Series, who knows?

The nine days off seems to have been nothing but a horror story for Colorado, but again, who knows?

They weren't supposed to make the playoffs at all, six games out with twenty to play, but they had a miracle in them then.

Maybe there's another miracle in their hearts as well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Profiles In Pinstripes, Week Two: Joba Chamberlain

Last time we honored the Yankees of the late nineties and early 00s by profiling Derek Jeter, so this week it's only apt that we profile someone that is a critical part of the Yankees' future!

The Yankees have three "superstar" rookie pitchers, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy. Drawing from a hat, today's PIP goes to Joba!

As you probably know, Joba's first name was originally Justin, but his cousin calling him Joba stuck, and he legally changed his name. He is, of course, the only Joba pitching in the major leagues. You also probably know about him being raised by his father, Harlan, who survived Polio, and about Joba being of Native American heritage, and of him being the seventh-youngest major leaguer in 2007.

You, uh, have also probably heard of that thing they called the "Joba Rules". I'm still waiting for my "Joba Rules" T-shirt.

Joba made his major league debut with the Yankees on 7 August 2007, in Toronto. In a sign of things to come, he struck out the first batter he faced, and then proceeded to pitch two scoreless innings.

Actually, in the end it was over fourteen scoreless innings. Joba would end the season with a 0.38 ERA, which is so crazy that even Mo doesn't have an ERA like that.

Though he pitched in a much-needed bullpen capacity in 2007, Joba will come to Spring Training 2008 as a starter, his original position.

How awesome is Joba?

In his Yankee Stadium debut, his name was chanted not after he won a game or pitched his first inning, but after he got the first two batters out that he face.

Brian Cashman would not trade him.

He will be a fixture for the Yankees for a long time to come.


I will be spending tonight dressed up as a Greek Goddess/Muse/Thing, assuming I get the costume finished on time, so I probably won't get around to posting postgame notes until tomorrow, after the sun has risen. As a Yankee fan, I hope going home strikes a nerve for Colorado!

Friday, October 26, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day, Week 2

I was talking to my friend Bill, when I asked him what concept I should choose to explore for this week's YLSNED (ils-ned?). He suggested I go with saves, and I responded by saying that most people know what a save is, and then he, a life-long die-hard Red Sox fan (the horror, I know) said that he didn't completely understand the rule.

I guess without Mo on the mound, they just aren't as pretty.

So, in response to Bill, I present:

The Save Rule

A save occurs when a pitcher ends a game under a set of certain circumstances. The pitcher must NOT be the winning pitcher, have pitched at least one out, and he satisfies one of the following conditions:

1) He enters the game with his team up by three runs or less and pitches at least one complete inning. Easy enough. This is where Mo is at his kick-arse best.

2) He enters the game with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. Thus it is possible to get a save if your team is up by five runs: let's say the Jays are up 5-0 on the Devil Rays in the ninth. Carl Crawford singles, BJ Upton walks, Delmon Young is hit by a pitch, so the bases are loaded. Some dude (Dioner Navarro?) is up at bat, and the dude on deck (oh, why not make it Carlos Peña) then represents the tying run. Thus, a save situation is created, because if Peña scores, the game will be tied, and the Jays' bullpen will have blown yet another ninth-inning lead, but that's besides the point.

3) He pitches at least three innings. This is the circumstance in which the last pitcher for the Texas Rangers, Wes Littleton, pitched on that 23 August (I think) game against Baltimore where they scored 30 runs. It didn't matter that Texas had a 27 run lead; because Littleton pitched three innings, he got a save. This is not a type of save that most closers will ever get, because most closers pitch only one inning, and only in a stretch will they pitch two. Unless you're Mo and it's game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, but then it's not a save because the game was tied and your team has to be winning to get a save.

A Blown Save occurs when a pitcher enters the game with an opportunity to earn a save (called, aptly, a save-situation), but allows the tying run to score.

Even if the pitcher (let's make him K-Rod, just 'cos), holds the game tied and then his team, on the road, comes back to take the lead and he, K-Rod, takes the mound in the bottom of that inning, he can't get a save. He can, however, get a win.

Blown saves are not officially kept, but most stat keepers keep track of it.

So that's the Save Rule as of 2007. It's generally not a very questioned rule, but when Littleton did get that three-inning save, there were a lot of '...buh?' and '...wha?' that went around.

Always give credit

And now I need to work on my costume, it needs to be finished by tomorrow night!

On the Rocks (World Series Game 2 Postgame Notes)

At least this is what a World Series game is supposed to look like--a close, low-scoring, one run affair...

...but it certainly did not feel that way.

I don't know about you, but I had to check my TV constantly to see that the game was still only at 2-1; the way Boston pitched and reached base, I thought it was 4-1 or 5-1.

So it seems the Colorado pitching staff woke up today, and decided to stop playing zombie...and if only the offense could do that as well!

Matt Holliday might be the National League MVP, but he did the most un-MVPish thing possible when he got picked off in the eighth inning, killing a potential rally. Sure there were two outs, but if I learned one thing this postseason, it's that you can never rest easy until the third out is made.

Curt Schilling did one of those better-as-the-game-goes-on performances, which is never any fun for the opposing team, because then you realize that you had a huge opportunity (like the first) and you missed.

Still, going back to Coor's Field will be good for Colorado. Will they win the World Series? Never say never, but they have their work cut out for them.

I wonder if a World Series game has ever been snowed out...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blades of Glory (NHL Round-up Week Three)

If you're looking for Week 8 NFL Picks, you can find them here. I thought yesterday was Thursday and I forget that tomorrow's Friday, not Saturday...oops...


Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers: Dunno what they're doing, but they're doing something right. Six and two in a probably underrated division is nothing to laugh at, which kind of sucks for us Devils fans...

New York Islanders: Will someone please tell these dudes that just because the Red Sox are in the World Series does not mean it is the 1980s all over again?

Pittsburgh Penguins: More or less where they should be, except they got the wrong teams in front of them and the wrong teams behind.

New Jersey Devils: It's a slow start and Brodeur's high GAA is worrying, though a portion of that, no doubt, is the Devils' lack of defense. However, they finally play their first home game on Saturday, and, my guess is, at .500 or better before I go home for Thanksgiving.

New York Rangers: Pardon me while I point and laugh. Dude, you are tied for fewest amount of wins in the league, and, uh, you lost to Atlanta, an 0-6 team. I thought you were supposed to be good?

Ottawa Senators: 8-1 with the highest PK percentage in the eastern conference? Got my vote for the best team right now. It's gratifying to see a Canadian team do well...but of all the Canadian teams, Ottawa might be the one I least want to do well. Oops.

Boston Bruins: Funny seeing these guys up here, I know, but apparently the Sox and Pats and Celtics have teamed up together to rub off on these guys.

Montreal Canadians: What's this? Another Canadian team above .500? Yay! Maybe the Maurice Richard movie is benefiting team morale?

Toronto Maple Leafs: 37 goals scored? Good. 42 goals given up? Bad. Please understand that the basic rule of hockey is to score more goals than your opponent.

Buffalo Sabres: I know having 80 degree weather in late October in upstate New York is whacked out, but c'mon. You guys play indoors.

Carolina Hurricanes: Maybe the most underrated team in the East. Apparently hockey works better in the South than baseball. Who wudda thunk it?

Tampa Bay Lightning: Get yourself another line and then we'll talk.

Washington Capitals: I ran into a bunch of Caps fans down in Maryland. You're starting to depress them by fading...

Florida Panthers: Like the Jets and Miami, you guys will never have to worry as long as the Thrashers are playing in your division.

Atlanta Thrashers: A couple years ago the Devils beat you lot 9-0. Why am I thinking that we'll see such a score with you lot at the wrong end of it before the season's over this time around?

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings
: Again, did you honestly expect them anywhere else? There's a good reason Detroit's a hockey town.

St. Louis Blues: 91% PK usually does a team good. Too early to tell if the team is for real for real or just off to a quick start, but should be interesting to watch.

Chicago Blackhawks: Odd to see them up here, but well done. Anyway, the 3-3 record at home isn't a good sign; generally you want to make sure you win all of your home games.

Columbus Blue Jackets: You keep playing like junior high kids, I'll start treating you like them. C'mon, just ask your Minnesota brethren: winning can be fun!

Nashville Predators: Whoever thought it'd be a good idea to give Atlanta a run for their money was...uh...wrong. Very, very wrong.

Minnesota Wild: It's really gratifying to see a team do so well in a city where the sport means so much, like when the Yankees win in New York or the Cowboys (ycch!) in Dallas or whathaveyou.

Calgary Flames: Back where they belong.

Colorado Avalanche: Ok, I give you this week cos everyone cares about the Rockies right now, but when the Rockies win it all (or not), try to start winning, okies?

Vancouver Cancucks: You lot are better than this.

Edmonton Oilers: You lot are WAY better than this.

San Jose Sharks: 1-2 at home and 4-1 on the road? Who do you think you are? The Devils circa 1999?

Dallas Stars: Will probably overtake San Jose. Who would have thought hockey would be a hit in Texas?

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Uh, aren't you lot supposed to, like, be defending the cup? What good are Niedermeyers if you don't defend?

Los Angeles Kings: Well if you try hard enough, maybe you'll be good enough to overtake that other SoCal team?

Phoenix Coyotes: Guess deserts and hockey don't mix.

Back after Game 2 with postgame notes. In the meantime, I've got a costume to finish and a few books to read.

Your Chance To Do Some Good

This morning I received an email from Tom Kackley, the clubhouse manager for the Trenton Thunder, asking if I'd mind linking to a charity auction he is running in support of a domestic violence charity.

This is part of the email:

"I've been working in baseball 20 years, all at the minor league levels. Ten years ago, about a week before opening day, my wife's sister was murdered by her husband. I was angry for some time over the fact that I didn't get the chance to do something to save her. So, since then what I do is raise her son, and now this auction.

Hope you can help. Thanks."

Being the good little internet soldier I am, I went and researched to make sure the auction is legit, and sure enough, it's linked to on the home page of the Trenton Thunder website.

The auction itself can be found here. It's a nice collection of minor league memorabilia, including some Ian, Joba and Phil autographed pictures, balls and baseball stuffs.

You can read about the Domestic Violence Project here, and you can see the link through the Trenton Thunder homepage here

Domestic violence is on my unforgivable crime list, and it should be on your's as well. Give the auction a look-see, and help support a good cause.

Back later with NHL Round-up. I feel like last night's World Series game was like a bad dream...

Boston Rocks (World Series Game 1 Postgame Notes)

Memo to the Colorado Rockies:

There is nothing wrong with dressing up and playing zombie for Halloween, but, uh, you're generally supposed to wait until October 31 to dress up in costume...

Seriously, that was an ugly affair for anyone not rooting for Boston.

World Series games are supposed to be close, nail-biter sort of affairs, with late inning heroics, the best of the best, but the game played today may have as well been played in March.

Seriously, if Eric Gagnè is on the mound in Fenway Park in a World Series game, you know something is up.

That Colorado only managed one run against Josh Beckett is not a surprise; no one seems to be doing much scoring of any sort against the Red Sox ace, but Colorado's pitching, from the lead off man, could not even attempt to compete.

Compared to the doings of Morales and co, Jeff Francis actually seemed as though he was the ace of the affair, and if you give up six runs, you're pretty much not an ace.

You have to credit Boston's offense for coming to play, and they certainly did. An obscene number of runs were scored with two out, and you can't ask for more than that from an offense.

There's no doubt the eight-day lay off has something to do with the Zombies-R-Us-ness of tonight's game; those rooting for the Rockies or against the Sox (like any true Yankee fan) have to hope that tonight was a 'shake off the rust' game and that it will not happen again.

On a completely unrelated note:

My Halloween costume is coming along as much as a costume made from bedsheets and yarn can come along. Can't wait to show you all!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NFL Picks Week Eight

[EDIT]: I keep thinking today is Thursday, even though it's not, to the point that I went and came up with this. So instead of deleting the entire thing, I'll do this today and NHL round-up tomorrow, and if you miss this today, I'll link to it tomorrow.


...No one cared for World Series Preview in Verse?

Well, it was fun to write, so there =P.

Anyway, the stuff you want:

Detroit over Chicago because ESPN says Chicago's going to win, and we know how reliable ESPN is...

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. The Steelers are pretty good, and the Bengals...well, they beat the Jets. They're better than the Dolphins, but probably not by much.

Tennessee over Oakland. The Titans could be greatly helped if someone taught them that the goal of the fourth quarter is actually not to blow a 20 point lead.

Cleveland over St. Louis. Dude, I'm not picking an 0-7 team. Strange, though--at the beginning of the season, everyone thought Cleveland would be the 0-7 team...

Giants over Miami. Giving up 42 points in the first half is bound to do wonders for Dolphins' morale. Say hi to London for me, I miss that place, even my cramped l'il flat on Edgeware Road.

Minnesota over Philadelphia, just because I haven't picked Minnesota to win a game in the while.

Indianapolis over Carolina. The Panthers are good. The Colts are better.

Jets over Buffalo, but if you're really serious you'll pick Buffalo. It's a pride thing, really, at this point.

San Diego over Houston, but there's a chance this one doesn't get played, or is played in Houston. Stay safe, everyone in Southern California!

Jacksonville over Tampa Bay in the Battle for Florida. Normally Miami would be involved, but Miami is an AAA team at this point. Actually, more like an A team. Anyway, I'm feeling Latin American cats this week over pirates.

New Engand over Washington. They're not going to score 42 points in the first half, but no one in New England's going to care about this game--not over the Sox at any rate.

New Orleans over San Francisco. Hey, if they can keep the losing at just four, they've got a realistic shot at the playoffs!

Green Bay over Denver. You are either admiring what Farve is doing, or you don't have a pulse. If the latter is true, please pick up the nearest phone and dial 911, now.

Back after WS Game 1 with postgame notes. At least it's not pouring right now. I won't have to walk through a lake to get to class!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rudy Missed the Memo...

If you have any you would like to add to the list, please share!

This is in response to Rudy Giuliani's stating that he will support Boston against Colorado, political posturing not withstanding.

The Ten Commandments of Being a (true) Yankee Fan:

1. Thou shall love pinstripes, and the navy blue, and possess at least one garment, cap or other accessory of such to wear to games or on game day should there be an important game.

2. Thou shall know who Babe and Lou and Joe and Yogi and Mickey and Donnie are on a first name basis alone.

3. Thou shall be mindful of history, and respectful of the same, knowing the importance of 1923, 1927, 1956, 1961, 1978, 1998 and every other World Series year.

4. Thou shall not insult the Bronx, nor the Stadium in any manner.

5. Thou shall love October with all thy heart, and be unafraid to invoke the Stadium ghosts.

6. Thou shall acknowledge that Bob Sheppard is, in fact, the voice of G-d, except in the movie Dogma, where it is, in fact, Alan Rickman.

7. Thou shall regard the 1986 World Series as circles one through eight of Dante’s Hell.

8. Thall shall acknowledge the 2004 ALCS and World Series as circle nine, Cocytus, the lake of ice.

9. Thou shall be critical of any and all media outside New York that dares to criticize the Yankees; only New York media and Yankee fans have that right, and they shall use it well.

10. Thou shall never, under any circumstances, root for the Boston Red Sox, or portray thyself as though one does not hate, with all thy might, the said Red Sox.*

*It is permissible to like certain players who ‘see the light’, such as Babe Ruth and Roger Clemens, and to appreciate off-field charitable works of individual Red Sox, but it is never, under any circumstance, permissible to root for the team as a whole to win a baseball game.

If a game exists wherein a Boston win would put the Yankees into the playoffs or on top of the race—ie, if Boston was in fourth, and playing Toronto, who was in first by a half game—it is permissible to root AGAINST the other team, but never for Boston.

Rox N' Sox (2007 World Series Preview)

Presenting Rebecca's 2007 World Series preview, written in verse to celebrate the rhyming of Sox and Rox.


They’re bonkers in Boston for the Sox,
Crazed in Colorado for the Rox.
To the World Series they will go,
Whether through wind, rain, sleet or snow.

The Rockies have been on an amazing run,
Of the past twenty-two, they won twenty-one.
Against the wall, Boston made an attack
Three games to one, they came all the way back.

Boston has pitchers like Beckett and Schilling,
But the Rockies’ offense can make a killing,
With hitters like Holliday and Tulowitzki
To come up against Paplebon and Hideki.

Boston has Manny, Ortiz and Youkilis,
But the Rockies have pitchers like Jeff Francis.
Josh Fogg might be the Dragon-slayer,
But Pedroia is quite the player.

The Rockies play a mile high,
Where balls sail far into the sky,
But Boston has their home at Fenway,
Where since 1912 they come to play.

So who is it going to be in the end?
On certain factors it will all depend.
Colorado has had nine days to rest
While Boston has had to play at their best.

If the Rockies can stay hot,
Beating them Boston will not.
But if the contest comes down to the bullpen,
It will be Boston in five, six or seven.

(I would love a Colorado sweep, but if Beckett and Schilling can deliver, then Boston, who has home field advantage, will probably pull out. Let's hope the Rockies remain hot.)

Yankees' Classic Moments, Week Two

On this date in 1996, the Yankees won Game 3 of the World Series, but the better-known turning point occurred in game four:

The Atlanta Braves, who were up two games to one in the Series, had a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning, and the Yankees could only manage to chip it to 6-3 in the sixth.

In the eighth inning, Jim Leyritz came up with two men on and hit it to left field...

..."Back, at the wall, and we are TIED"...

The Yankees would eventually win the game on a walk in the 10th inning, and the Yankees would win the next two games of the Series, clinching at home. You might remember the part where John Wetteland rode on one of those horses.

Back later with full World Series preview. Nasty day out today. Back to what October's usually like around these parts!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dog Days of Summer? Winter Wonderland? (Random Baseball Trivia, Week 2)

On this date in 1997, the coldest-ever World Series game was played in Cleveland (ew?), where the game time temperature was a balmy 38 degrees F. here

So, in acknowledgment of this, I have this weather-related nugget:

On 6 June 1957, a Dodgers/Cubs game, in Brooklyn, was called off not because of rain or snow or darkness, but because of fog. How bad was the fog? The outfield was not visible from home plate. here

Coincidence that Brooklyn moved to Los Angeles next year? Probably, but still, c'mon, Brooklyn's not London. Fog?

Go outside and enjoy today if you can; it's one of summer's last gasps.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

OMG, Kenny Killed Them! (ALCS Game 7 postgame notes)

Boston winning the ALCS is about as bad as it gets for Yankees' fans, and at least, this year, we can place the blame (on the Indians' side, anyway) squarely on the shoulders of one man: Kenny Lofton.

Had he not tried to stretch that single into a double, he probably would have scored the tying run.

Had he actually run from second to home on that odd single instead of stopping at third, he would have scored the tying run.

However, those things did not happen, and the Indians, who fell behind early and then imploded late, will be like twelve other American League teams brooding over the long, dark winter.

You knew Cleveland was destined for trouble when they couldn't close it out at Jacob's Field, but out of respect for the Yankees' fans reading this blog (which, I think, will be the majority) I won't mention that thing, that nightmare we are all thinking.

Ah, well, Boston hasn't won it all yet.

These may be dark days for Yankees fans, but we are a strong bunch, and we will get through this.

Let's Go Rockies!

The Season, Part Two

If you missed Part One, or want to re-read, click here.

Please note that this week's update contains drug reference and brief language.

The Season, Part Two

#36 Ben Abraham, Catcher, fifth year

Ben Abraham is surprised to see Graeme Johnson on the practice field early. He’s been catching Graeme for five years now, and if anything, Graeme’s never early. Maybe it’s something about being a veteran, but no one ever cares if Graeme’s late. If Ben was late, however, it’d be another story. It’d be Pete and Dennis Howard, the bench coach, yelling at him, asking him if he really did want his starting job behind the plate. Not so with Ben.

So, of course, Ben is early on the first day, as he has been the past four years, but it’s probably the first time he’s not the first one on the field. He’s got his eye not on Graeme, who is pretending to be a catcher, but on the other one, the one throwing, who, whoever he is, might be the only person shorter than Ben. As he gets closer, though, he sees it’s not true; it was just the angle that he was standing on the mound. Still, the guy pitching looks so young it makes Ben feel about ten years older than his twenty-eight.

“Ben!” Graeme manages to notice him and hold onto a breaking ball in the dirt.

“Trying out for catcher?”

“Yeah, Ben, we all know I want your job…” the joke stings Ben a little bit. The pitchers always get all of the glory.

“Funny. What are you doing, anyway?”

“Ben, meet rookie, rookie meet Ben.” Graeme points to the pitcher, who waves his glove hand.

“You got a name, rookie?” Ben asks, amused at the rookie’s awkwardness.

“Paul Green.”

“Fitting name for a rookie. What are you doing?”


“Are you any good?” Ben looks at Graeme as he asks it. Graeme nods, and then adds,

“Yea, baby rookie’s got a helluva fastball.”

“Baby rookie?”

“He looks like a baby!”

“He does, doesn’t he? How hard are you throwing, rookie?”

“Hard.” Ben looks at the rookie, who shrugs his shoulders.
“Hard? Let’s see then.” Ben motions to Graeme to give him the catcher’s mitt, and Graeme is happy to oblige. Ben doesn’t expect much from the rookie, so when the pitch comes, a fastball straight down the middle, Ben thinks for a moment that he might have just broken his hand. “Christ, rookie!”

“Sorry,” Paul says, apologetic. “Didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“What are you sorry about? That had to hit ninety-five. Where did Haus find you?”

“I was drafted,” Paul says, like it’s a bad thing, “from State. I’ve never met Charlie Haus.”

“You will, rookie, if you keep throwing like that.” Ben likes the rookie, he decides. He’s deferential, knows his place on the team, but he seems to be having fun with it. Anyway, Graeme seems to like him, and that’s a good sign. Graeme, in the short time Ben has known him, always seems to know who’s worth hanging around, and who’s not.

Ben takes a few more pitches from Paul, this time prepared for them, before he catches Pete walking onto the field. Pete looks as if he’s aged considerably in the past few months, but Ben can’t blame him. After everything that happened last year, the year the Spartans were picked to win it all, and they lost in the first round…it wouldn’t be easy on any manager, let alone one in the last year of his contract.

“Morning, Ben,” Pete says, catching sight of him, “good to see you.”

“Same. Good winter?”

“No.” For all of the faults Pete has, Ben thinks, it’s good to know Pete seems incapable of lying. “I still read the papers.”

“You shouldn’t,” Ben admonishes, stepping over his bounds. It only draws a look from Pete, who seems too tired to rebuff.

“Who’s out there with Graeme?”

“Rookie. Paul Green.”

“That’s Paul Green?” There is only a hint of amazement in Pete’s voice, and Ben knows it’s as amazed as Pete will ever sound.



“Killer fastball. First day of Spring Training and I need ice.”

“Guess I should go meet him, then.” Pete leaves Ben where he is, and walks up to Paul, trying hard not to scare the rookie pitcher.

The pitchers get all the glory.

#4 Damien Riley, shortstop, fourth year

Damien Riley hates the February cold. He only stays in New York over the winter because everyone else he cares about is here, but it doesn’t change the fact that going outside in upstate New York is like walking straight into a freezer. February is the worst. Raw and windy, with lake effect snow blowing in non-stop, it makes one wonder how it’s ever possible to play baseball here in the spring. Only one more week, and Damien can board a plane for lovely, warm Florida. Still, one week is a long time.

It only took one week for everything to come unraveled his sophomore year. He finished third in rookie-of-the-year voting his first year. His second year everyone, all of the papers especially, were saying that he should be the league MVP, and then someone found out about the coke. Someone found out about the coke and went to not him, or even the police, but straight to Pete Towers, and then when Pete was asked why he was sitting Damien in the team’s most important series of the year, Pete couldn’t lie.

Charlie Haus, the very next day, gave Damien a choice: enter a substance-abuse program, or be cut from the team. Just like that. It didn’t matter that Damien had only done it on an off day, that he was always prepared to play, that he could name others on the team he’d seen using marijuana. Coke was somehow so much worse than marijuana, and everyone was on him. The coaches, his teammates, the papers, the sports analysts. Everyone talking about how he’d wasted a golden opportunity, how he didn’t deserve to be given another chance.

Of course, Damien proved them wrong. He breezed through the program, came back from a league suspension (because when the league found out about it they had to take action), and then last year, made the all-star team. Feel good story of the year, all of the papers had said. None of them mentioned the hell the entire thing put Damien through, though, or the hell the entire thing put his family through. His mother nearly had had a heart attack, and his father did. Damien’s paycheck was withheld from him while he was suspended, so he had no money to pay his father’s hospital bill. His mother had to sell his childhood house, but it didn’t do much good. His father died anyway, and his mother still hasn’t quite forgiven him.

Not that Damien hasn’t tried to make amends. When he finally did get paid, he bought his mother and his two younger sisters a nice house in the Hope City suburb of Hope Falls. From what Damien hears, it’s not too far from where Pete Towers grew up…not a mansion, but a bigger house than his mother or sisters have ever seen. He even volunteered at the hospital, Bellevue Memorial, in the children’s ward, spending time with sick kids. None of the doctors wanted him there, though, and they didn’t bother hiding it. One even went so far as to wear a Knights cap, though there was one sportswriter that called him out on it.

Still, it doesn’t make today any easier. He had promised his mother that he’d go and visit his father’s grave, on what would have been his fifty-fourth birthday. He had promised to stand at the headstone, and apologize for causing his father’s death. He had promised his mother that if he ever wanted to talk to her or his sisters again, that he would go and do it. What’s more, he had to do it during the day, for all to see. He had to take the bus, through downtown, and back. He had to acknowledge that he was nothing.

Standing at the bus stop, clad in a heavy coat, ski hat and sunglasses, it’s hard to recognize him. He’s not big like a lot of ballplayers, and there is nothing remarkable about his complexion. As a child he was told he had a faint resemblance to Jackie Robinson, which got him to try baseball, but those remarks ceased as he got older. He elicits no stares from anyone else waiting at the bus stop, which is a good sign. As soon as one person starts to stare, others will as well, but for now, they’re leaving him alone.

Damien’s glad when the bus comes, glad to get a momentary respite from the cold. He goes to take a seat in the back row, when a teenage girl in clothes that are about three sizes too small, stares him down.

“What the fuck yah think you’re doing? That’s my seat.”

“You’re not sitting in it.”

“So? It’s still my seat.” Damien makes to move back towards the front of the bus, and grab one of the poles. “Hey, do I know yah?”


“Yah, I do. I do. I seen yah before.” The bus begins to move, Damien’s got five stops to go. He’ll be lucky if he makes it one, he thinks.

“Maybe, but you don’t know me.”

“Take the shades off.”

“No.” The girl keeps staring at Damien, though she doesn’t say anything else. She doesn’t look like she’d be at all interested in baseball, but Damien knows how deceptive appearances can be.

The girl gets off at the next stop, in one of the seediest areas of Hope City. Damien doesn’t know what the girl’s going to do there, but he can guess and it makes him throw up a little inside. The girl was probably about the same age as his youngest sister.

The rest of the bus ride passes without incident. No one comes anywhere close to Damien; the pseudo-gangsta look seems to hold them off. Maybe they think he’s a pimp or small-time drug dealer, either way he doesn’t look like someone anyone would want their children around. A nobody, a nothing.

Damien gets off at the bus stop near the park, of which the cemetery is a small part. He’s got to walk across most of the park to get there. A pleasant green in the summer, the park in February is a nauseating mix of white snow, brown mud and grey slush. It’s not a nice place. There’s no one here, either, though Damien doesn’t expect anyone else. It’s cold enough that it seems to cut into Damien’s legs, making them burn, go numb, and burn again. He’s got great athletic ability, of course, but the cold is such that he’s nearly out of breath by the time he reaches the front of the cemetery and his father’s grave is towards the back.

Jackson Riley hadn’t wanted a fancy funeral, and he had bought, for himself and his wife, the cheapest plot available. He was more concerned about the digs his soul would get when his heart stopped beating, which Damien thinks a bit foolish. There was no law saying Jackson had to take the most expensive plot imaginable, but the cheapest? It doesn’t help that Damien’s not much a believer in the afterlife and the rapture and all of that.

He finds his father’s grave, and does as his mother asks.

“Sorry Dad,” he says, “I let you down.” Damien turns to walk back, but thinking about it for a moment, turns back towards the grave. “I’m not nothing, Dad.”

It feels good to get the words out, this small act of defiance, but the feeling doesn’t last long and as he gets on the bus to go back home, he knows his mother’s right. He’s nothing. He’s nobody.

Going Medieval in Oriole Country


So the lack of posts this weekend has nothing to do with me getting bored or forgetting or anything like that, but, instead, me going down to Maryland to pretend I lived 500 years ago!

My friend, Marielle, and I drove on Friday from Syracuse down to Annapolis--six hours, non-stop, the longest I've ever been behind the wheel of a car. It's an easy drive, though, there are really only two roads--81 and 83, so though it was long it wasn't very hard.

Anyway, we stayed with my cousin, had a wonderful dinner, and then, on Saturday, went and played medieval.


Myself, Marielle, my cousin, and my cousin's friends.

Waving a sword around.

That wasn't the sword I bought, though. This was:

It's actually sharp enough to cut through a car hood.

Anyway, we were supposed to get back last night, but we didn't leave the Fair until about eight, and after stopping for dinner, it was about eleven, so we figured getting back at Syracuse at 5 AM isn't really the greatest idea.

Of course, I saw nothing of Cleveland/Boston yesterday, but I know that Boston won, and, well, I did say Cleveland in seven, because the AL has to make everything interesting.

Update 2 of The Season shortly heading your way.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cleveland not Rocking Tonight (ALCS Game 5 Postgame Notes)

In my defense, I did call this series going six games.

Three games now, in the Postseason, that CC Sabathia has started and come up short. It's getting harder and harder to say that it's just a fluke; he seems more like he's rattled by the nerves.

Beckett was good; he didn't have to be great to win tonight.

Manny's long RBI single reminds me a bit of the Subway Series in 2000 when some dude on the Mets hit a ball that looked like it was going to be out, so he didn't run, but it wasn't a home run, and he was thrown out at first. I forget who was involved in the play; I keep thinking Jose Reyes, but he might have still been in grade school at the time.

Anyway, Manny's earlier comment, about not caring if Boston wins the World Series or not, and his home-run-but-not-home-run tonight once again confirms a simple fact: I do not want Manny in pinstripes. Ever. I'd take David Ortiz over him, and that's saying quite a bit.

That said, Cleveland really did miss a golden opportunity tonight, seeing as now they have to go to Boston.

I can't manage for dung, but I would have given serious thought to starting Carmona tonight; he's been brilliant in both of his postseason starts, and there was that off day, so he would have been going on...four days' rest, not counting today.

Obviously it's not really something you want to do, as Sabathia's supposed to be your number one starter, but October is October for a reason.

Cleveland will not have to deal with Beckett on Saturday, but they will have to deal with Fenway and it's not going to be fun. You know 2004 is on the mind of every single Boston fan right now.

It's up to Cleveland, then, to teach Boston that it does no good to live in the past.

(Says the medieval history student).

I'm off to Maryland tomorrow, for family and sword-waving, I'll try to have some good pictures when I come back.

In the meantime, play nice. If you see a troll or whatnot, just remember they're a bit like skunks. Cute in that kiddie sort of way, but you really don't want their spray all over you. It's nasty.

And if you live in South Carolina, do your part to get Colbert on the ballot!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, or Lack Thereof

Be warned. Eternal optimist is angry.

Now that I’ve had time to think about it…

What is there to say?

Part of me wants to play the perennial optimist. Part of me wants to collect a book of everyone’s favorite Torre moments, put ‘em in a binder and mail ‘em to wherever it is that Joe lives.

Part of me wants to walk right on up to Randy Levine and shake him silly. Part of me wants to yell in his face that Joe Torre was the best thing that ever happened to his Yankees, and that he will never, ever, ever have as much class as Joe. Not after the front office pulled that stunt.

It’s not an issue of whether or not Joe should have been brought back, but the issue in which the entire thing was handled, trying to make the Brass look good and Torre a lame duck.

Torre’s a stronger person than that, a classier person than that and a better person than that.

Look, I know that bad front offices are part and parcel, but there’s no reason to be silent. I know New York is New York and if you can’t handle the media you need to get out, but this isn’t about handling the media.

It is, quite simply, about treating people with the respect they deserve.

Could you imagine Atlanta doing this to Bobby Cox? Could you imagine the Patriots doing this to Bill Belichick? Could you imagine the Spurs or the Red Wings doing this to their coaches?

New York coaches might always seem to get the short end of the stick, but, and I’m thinking of Coughlin and Thomas right now, when you consider the recent on-field records and off-field shenanigans of the two, I can’t say it’s not deserved.

You can’t say the same about Torre. He was as much a father to the Yankees as it’s possible to be. No matter what happened in April or May, the team was there, playing in October. Forget about winning or losing for a second, and think about this: no team other than the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Yankees has an active playoff streak of longer than ten seasons.

That includes the Spurs, the Devils, the Patriots…

Yes, Yankee fans are used to winning, but perhaps more importantly, they’re used to rooting for a team that’s always been considered an example of class.

If this is how the Front Office treats a guy that will soon get a plaque in Monument Park, I’m not sure I want to see how they treat Don Mattingly (the odds-on favorite, right now, to take the job) if the team starts 21-29 again.

I love Mo. I love Posada. I love Andy. I would sell body parts, corporeal and otherwise, to keep them on the Yankees….but if, after this, any or all of them decide to walk, I can’t say I’d blame them.

Most of us have put up with Steinbrenner for a long time, and, well, with thirteen straight postseasons, he’s obviously done something right…but Hank and Hal are not King George.

Right now, though, Yankees fans need to do something.

Yankee fans—oy, I’m talking to you, blogger!—need to make it clear that we won’t stand for this.

You want to talk about groundswell, internet, mass communication, whatever, now is the perfect time to put it to use.

The greatest American sports franchise needs to know that the outrage isn’t because Torre isn’t coming back, but because cowardice, hiding behind a contract veil so thin that even the blind can see through it, is not something that will win you any medals.

Or Rings.

Plot Twists Are Like Second Nature to the Yanks...

(Source is ESPN2 and Pete Abraham)

In a move that, uh, certainly surprised me, Joe Torre has turned down a one year $5 million offer with an $8 million option.


Joe: I wish you would have been back, but if you're gonna go out it's best to do it on your own terms. Thank you for twelve amazing years, and best of luck in whatever you choose next.

However, dude, Yankees, incredible-no-freakin'-way plot twists are best left to telenovelas and Star Wars: Episode V.

Seriously. I mean, I was texting G-d knows how many people that Torre was back, and now I got to go through all of these and say "Oh. Nevermind."

You know something is up when the biggest story of the night is not college football or even the potential clinching game of the ALCS...

NFL Picks Week 7

Note: I'm going down to Maryland tomorrow and will be there most of Saturday. Don't know if I'll have time to update, so I'm hoping Cleveland wins tonight!

Anyway, the stuff you came to see:

Baltimore over Buffalo. I'm going to Maryland, so everything today is pro-Maryland. Well done to Everett for getting on his feet again.

Dallas over Minnesota. Yeah, Dallas lost to the Patriots last week, but a loss to the Patriots is like saying the sun is hot. Or that the Thrashers are having a bad season.

Tampa Bay over Detroit. My friend's going to the Rennaisance Faire with me on Saturday as a pirate. So pirates win out.

New England over Miami. And I thought Syracuse/West Virginia was a mismatch...

New Orleans over Atlanta. Now then, the Saints aren't really that bad....right?

NY Giants over San Francisco. Did you see last night, the Knicks lost to the Celtics and scored only 61 points?

Arizona over Washington. Trust me, the D-backs want to take their minds off of the NLCS badly.

Tennessee over Houston. For my other Tennessee friend.

Jets over Cincinnati, but ONLY because they're the Jets. In all honesty, I'm still mad pissed off about those uniforms last week...Meanwhile, I'm beginning to hear KELL-AN CLEM-ENS *clap clap clap*

Kansas City over Oakland. Just because Kansas City winning a football game is slightly less apocalyptic.

Chicago over Philadelphia. Uh, dude, guys, you were supposed to be playing against each other in the NLCS, not a football game...

Seattle over St. Louis. Well, on the bright side, at least St. Louis is not playing the Patriots. Actually, that's a bad thing, because when Miami loses, they at least have the excuse of, "well, we were playing the Patriots..."

Pittsburgh over Denver. They're getting a buncha guys back.

Indianapolis over Jacksonville. Looks like the Monday Night guys picked a good one.

ALCS postgame notes later tonight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Get Your Skate On (NHL Roundup Week 2)

Well, basketball camp is finally getting to the 'game' stage, which means Opening Night can't be too far off, and Midnight Madness has occurred in the college world, but as for a season already under way, sorry folks, but again it's NHL-only.


Philadelphia Flyers: It won't last. Anyway, it's not like they're running away with the division. Not that you can run away with the division after three weeks...

New York Islanders: Irony is the spice of life, so of course the one NYC team that no one talks about, ever, is ahead of those other two...

Pittsburgh Penguins: Crosby. 'Nuff said.

NY Rangers: I thought these guys were supposed to be the best in the conference this year?

NJ Devils: Unlike the Jets, they'll pick up and start winning more, especially when play at home. However, Brodeur's less-than-stellar efforts behind the net will be cause for concern if they continue.

Ottawa Senators: Uh. Yeah. Um. They're good?

Buffalo Sabres: Right back where I expect them to be, especially given that the Bills are going nowhere.

Boston Bruins: Not quite sure what Boston's doing in third, but I expect we'll find out soon enough.

Montreal Canadians: Right now, the Hab Nots. Sorry, I've been in a punny mood all week, and, well, I don't speak French.

Toronto Maple Leafs: I thought these guys were supposed to be like the Yankees of the NHL or something? Guess I thought wrong. Unless they manage to have killer January, February, March and April...

Carolina Hurricanes: Live in the Carolinas and sick of NASCAR and football? Check out a hockey game. These guys are pretty good.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Right where they should be: good, not great.

Washington Capitals: Yep, start was much too good to be true.

Florida Panthers: .500 isn't too bad, but this isn't basketball or the NFC. You need better than that if you want in in May.

Atlanta Thrashers: Okay, you guys are bad. Firing the coach in October? Even baseball teams don't fire managers in April. Seriously, even the Jets and Syracuse have wins right now. You are so not going to have fond memories of 2007....


Detroit Red Wings: I swear to G-d I almost wrote Detroit Wed Rings. I've got my brother's wedding on my mind a little too much. Oh, and would you really expect Detroit anywhere else?

St. Louis Blues: Lookie here! Seems a team's finally realized that if you score more goals in a game than the other team, you'll do this thing, it's called winning...

Chicago Blackhawks: See entry on Boston.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Still haven't gotten my message on playing like an expansion team.

Nashville Predators: The jerseys are cool. The last place is not.

Minnesota Wild: Might give Ottawa a run for its money.

Colorado Avalanche: Dude, guys, don't be surprised if Pepsiwhatever Arena is empty for a few days...seems everyone in Denver's got baseball fever!

Vancouver Canucks: C'mon, is it too hard to ask for ONE good Canadian team?

Calgary Flames: Stop obsessing trying to make all your columns look even with the tally marks. In hockey, you want all the tally marks in the column all the way over in the left.

Edmonton Oilers: I thought you guys made the finals a couple years ago? What happened?

San Jose Sharks: In hockey, NoCal >>> SoCal. Sorry everyone else.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Okay, Anaheim, you've played eight games so far, so what the heck are the defending Cup champions doing sub-.500?

Dallas Stars: Please see entry on Calgary.

Phoenix Coyotes: Not yet in last place. I am impressed.

Los Angeles Kings: The good news: At least your better than Atlanta. The bad news: I have to mention Atlanta. And the Jet Lag excuse so does not work any more, either.

Is it me, or do the nights have a great empty void without baseball?


If you look over at the StatCounter, we've passed 5000 views. Given that the StatCounter is about three weeks younger than the blog itself, we actually passed that number some time ago.


Anyway, have to go off and meet with my thesis adviser; Wednesday Round Ups coming later this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cleveland to Boston: Put a Sox in It! (ALCS Game Four Postgame Notes)

Okay, so when I made my ALCS predictions, I was apparently wrong...just, not about the offenses.

I thought that this series would go seven, and, you never know, it still might, but for now Cleveland's got Boston in a chokehold.

Considering his recent injury, Wakefield was impressive through the first four, but he fell apart in the fifth. I'm not sure, superstitious wise, if Wakefield's really the guy that should have been on the mound for Boston tonight, but as a Yankee fan I can't really complain.

Youkilis, Ortiz and Ramirez all went yard, but like the Yanks last round, they did it without men on base. Manny admiring his shot? Not cool. At all.

Anyway, again, Cleveland simply outplayed Boston, except for those three pitches. Paul Byrd's start against the Yanks apparently wasn't a fluke, and neither is Cleveland's bullpen.

If Boston's going to win any other game in the series, it's likely to be Game Five, with Beckett going against Sabathia. If anything, we'll know whether or not Sabathia's last two postseason starts were just flukes, or if he really isn't a big game pitcher. We all know Beckett is, so Cleveland needs to bring their A game.

It does not bode well for Cleveland (or Yankee) fans if the series goes back to Boston.

A Slice of My Life, Part Two (Mel Brooks was Wrong)

Since someone asked if I had schoolwork to do, I thought I'd share this with you:

I have a thesis statement for my senior thesis. It is vague, of course, and will probably be refined, but it's a start. It is as follows:

"As a new monarch, Henry VII of England faced numerous challenges to the security of his throne. His reaction to these challenges, specifically his reaction to Perkin Warbeck, and the international ‘reaction to his reaction’ helped to secure his legacy and establish a Tudor dynasty."

I may have just bored you to tears, so I'll try a little rehash for the non-historically inclined among you:

Contrary to Mel Brooks, it is not always good to be the King, especially when you've just invaded a country and killed the sitting king to do so.

Kind of like how, oh, it's the middle of August, your name is Phil Hughes and you're starting instead of Mike Mussina in a potentially no-win situation...

Anyway, so you're the king/have got that spot in the rotation. Not everyone's happy with it. Some will go as so far as to take another random guy, in this case Perkin Warbeck/Ian Kennedy and try to sit him on the throne.

OK, so Ian's not really trying to usurp the throne, but it's the best I can do.

So imagine now that you're Henry/Phil. You've worked your bum off to get on the throne/mound, and now someone else is trying to take your place, but not the original guy because he's dead/demoted to the bullpen.

Trust me, you'd be pretty freaked.

So my thesis is about Henry's, like Phil's, establishment of himself as king/Phranchise.

However, Ian did get off a bit easier: Perkin tried invading and was eventually executed. Ian's just got married (congratulations!)

Right. Am off to complete bibliography. ALCS postgame notes after the game, if I am still awake.

Yankees' Classic Moments, Number One

Hey everyone, sorry this post is so late, and I don't have a lot of time right now, so I'm afraid it's going to be a quickie.

Today's entry, however, is fairly easy.

Four years ago today, our third baseman wasn't a guy named Alex Rodriguez, but a chap by the name of Aaron Boone. Like A-Rod, he wasn't hitting well in the postseason.

So that he came up to bat in the eleventh inning in game seven against Boston, Mo Rivera having just pitched his third inning of work, should have been a mystery, should have sparked some sort of comment...

...except that Boone crushed the very first pitch he saw, sending up and over the left field wall.

Derek Jeter's greeting at home plate, Charlie Steiner's call...even Joe Buck's call...

Playoff heroes are never who you expect, but the Yankees should know by now that playoff heroes, at least where the Red Sox are concerned, all have B names--Babe, Bucky, Boone...(hell, even throw in Buckner!)

Grady Little would lose his job as a result of that game, while Yankees fans everywhere would rejoice...(and a few of us thought 'ah, the Marlins in the World Series? No matter, we beat the Red Sox!)

For one more year, at least, Boston would be without a World Series title.

ALCS postgame notes at the appropriate time.

Rock Around the Clock (NLCS game 4 postgame notes)

This is short because it's late and I'm supposed to go to class tomorrow.

The Colorado Rockies are the National League Champions.

While some outside of that great state may have expected it, I certainly wasn't one of them....but the Rockies deserve it.

They played their hearts out, never gave up, never gave in, and it paid off big time.

Arizona, in a classic case of 'too little, too late' , did make it close, but close is not good enough. For all the hailing of Micah Owings, it was the Rockies, and the pitcher that they did not mention, that are playing for it all.

....and this entire time I'm thinking, Todd Helton really wants to lift the Cup right about now...

Which, I believe, is a universal signal for bedtime.

See you all later today/tomorrow depending on your time zone!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bang that Drum a Little Bit Faster Now (ALCS Game 3 Postgame Notes)

So I'll be honest, I missed nearly the entire second half of the Red Sox/Indians game because of my failed caramel experiment (see my post below), but I did catch a lot of the game.

Jake Westbrook was entirely on form tonight, looking like a completely different pitcher than the one that faced the Yankees in Game Three of the ALDS. To be fair, Jacob's Field is a bit different than Yankee Stadium, but Westbrook was excellent, the Rafael that came in was great (again, I was busy burning caramel so I can't tell you which Rafael it was) and would you believe it, but Joe Borowski, yes, THAT one, had a one-two-three inning.

If both teams keep playing like this, Kenny Lofton might be the ALCS MVP.

I know. I don't get it, either, but as a Yankee fan, I'd take him over David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez as the MVP...

Cleveland's line up produced tonight. Boston's did not. So right now my theory of Cleveland having the better line up seem to be holding, but I'll reserve final judgment till after the Series, because, as everyone know, two games to one lead really doesn't mean anything.

I had two friends who are both big Red Sox fans tell me that Dice-K is officially not worth it.

I am now going to watch the Rockies/D-Backs, but probably won't stay up for the entire thing, so expect notes sometime tomorrow. I can't believe we're this close to a Cleveland-Rockies World Series...and the puns almost write themselves. Almost.

A Slice of My Life

(I should preface this with: about the only things I know how to cook are pasta and anything microwavable. And eggs.)

I posted this originally on my personal Livejournal, but thought the experience was too experiene-like to keep just to there.

Note to self:

Trying to teach self to cook: Good idea.

Trying to teach self to cook caramel: You've had better ideas. There is no inherent nutritional value in caramel...but it's okay. You're in college. Nutrition is overrated.

Using one serviceable saucepan one owns, the one you use to make dinner every night: Bad idea.

Using said saucepan and not spraying it with nonstick: Hon, you're a senior, not a frosh. Surely you learned such things first year?

Using said saucepan, minus not stick, and letting the caramel burn: ...Umm, how exactly did you get into college again?

Realizing that you have no real place to store hard, burnt caramel and you've just wasted six sugar cubes: Yea, uhhh, better not tell the parents about this one.

Having the entire apartment smell like melted sugar: SWEET.

Realizing you've just unintentionally parodied mastercard: Turn the TV off. NOW.

ALCS postgame notes coming right up.

I Don't Believe What I Just Saw! (Random Baseball Trivia, inaugural edition)

Today is the 19th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's famous home run--you know, the one where he was gimping so bad he couldn't really stand on his own, came up to pinch hit and then sent the Dodgers a 5-4 Game 1 World Series win, the one considered one of the greatest calls ever by Jack Buck "'s a gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! The Dodgers win 5-4, I don't believe what I just saw! I don't believe what I just saw!"


That one.

So in honor of that, and since I can't find anything tidbit-ish enough, today's edition we have this tidbit on Vin Scully (who had quite a memorable quote of his own):

On the TV show "The X-Files", Dana Scully is named after...yep, you guessed it...Vin Scully!

And this tidbit on the 1988 LA Dodgers World Series run:

Despite Gibson's home run, Orel Hershiser won the World Series MVP, having an ERA of 1.00 over two starts.

Sorry for the short entry, but you had four from me yesterday! Four!

Back later with ALCS game 2 notes, but only if the game ends sometime before, oh, I don't know, one AM?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rocking to the Beat of Their Own Drum (NLCS Game 3 Postgame Notes)

In today's News of the Absurd:

The Colorado Rockies are one game from the World Series.

Let me repeat.

The Colorado Rockies are one game from the World Series.

Whatever you thought, going into the 2007 baseball season, I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn't that, but that's exactly what it is.

Colorado's out pitched, out hit, out clutched and out fundamentaled so far, so unless Arizona has an '04 Sox in them, they're stuck, and judging from tonight, Coors Field isn't the driest or warmest place to play baseball in October.

The Rockies are playing so well right now they nearly turned a triple play, and it felt like the double play was a disappointment.

Livan Hernandez was good but Josh Fogg was excellent. Arizona got on base, but Colorado scored. Arizona hit into three double plays in the first three innings. Colorado didn't.

The most interesting part of the whole thing is how into it the Colorado fans are. You don't think of Colorado as a baseball place in the way that you do Boston, New York, think of Broncos and Avalanche...but the fans at Coors Field tonight, even in the pouring rain and chill, were as into it as fans can get.

If the question right now is who wants it more?, the answer is Colorado.

Plain, simple and rock hard.

(I promise, I'll stop the rock related puns as soon as the Rockies are eliminated...)