Monthly archives: July 2004
Why I Have A Job
This isn't baseball-related, but sports medicine coverage in general is something shy of laughable. From an article on ESPN's Front Page:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Mike Tyson tore a ligament in his left knee in the first round of his shocking knockout loss to Danny Williams, his manager said Saturday.
Shelly Finkel said an MRI showed a complex tear of the lateral meniscus, and that Tyson couldn't even walk on the leg Saturday. He said Tyson's ex-wife Monica, who is a doctor, read the results.
Those of you that read UTK will know that the lateral meniscus is cartilage and not one of the knee ligaments. Those of you that follow boxing will remember that Mike Tyson's ex-wife was a pain management specialist, certainly not someone I want reading my MRI.
I once saw Mike Tyson before a fight. He's not much taller than me and for a brief second, I had that thought of "He's not so bad. I could take him." Then the rest of my brain kicked in and realized I'd end up in adult diapers if Tyson connected with my head.
Now, I'm not so sure. I still won't try it. Boxing's not what I do. Sportswriters should do the same - if you can't do sports med, don't.
If you're a fan of the A's, Rangers, or Angels, you gotta like what happened at today's trading deadline. The only AL contender that clearly improved itself was the Yankees, who stole Esteban Loaiza.
The Yanks were gonna make the playoffs anyway. The odds that the wild card will come from the AL West just went up, methinks.
So I'm in this "experts" league over at Sportsline. I'm finally in contention and hold the #3 waiver spot, two behind where I need to be, so I'm looking for an edge. Anyone know how Sportsline handles crossovers? Can I sneak in and grab Nomar somehow?
The only downside to this deal is that it will take some of Maddux's spotlight tomorrow.
That said, commence your happy dance. Direct your prayers to our lord and savior, Jim Hendry, in north Chicago. Hurry to the sporting goods store to get that extra Cubs jersey lettered with "NOMAAAHHHHHHH."
The Cub Reporter and others are covering this one, but simply put, Jim Hendry robbed everyone. I'll wait to get completely obnoxious until I see the numbers, but there is simply no downside here. The Cubs gave up a potentially useful reliever (who will be replaced by Ryan Dempster), a decent prospect (at least two years away in an organization loaded with pitching prospects), and Alex Gonzalez to get a difference maker and a #1 pick. I'll take it.
Now, the Cubs SHOULD look like this tomorrow:
2B Walker (Grudz in a pseudo-platoon)
Whoa. That looks good. Not catch-the-Cards good, but Marlins-won-the-Series-as-wild-card good.
Just back from Dallas. Jamey Newberg and the Newberg Report crew put on one heck of a party. 120 passionate baseball fans, a Rangers-A's game for first, and ... well, let's just say I had a great time. I hope Jamey makes this an annual event.
So, I've been in the air most of the day on my least-favorite airline (Northwest). Luckily, I missed nothing. The Dodgers-Fish deal waited until I'd landed and the Mets-Rays deal came shortly after. The Pirates finally dealt off Benson, Charles Johnson may be a Dodger, and the Big Prize is pitching in Colorado, still a D-Back.
There's still time, so who knows what might happen. There's a number of teams playing deadline chicken, but in the end, the real winner looks like Paul DePodesta. Bleeping A, indeed.
I made a comment in comments but it bears repeating here. The tenor of some comments has gone from intelligent to strident to downright rude in some cases. That won't be tolerated. While I am strongly against censorship, I won't tolerate such behavior, so I'm asking you to police yourself. To continue our "Friendly Bar" metaphor, just remember there IS a bouncer.
Or Andy McGaffigan & Angus MacGyver
There's a Star Trek: TNG episode where the Good Guys come up with a paradoxical logic puzzle that is designed to drown the Borg Collective in a massive feedback loop, trapping the Bad Guys in a neverending attempt to solve an unsolvable puzzle. Paralysis by analysis, if you will.
I wanted to respond to Brandon Chizum's article comparing baseball and wine. What Brandon is trying to describe is the aesthetic experience: the sensation we get when we experience a pleasurable work of art, and how this sensation can be common across separate art forms. I started to try to describe this sensation scientifically, as a function of the brain. But I didn't realize that Brandon's article was, for me, a Borg Logic Trap.
My response kept growing and growing until it was no longer a short blog entry, but had evolved into some kind of horrific five-volume Manifesto Of All Things Ken, with no end in sight.
So I gave up. But I just wanted to say that there's nothing particularly unique about the link between baseball and wine. You could find similar links between Skateboarding & Flower Arranging. Or Sumo Wrestling & Opera Singing. Or Marilyn Monroe & Manny Ramirez. Or Greg Maddux & Gilgamesh. Or...
This is your brain. This is your brain on fire. Stop, drop and roll.
For you see, art is like a program fed into an automata, and the automata goes into a certain state when...
Honey, where's the remote? Oh, never mind, I found it. Click.
So then, the information "Oakland cuts Eric Karros", is input into my brain, and my brain outputs "Not Surprised". First of all, Karros didn't hit. Duh. But there's also the fact that Oakland first basemen have a rather unique requirement in their job descriptions: with all that foul territory, they need to be able to run down foul popups. Scott Hatteberg is pretty darn good at it. Karros, on the other hand, looked like a horse trying to swim through quicksand.
BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB BLUB. BLORP.
White Flag: Part 2?
If you haven't been paying attention (and I know TFD has), the WHite Sox were swept by the Twins at home and have fallen 3 and half games behind them in the division standings. It should be mentioned that the Sox lost their 2 top offensive players for possibly the season. (Ordonez and Thomas) I can't see how the team can withstand losing their 3rd and 4th place hitters and somehow still stay competitive.
I'm sure the Kenny Williams haters are licking their chops, but his Garcia move has been the biggest reason the team is only 3 games out instead of 5 or 6. I'm also guessing that if you take away the 16 million or so Thomas and Ordonez make in salary, the current overall salary of the team is lower than the Twins or the Tigers.
If you are a fan of Moneyball baseball, the team to hate the most is the Twins, as they play a style of baseball heavy on fielding and small-ball. I still think having Cuddeyer playing second and Morneau playing first would have created more wins, but then, the Twins, as usual, are playing above their Pythagenport Record.
If the White Sox are going to get back into the playoffs, they are going to have to do it counting on their pitching staff, which is probably the best one they have sported since the mid-90's. They also need Crede and Uribe to hit better. A lot to ask and the future for the franchise looks kind of bleak, as the Twins and Indians have a lot of good young players, where the Sox are middle-aged with a gutted Minor League system. EEEEEK!
The Worst Show on Television
Ok, even most conservatives will agree that Fox News is not "fair and balanced", but I will admit there are shows on the network I enjoy watching. This week The O'Reilly Factor" has been very good, with top-notch Democratic guests answering for the most part, fair, but tough questions from the self-exalted one. I have mentioned on the weblog before that I believe O'Reilly catches way too much grief from Democrats, as I think the guy is not the devil he's portrayed as.
Who Dems should be firing away at is the insane show, Hannity and Colmes. Just this week, the show has started with guests like Newt Gingrich and Zell Miller. (Crazy Conservative Crackers from Georgia) Unlike the show it was supposedly patterned after, CNN's Crossfire, Hannity and Colmes is completely slanted to the right, with Sean Hannity never admitting any culpability or blame by conservatives. Colmes, as I've discussed before is the worst example for being a Democratic advocate Fox could have found, which I'm sure is why he still has this gig.
The partianship of the Sean Hannity's of the world is as good as reason as any why we sit in a divided nation. There was a day where the Democratic Party was more Liberal than the Republican Party was Conservative (1970's), but since the Republican revolution, all the leaders of the Republican party have become strident in their positions. (DeLay, Frist, Bush, Scalia) Since Bill Clinton helped push the Democratic party more to the Center, there is no way you can point to Dems as being as Liberal.
What Republican issue has been passed that was even close to being moderate, like the Welfare Reform and NAFTA bills Clinton pushed? This type of partianship is why Democrats across the board have so much animus against Conservatives, as there has been no working together, despite being led by a man who "won" a disputed election. Ok, just needed to get a few things off my chest.
Colour Me Glowing
From today's BP Chat with Stan Conte:
Question: You're a trainer and unfortunately, there's only one source of medical information. So tell me - does Will Carroll really have a clue?
Answer: I have known Will Carroll for several years now and yes, he does have a clue. He probably has done more than any single person to highlight the importance of sports medicine in baseball. I have just recently finished his book and enjoyed it. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says but I am sure he doesn't agree with me on all things too.
His information on BP is far more accurate than anything you will see in the newspapers.
Stan, your check is in the mail.
You'll notice a slightly new title at the top of the page.
From nearly a year ago when I started this blog, it's had less of me than many of you expected. I knew I'd be sporadic, so I brought my pal TFD on to fill in the gaps with his unique takes on everything. Then I had the chance to bring in Ken Arneson and while it wasn't planned, it's kind of like one of Billy Beane's trades - it was all upside. Scott Long came on the team to lend some levity to our often take-ourselves-too-seriously tone and he's done exactly that.
It's an interesting little mix and if my "fame" allows guys like this to be more widely read, it's a good thing. I'd love to become something of a breeding ground for writers, letting guys like Ken or Scott be regulars, Blake or Brandon be occasionals, and if someone has a good idea, heck, I'll post it.
My ideal is to be the Daily Kos of baseball. Granted, I sneak over to his political ground sometimes, but I won't complain if Markos wants to talk baseball either. Seems fair. So, I'm just the ringleader. If you want to be in the circus, you've got to have an act.
I seldom address idiots, but I'll do this one. Neil, we've met at Pizza Feeds and you're another of the punks that badmouth BP and then ask for a job. Next time you want to criticize me, you have my email. Better yet, write up your criticism and I'll post it here for a point-counterpoint. That or shut the hell up.
Barry Zito-The Actor
A couple of night's ago, I caught an episode of Showtime's "The Chris Isaak Show", where the special guest star was Barry Zito.
Now if you haven't caught the Isaak show, let me say that it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It seems to be made pretty cheaply and doesn't do anything particularly artistic, but there's something special about the show.
To me, Isaak was born in the wrong decade, as if he would have been born in the 50's, he would have given Elvis a run for his money, as Chris has a terrific voice and has a great rhythm delivering comedy lines that Elvis never even came close to. To be as good-looking as Isaak and as talented and be a veritable unknown to most of the public, just shows that in our American Idol culture, real talent is out there, it just doesn't have a handy format to fit in on the Clear Channel controlled radio stations.
On to Zito, he was really good on the show, not like your Dodgers on "The Munsters" or almost any guest appearance an athlete did on "Arliss." If you haven't seen the episode, Zito discusses why he doesn't want to sex it up with Zola (Isaak's sexy manager), as he has to pitch tomorrow and he wants to control his fluid management.
Maybe this might explain Zito's down year this season. Is he not controlling his fluid release? I know Will has studied all types of pitchers releases, but here might be another medical theory to test.
The Mysterious Summer Baby Boom
Late October, when pitches aren't thrown,
Did I forget anyone?
Oh, yes, a big Happy Birthday to my youngest daughter, who turns four tomorrow.
The Reality of Reality Shows
Considering the continued flood of reality shows thudding across our nation's TV screens, I thought I would give a little insight into what I know about the process. I have friends who are involved with the NBC hit show, "Last Comic Standing", so I know a little about what happens behind the scenes.
If you haven't seen Last Comic Standing, as reality shows, it's I think about as good as gets, as at least the contestants on the show have natural talent. Unlike a show like American Idol, the comics on LCS not only perform, but they have written and crafted their material, instead of doing a kareoke performance.
I know a lot of standup comics who get angry about the LCS, as the producers of the show don't pick the 10 best standup's, but the goal of the show, like all reality shows is to get a diverse group of people that will appeal to most key demographics. They also are looking for contestants who will create tension.
VH1 is running a very illuminating documentary this month on the behind the scene truths of all reality shows. It really shows how contestants on these shows are manipulated and edited to appear more interesting than they really are. Hmm, where's the reality in that?
I've had opportunites to audition for various reality shows and have turned them down because of the manipulation and editing, which can make you appear like a complete imbecile.
The only reality show that has ever seemed interesting to me is a show that will be airing soon on Showtime titled "The American Candidate". The premise is that the producers of the show will follow 10 people who will run for President. To even qualify for this show, you had to be born in the US and be 35 years of age.
The questionairre they had you fill out was very extensive, with over 100 essay questions, such as WHAT DO YOU FEEL AMERICA'S ROLE SHOULD BE IN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY or IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I doubt these are asked during the screening process for "Fear Factor" or "Joe Millionaire".
I was contacted by the producers, but didn't make it to the final round, but I still plan on watcing the show, as the previews I've seen on Showtime make it seem like quality programming.
Even back when I was doing it, reading texts on management theory was never my favorite thing. Apart from a few well-written tomes, there were very few that said much at all, let alone encasing some profound insight.
Of course, none of them said anything at all about baseball that I can now remember. Maybe I'd have liked them more if they had ... or learned more, certainly.
Jeff Angus does a great job over at Management By Baseball, one that just falls short of an "everyday read" for me, but Business 2.0 (another thing I used to read ...) put together an interesting piece on the subject with him. Enjoy.
The Chizum Corner
Brandon Chizum checks in again, this time taking WCW where it never goes ... politics:
Approximately four months stand between the American people and Election Day 2004, a period during which we will be exposed to a seemingly never-ending series of negative bantering between the Kerry and Bush camps, each party attempting to highlight the shortcomings of the “other” candidate. And in turn, it is probably a safe bet in Vegas that a smidgeon of the possible voting public will show up at the polls on Election Day in order to crown this great country’s next President.
I often wonder when the people of America decided to shun their politicians and give up on the democratic machine of this country. What was the turning force, and how can today’s elected once again garner the trust and support of the American people without a wry smile and questionable eye appearing across the face of each voter.
A snapshot into recent American voter turnout displays a glaring and increasingly greater decline in voting levers pulled and ballots cast. It seems as if the hope and will of Americans resides more within the possible efforts of themselves, as opposed to the assisting efforts of Uncle Sam’s outstretched hands. Why is there so much apathy in deciding who is to lead this country down the path to a future greatness? Are the candidates not laudable or worthy of our attention? Or have the recent political machinations of our presidential administrations seemed too diabolical or underhanded to truly benefit the people of this land.
I argue a little of both, but neither serves as the sentimental root for America’s disenfranchised voter.
Reflecting upon that beautiful subject we call history, my gaze comes to rest upon one incident that I feel serves as the impetus for the deterioration of the American voting disposition – the destruction of America’s Camelot, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
J.F.K.’s death destroyed the hope many had in the political framework of this country, and I believe opened the eyes of the American public to an evil that existed within the world of politics (albeit politics had perpetually owned a reputation for the uncouth, regardless). President Kennedy was a magnet for votes, and an unparalleled energy surrounded his candidacy well into his Presidency. He made citizens want to vote, and upon his encouragement, the voters turned out in droves. His was a more innocent time, certainly, but the election process today still remains true to prior form -- one person, one vote.
Such an effort is lost on much of the public today, unless an existing and ardent desire in the political landscape already resides within a voter. As time passes, the younger generations pull away from this beauty of a freedom, the “vote,” and as such, only a third of America’s voice is heard, a figure that is both pitiful and shameful. The greatest proportion of voters is who -- those above the age of 55. And why? Because these individuals realize how important it is to exercise the freedom fought for through debate and war, both on American soil and beyond.
America badly needs another John Fitzgerald Kennedy to spark the fiery nature within the American people. Until then, we’ll have to make due with the likes of those candidates who present themselves under a clean light but simply regurgitate edited messages and promises.
“The world is a dangerous place to live – not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” - Albert Einstein
And the First Domino Falls...
Tell me if you couldn't see this one coming about three or four years ago.
No sooner does word begin to leak about a final decision on the Expos home than news also begins to leak about a decision on a new A's stadium. The A's are apparently going to try to get a new stadium built in the Coliseum parking lot.
I think what this really means is that Orioles owner Peter Angelos is not going to get a bucketful of cash for the Expos moving to the DC area. If Angelos had gotten a settlement, then that would have set a price that the A's could have paid the Giants for moving to San Jose. No DC price, however, no SJ dice.
The whole A's ballpark issue has always been contingent on the Expos issue. A's owner Steve Schott had been hoping, hoping, hoping for a precedent that would allow him to move his cash registers to Silicon Valley. But now he's stuck in Oakland. Sniffle, sniffle.
The Coliseum site was viewed as the second-best East Bay site by a city-funded HOK study. The best site, in downtown Oakland, has been designated for a housing project. It's a shame, because that site, with an abandoned classic movie theater, would have been a really cool place to put a ballpark. The architects could have had a field day with all those ballpark quirks carved by necessity from the surrounding neighborhood.
Parking lots have no quirks. This is my biggest concern with the Coliseum site. Well, that, and the question of where the money to build this thing is going to come from, but that's just a minor detail, right?
Like it or not, the A's are competing with the Giants for the Bay Area baseball entertainment dollar. SBC Park has San Francisco Bay to form its quirks, complete with fabulous views. How can the A's compete with that?
Obviously, the architect would need to emphasize the view of the Oakland Hills. The view won't be as fabulous as SBC's, but it would be nice.
But the A's need to have something that's better than SBC. To do that, they'd need to take advantage of SBC Park's flaws.
SBC Park is beautiful, but it's cramped. The concourses are narrow, and it's hard to walk around. Being so cramped and crowded, it's not particularly accomodating to families. In contrast, you'd probably want the New Coliseum to have spacious, comfortable concourses. You'd want a large New Stomper Fun Zone where the kids can be free to run around, perhaps like the "Park in the Park" in San Diego. Then you'd have something to offer baseball fans that's better than what the Giants have.
As for the quirks, well, I don't know how to solve that problem. In a parking lot, it would be hard to come up with quirks that wouldn't be transparently artificial. Perhaps if you go all Frank Gehry postmodern on the place, you can get a funky style to fit into the site somehow, and give it that extra bit of coolness, the sense of place that would make people want to experience being there. But that would require a brilliant architect, and a client who cares for aesthetics beyond just the beautiful sound of a cash register.
As brilliant as the A's are in running their finances and building their ballclub, I haven't seen much evidence that any sense of aesthetics runs in the A's blood. They're an organization that's more about science than art. I fear the A's will make a New Comiskey-type mistake, and just start counting the luxury boxes. We'll end up with a bland, out-of-place, run-of-the-mill retropark, and the A's won't be much better off financially than they are right now, because the ballpark will flop.
I sure hope that won't be the case. I'll be making some noise if it is. Stay tuned.
On The Road
One of the neater things about the world today is that I can write from anywhere. I'm sitting now, watching the clouds roll in off the Pacific in La Jolla. It makes things seem ... pretty good. Take a minute today and look around. Like the plastic bag in American Beauty, sometimes beauty just has to be noticed.
The Morgan Paradox
You can't use a black hole to travel to an alternate universe, Stephen Hawking explained earlier today.
Too bad. I was hoping to vacation someday in that sexy alternate universe where Spock wears a goatee and Major Kira lies around eating grapes like some kind of Roman empress.
But at least there's some consolation: by closing the door to alternate universes, Hawking produces baseball statistics, instead. According to CNN:
Hawking settled a 29-year-old bet made with Caltech astrophysicist John Preskill, who insisted in 1975 that matter consumed by black holes couldn't be destroyed.Smart guy, that Preskill. But while Hawking was explaining the relationship in our universe between black holes and baseball statistics, he failed to offer any sort of explanation for the Joe Morgan paradox.
With such a multiversal tunnel, the Joe Morgan from our universe, which has baseball statistics, could randomly flip-flop quantum states with a Joe Morgan from a universe without baseball statistics. Morgan's statements would always make sense to him, but others will perceive his utterances as either lucid or nonsensical, depending on which universe Morgan occupies at any given moment.
But with black holes ruled out as a source of multiversal tunnels, the question becomes how a multiversal tunnel could be formed.
Some have suggested that an explosion resulting from a collision of brilliant minds such as Preskill and Ken Jennings could rip a hole in the fabric of the universe large enough for Joe Morgan to pass through.
Unfortunately, Hawking did not comment on this issue in today's presentation. So for now, the Morgan paradox remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of science.
Linking, Not Thinking
Interesting portrait of Dennis Eckersley, as he prepares to enter the Hall of Fame.
Mayobanex Santana: bad player, great name.
Getting inside information about injuries in Oakland may be possible, Will. Stephen Hawking says that some information does indeed escape from black holes.
Would it be better to write a baseball book than a mystery novel, if getting published is one of your goals?
If you're wondering how I can write so badly, think about the fact that I spent two years studying in the San Jose State English Department, and you'll understand.
They Might Be Giants and Homestar Runner together? When they meet it's a happy land!
My Own Fantasy World
So when drafting my fantasy team (AL League Only), I didn't rush in to select a top-line starter in the first 3 rounds. I waited until the middle rounds and then chose J. Santana, J. Pinero, M. Buerhle, T. Lilly, and D. Lowe. From the start of the season, until the middle of May, these guys put my staff in last in all categories, except for Saves.
Since this point, though, they have all been great, except Lowe, who I finally dropped tonight. (Picked up O. Hernandez) Let me mention, if you didn't know, Santana has been pitching the last month like Pedro in his prime. Doubt anyone has any interest in my post, but I never hear any fantasy talk around here, so I thought I would throw it out.
Of course, Frank Thomas going down is going to kill my team in my SABR league!
Note to Ken Macha
Never. Ever. EVER. EVER let Ricardo Rincon face right-handed batters, unless it's a blowout.
A 0-0 game in the 12th inning is not a blowout. Every other option you have is better.
Rincon gets out Carlos Delgado, fine. That's what Rincon does, gets lefties out. But then you kept Rincon in to face Gregg Zaun. Zaun walks, of course, and a rally gets started. Fortunately, Justin Lehr bailed him out.
My Name Is Might Have Been
Pat Jordan is one of my favorite writers, period, but I love when he does pitching. He's on the BPR dream guest list. His article on Matt Harrington is great. If you haven't read Pat's books (A False Spring and A Nice Tuesday), you might not understand the empathy bleeding through the ink, but if you have, it's even more achingly poignant.
Someone suggested I find Harrington and make him a project. If anyone knows how to get in touch with him, email me. The kid deserves the chance he never got.
(Bonus points if you know the title's origin. Man, I love XM.)
Classic. The New Yorker goes street in what is destined to be the only time Ice Cube and Dick Cheney are mentioned in the same sentence.
Interview with Will
If you're like me and you've never actually met Will Carroll in person, you'll feel like you know him a whole lot better after you read this interview of Will by Alex Belth over on Bronx Banter.
More on Moore
While there are plenty of political blogs out there, there is no blog I know in any genre quite like Daily Kos. The "diaries" are something that work amazingly well and for me, redefine the idea of community on the web.
On one of those diaries, Anton Sirius drops knowledge on the critiques of Michael Moore's latest, Fahrenheit 9/11. I've discussed the film here at length, but this series of "proofs" is simply must-read material for anyone interested in the film or politics.
Better, Anton's a regular here (under a different name) and I'm proud to know him. Kudos.
Life in LA-LA LAnd
So I spend a decent amount of time in LA and let me mention, I don't see the appeal. Nightmare traffic, filled with superficiality, cost of living off the chart... but the weather is great.
Have you heard the phrase " a face for radio?" Well, that generally is the case, but not here in the land of the beautiful people. I was at 1540 the ticket and who is the host of the morning, but Roger Lodge. Yes, Blind Date's smartass narrator. Actually, Lodge is pretty good, but just weird to be talking sports with him.
Well, I know some of you love SoCal, so you should be happy to know that you don't have another convert, adding to your population explosion.
Lindsey Wilhite from the Arlington Daily Herald puts together an absolute must-read for anyone interested in pitching. I'm really, really interested in everyone's response to this. Dr. Marshall is the living embodiment of passion, but it's both positive and negative.
Add 5-8 mph to Prior's 94 (consistent) fastball? Now, that's one I'd like to see.
I have some issues with Marshall's teachings. Most of them are a combination of presentation and understanding - Marshall teaches at a high level and I don't grasp some of it. My biggest problem is one of output: Marshall has done all the research and methodology, yet he has no "publishable" results. When people ask me about certain pitching coaches, I can point to their pitchers. House? Prior, Ryan, Johnson. Mazzone? Smoltz, Glavine, and whoever this year's reclamation project is. Dick Mills has Barry Zito (though Zito also worked with Tom House.)
If Marshall's techniques are THAT GOOD - and I can't dispute that they are - then he should be able to either place a pitcher in high level competition or he's working with such inferior material that we have to seriously question why.
Heads, You Lose
This move to ban headfirst slides by the Astros is interesting. I like the idea of a team being proactive in teaching, using their power over players to enforce the things they want.
What I'm unsure of is the reasonableness of the move. A couple years ago, I showed off an AJSM study that pointed out that there's really not much difference in the numbers, but that the perception is definitely biased towards traditional slides.
Still, I think I like this move on most levels. I like the idea of a team trying to develop certain skills, even in the face of most teams not being made up of players they developed themselves. (How many Astros are Astros developed players now? Starting lineup, I think, is 3.)
God W. Bush
Here's the quote that seals it.
I've argued that the Bush administration is not Republican (with that party showing it's true roots with what it's showing to the public in NYC), is not Conservative (check its fiscal policy), and perhaps not even the closely related Trotskyites.
They're Royalists. Divine right, the Crown's right of nullification, and dynastic providence. Worse, Bush is hearing voices, leading him to be some sort of theocratic monarch or maybe a misguided George of Arc.
Some people email and say "Talk about baseball!" To me, baseball is America. Both are great, but both have the same problem: leadership.
What's Wrong With Zito?
On Baseball Prospectus Radio last week, Will asked A's beat writer Susan Slusser "what's wrong with Barry Zito?" Today, Phil Rogers asks the same question on ESPN.com.
In both cases, I'm rather flabbergasted neither Slusser or Rogers mentioned the most obvious reason: Barry Zito changed his delivery this year from the stretch. He decided to stand more upright instead of hunched over to take pressure off his knee.
The first question to ask when troubleshooting a problem is, "what changed?" So if you ask Ken Arneson the Barry Zito question, my first guess is this: the new delivery didn't work.
Why it didn't work, I'm not an expert enough to say. But I think whatever other excuses you make (missing Rick Peterson, thinking too much, less deceptive changeup, loss of control, etc.) are probably cascading problems from the original one of changing his motion.
If Zito misses Rick Peterson, it's probably because Peterson wouldn't let Zito change his motion, and Curt Young did.
I heard that he's gone back to the old style stretch delivery now, but I haven't seen it yet. I hope it will help get the old Zito back. I'll be watching tonight.
I returned from Sweden Wednesday night, went to bed, got up at 3am Thursday morning and noticed that I had tickets to Thursday night's A's-White Sox game. Oops, forgot about that.
I guess I could have tried to get rid of the tickets, but I also found upon returning that the police had found my stolen car while I was away. So instead of spending Thursday recovering from jet lag and trying to find some takers, I spent it working the police and insurance bureaucracies to get the car out of storage and to a repair shop. Fortunately, the car was in fine shape, except for a drained battery.
I didn't want to let the tickets go to waste, so I decided to go to the game. Besides, I hadn't seen so much as a baseball highlight in over three weeks. I needed some baseball.
The game started at 7pm, which is 4am Sweden time. I managed to get about a 20 minute nap before heading out to the Coliseum, which I hoped would be enough to get me through the game without falling asleep.
I arrived just in time to see the first pitch from the concourse, and by the time I reached my seat, Rich Harden had gotten three outs.
This was the best game I've ever seen Rich Harden pitch. He zipped through the batting order twice, facing the minimum through six. The best part was that he was doing it with ground outs instead of strikeouts. He was painting the corners, and keeping his pitches down in the zone. He ended up pitching eight innings, striking out only three, but getting 15 ground outs. He only threw 95 pitches. This was the Rich Harden that makes A's fans drool. The game flew by.
Really, what if Rich Harden could pitch like that more often? Have there ever been any pitchers who throw 96-100 mph who were ground ball pitchers, not strikeout pitchers?
The A's rode a Bobby Crosby double to a three-run rally in the 4th, and Eric Chavez homered in the next inning, and those were all the runs the A's needed. Harden gave up a tip-your-hat-to-a-good-hitter homer to Magglio Ordonez in the 7th, but that was all.
I got my first look at Octavio Dotel in the ninth, and was satisfied with what I saw. He didn't show much velocity in walking the first batter, hitting only 92 mph on the gun. I started thinking "Arthur Rhodes all over again", because Rhodes showed up with the A's not throwing as hard as advertised, too. Then Dotel started cranking it up to 95, and got the next three guys out.
The game was over in 2:02, and there wasn't a happier guy in Oakland about that than me. I stayed awake for the whole game, collapsed into bed by 10pm, feeling in fine shape, except for a drained battery.
Desperately Seeking Sons
Sons of Sam Horn got involved famously in the Curt Schilling deal last off-season, but as far as I can tell, there's nothing moving among the four teams to which Johnson has indicated he would go. Rather, there's no Sons of Moose Skowron, is there?
Granted, Randy is far from being the publicity hound that Curt is, so it probably won't have any effect, but if you're in one of the four cities, run a blog or discussion board, and really think Randy's worth three of your top prospects, it might not hurt to let him know what you think.
Oh, what four teams? Anaheim, Chicago, St Louis, and New York.
Back from NYC
So, Cold Pizza was interesting.
I'll pretty much leave it there.
Bloomberg was insane - I've never seen a headquarters like that. I mean, they had TV's on the friggin' floor! Both Steve Goldman and I were impressed, to say the least.
Took some meetings at places you'd know. You'll hear more later.
Had flights cancelled both ways. That sucked, but I got a lot of writing done.
One of the best parts of the week was dinner with Alex Belth, Alex Ciepley, Cliff Corcoran, and Jay Jaffe. Amazing guys and great baseball minds. Then I got to watch the ASG with Cliff, Jay, and Steve. Classic, even though the game sucked.
Steven Goldman rules. Nice, smart, and one of the best writers around.
So now I'm back, have a day to put BPR together, Mark Prior's heading for an MRI tomorrow, and some assface put a negative and inaccurate interview up on Amazon. I'm going to take a deep breath and get back to the routine tomorrow.
But I don't know about DePodesta
I was flipping through the Swedish TV channels one jet-lagged night, and ran across an imported American show I never watch, Once and Again. It only took a second to realize that if you want a lookalike, Billy Campbell will play Billy Beane in Moneyball, The Movie.
Broken Arms, iPods and Bush Bashing
Jon Carroll channeled some Will Carroll in his column today.
The two most consistent junk senders I receive are from "enlarge your penis" ads or bulletin points from the Republican National Committee touting how they are making the world a better place. I have no idea who sold me out to these two organizations, but I can tell you, I treat their claims with the same skepticism. Maybe the Bush administration's October Surprise is a new drug that can increase the size of the male member. If that is the case, the few white men who aren't set to vote for Bush/Cheney will have to join the Republican ledger.
(Note: Too many posts lately have been about fine wine, philosophy, and travel to Swedish outposts, so I felt it was time to reach the other half who reads this blog. I guess everyone has a role to play and mine is the anti-intellectual one. Maybe the Bush for President emails are working on me, subliminally.)
Baseball & Wine
My pal - and new research assistant on the next book (subject and title currently secret ... ok, I don't have a title yet) - Brandon Chizum sent along this little tidbit.
I experienced an epiphany recently, the likes of which has never struck me before, oddly enough. While staring out my living room window, watching the rain slide down the glass, it dawned on me that the similarities between two of my loves, baseball and wine, are many, and as such, my writing gene began to stir. The following paragraphs are the result of my jumbled thoughts. (Who says brevity is key when expression is so vital?)
The beauty of a wonderfully sculpted Bordeaux rests within its ability to heighten the senses throughout the wine tasting; the beginning, middle, and finish of the swirl, sniff, sip and savor serves as perfection in a glass, sparking an enriching experience on the tongue of the drinker and startling those taste buds surprised by nature’s grape nectar.
Similarly, a baseball fan’s visit to the ballpark acts as a catalyst in awakening the images we dream of and associate with the best sport in creation -- the green, patterned-grass, the scent of popcorn wafting through the air, the crack of the bat, the thump! of the catcher’s mitt -- occurrences that greatly pique the interests of those privy to such an occasion.
Impressions like these are felt by me constantly (and hopefully each of you as well) during my ventures into either forum – into wine tasting mode or biased baseball observer – and the results that appear afterwards may not be perfect, but damn, how focused and intrigued are we to learn even more about these subjects.
For example, the twinge felt as the cool, crisp Sancerre smacks our lips on a hot summer day is akin to a major leaguer pitcher painting the inside corner of the plate with a 92 m.p.h. fastball. Our level of anticipation easily rises before that monumental pitch is hurled towards home plate, or before we truly discover what it is that drives those enamored with wine to purchase bottles for hundreds of dollars.
A love, a captivated audience, a passionate and devoted following -- these end-results are the culmination of those processes that build and add to our daily learnings and experiences with both wine and baseball, efforts that provide us joy beyond measure, no matter if the playing field is Wrigley or a Spiegelau wine glass.
For example, the smooth, subtle experience of a nice Merlot can be compared to the fluidity of a pitcher’s mechanics and motion, e.g., a Mark Prior or Greg Maddux. The bold, “look at me” tasting of a Petite Sirah serves as a mirror to say, a homerun crushed by the underdog in the bottom of the ninth. Compare a baseball triple? Not a problem – an exquisite “Burgund-ian” effort, confident and well-timed, one wine at the top of the class.
Of course, the absolutely stunning beauty of a Barolo is easily comparable to that double which plates two runs and affects the spirits of even the slightest baseball fan. So whether it be the grandeur of Fenway or that well-crafted Zinfandel, the majestic Yankee Stadium or that elegant Oregon Pinot Noir, rest assured that the unheralded beauty of both baseball and wine can be expressed as simple, undisputed maxims.
I am well aware that many more wine & baseball similarity examples could be tossed around the imaginary discussion table, but my attempt to list only a few is intentional, primarily for reasons of time and of course, the beckoning of dinner. And because of my close-to-absurd avidity of both baseball and wine, I hope this article genuinely sparks an interest in each of you to pursue the sensory nirvana that surrounds both baseball and wine.
So here’s to vintners and managers, players and grape-pickers, tasters and fans – all enthusiasts, and all integral to the maintenance of two separate, but for today, theoretically intertwined loves, and oh, how close they reside to our respective souls.
TFD pointed her out, but here's another great "guest column". I'm not sure if she's the Barry Bonds of columnists or the Super Joe Charbonneau, but it is quite the streak.
I'm debating a longer piece on the Federal Marriage Amendment, but I'm hoping that (a) I can talk to Alex Ciepley while I'm in NYC, (b) that Alex writes it up, or (c) that the whole damn thing is moot.
Just a quick update: I had a pitcher - HS jr - come in for a session today and we worked on the gyroball a bit. He's still struggling a bit with the pronation, but he was able to throw the pitch pretty easily. An observer watching with me just giggled at the movement.
It's a very small step, but the pitch *is* teachable. I also have a feeling that it's going to be frighteningly effective.
Farewell Sweden, No Regrets
Crossing the globe to visit relatives has its benefits, but relaxation isn't among them. Planes, trains, buses, boats, and cars...moving from one relative's town to the next, packing luggage, hauling luggage, unpacking luggage...when I get back to America, I'm going to need a vacation.
So an hour or two to pause and gather my thoughts here is quite welcome. Perhaps that's why I like to blog: to relax, as mental therapy, a short respite from the sufferings of real life.
* * *
If Paul Simon had gone to Sweden instead of South Africa, would I be humming "Diamonds on the Seats of my SAAB" right now? Nah. To say those words and mean them would be to stop making sense.
Displaying luxury is the least Swedish thing you could possibly do. The Swedish Dream can be summed up in one word: "Lagom". There's no direct English translation for that word, but it's an adjective that means "just the right amount or size, neither too much nor too little."
Swedes don't want the biggest house with the biggest cars and the most prestigious job with the biggest salary. They want a lagom house, with a lagom car, and a lagom job that pays a lagom salary. To be moderately successful is ideal; being a huge success is embarrassing. Have you ever heard a Swedish athlete brag?
* * *
Eastern philosophy holds that the path to enlightenment is to avoid desire, and thereby avoid suffering. Western philosophy holds that the path to enlightenment is to embrace desire despite the suffering that results. Swedish philosophy is a compromise: enlightenment through a moderation of desires and a moderation of suffering.
I've spent three years living in Sweden, but I have never been able to embrace that Swedish philosophy on a personal level. To me, it's like preferring to hit a double over a home run. I want to either play hard, or not play at all. What's that quote about hell being reserved for the neutral?
* * *
On this trip, I visited Köping, population 17,000, the town where I lived from the ages of 13-15. As an kid with American-sized dreams, Köping seemed like Satan's Own Godforsaken Frozen Hellhole of Boredom. Your main choices in life seemed to be to (a) grow up and work at the local Volvo transmission factory, or (b) get the hell out of Köping.
I was baptized and confirmed in Köping's 500-year-old Lutheran church, but it didn't help me feel any closer to Heaven. Eventually, my prayers--please God, let my answer be (b)--were answered, and I got a chance to return home to America.
It's been twenty-two years since I left Köping, and today, it's the same as it ever was. The Volvo factory still dominates the town. The water is still flowing in the river downtown. The church is still the tallest building. There's a McDonald's now, though. That's progress.
* * *
I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had stayed in Köping. I probably would have had a lagom job and a lagom house and a lagom car and a lagom Swedish wife with lagom smart kids, and I would have let the days go by until one day I would have asked myself, "Where is my fabulous job?" And I would have asked myself, "Where is my large automobile?" And I would have said to myself, "This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!"
I would have said to myself, "I have never been to Yankee Stadium" and I would have driven off in my car, taking that highway where it leads to, leaving a trail of broken hearts, suffering their lagom losses.
While Scott's making his World Tour in Birmingham, I'll be all over the place today. BPR is today of course, but I'm also doing radio with Chuck Wilson (8:20 East), in Albuquerque, and more NYC tonight.
I think if I can just convince everyone that I'm Will FERRELL, I can get some more gigs. Where's my cowbell?
Interesting thoughts from Allan Barra
So I'm in Birmingham, Alabama and before I appear on the sports station I was guesting on, the host interviewed Allan Barra by phone. Barra had an interesting thing he brought up about how this must be the oldest All-Star roster of all-time. Talked about how in the 1950's most of the best players were in their 20's (Mantle, Mays, etc.)
He also discussed his theory on how the youth of America are producing less athletes, as there are too many other things competing with their interest like video games and the internet. (he didn't mention the Will Carroll blog, but I'm sure that was on the list)
I'm paraphrasing some of Barra, but it was a really interesting interview. He also said he was close to completing a book on Bear Bryant. Look forward to it.
I'm not as much worried about Spencer Ackerman's great, great, great piece on the Bushies/Neocons putting pressure on Pakistan to deliver a "high value target" as most. I think most Americans would be smart enough to see the politics in play if, say, Zawahiri showed up the day of the Kerry keynote in Boston.
Then again, maybe not.
Without digging through too many polls telling us too many things, let's call the current campaign neck and neck, red and blue, whatever you feel comfortable with. It's close, definitely within the margin of error even after a bump from the Edwards announcement. Assuming all stays relatively normal over the next few weeks, Kerry/Edwards will get the bump from the Dem convention. (I'm not sure why. The conventions are boring, relatively meaningless, and barely covered. I don't know, but bloggers might push this slightly more mainstream, but I doubt it.)
Then comes the Republicans New York plan. I hope they don't co-opt too much of the imagery of the attacks, the WTC, etc, but I expect them to do so. It will play well on TV and with the ... shall we call it non-elite rather than unwashed masses and flagwaving xenophobes?
It's what comes next that worries me. The more I hear and think about it, I'm beginning to think that Cheney does get bumped from the ticket. Not so much bumped as "reprioritized." Rove and his crew isn't stupid and despite some recent missteps, I don't think they've lost it. Instead of saying Cheney gets bumped, Bush sells it as "We need Dick helping sell this to the allies. He needs to be Secretary of State." There will be some implied failure pointed at Colin Powell as he slinks off from his eight year dalliance with the Republicans. There will be some additional shuffling in the cabinet. It's typical and it will keep with the theme of reprioritization.
The one that stays, I think, is Rumsfeld. He's probably the best candidate for the VP slot, but even Rove will see that the negatives of that move are too strong. Who then gets the slot? There will be some endless speculation, perhaps just before or even during the convention. Like Kerry, the announcement will be placed for the highest media effect. As with Kerry's selection, the media will vette the usual suspects:
John McCain: Nope, doesn't fit in, but he gets a high profile speech at the convention and perhaps a cabinet slot. Homeland Security perhaps?
Tom Ridge: Homeland Security may be a mess and the color-coded system is making Ridge sound like he's crying wolf, but he's still well-known, is symbolic of the stateside terror focus, and he has a long-standing relationship with Bush.
Condi Rice: Nope. I'm not sure she stays as NSC - maybe Chief of Staff? Even with her rep, the country clubbers, let alone the country, isn't ready for a black female VP.
Rudy Giuliani: Here's the popular choice. He wasn't well-liked in NYC before he became "America's Mayor," but only people in NYC know that. He's great on TV, he's well-known, but according to people I've spoken to in DC, he's not a guy Bush would even consider. I haven't been able to test this, but evidently Bush doesn't feel that someone who has divorced is suitable for high office. If anyone can name a divorced Bush official, please feel free to correct this notion.
Jeb Bush: Perhaps, but it smacks of dynasty. Jeb's popular in Florida, but isn't charismatic enough to overcome the negatives. He'll do what he did last time - focus on delivering Florida. We'll see Jeb again in '08.
Mitt Romney: Could you vote for a guy named Mitt? He's not well-known enough and it would blunt some of the experience-based attacks on Edwards. Again, he's a face for '08.
Arnold: Damn that Constitution. Otherwise, maybe, even with all the negatives.
Frank Keating: Bit of a dark horse, but the Oklahoma governor stood out after the OKC bombings, has an FBI background, and few negatives. He doesn't bring much regionally to the ticket, lacks charisma, but he'd look strong.
Zell Miller: Would Rove reach across to the Democrat-in-name-only in order to look bipartisan? Perhaps, but Miller would be so controversial, it's not as big a positive as many thought McCain would be to Dems.
So, who's my favorite? One I haven't mentioned yet. One with the symbolism, the experience, and the all-powerful state in his back pocket. Sure, he lacks charisma and as much national notoriety, but tell me that George Pataki doesn't look like the perfect VP.
Bush-Pataki '04? Don't be surprised.
If anyone out there can read Japanese, or better, search the web in Japanese and have some free time in the next week, I'm willing to offer a co-byline on a piece I'm working on. It's mostly fact checking and translation work. Inquire within.
Aha, baseball and politics - that's got to go here.
From Lloyd Grove's column:
Mother Jones magazine reports that at least five current and former owners are Bush-appointed U.S. ambassadors, including former Seattle Mariners owner George Argyros, now ambassador to Spain despite his inability to habla español; Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals co-owner Mercer Reynolds III, now ambassador to Switzerland, who speaks neither German nor Italian; St. Louis Cardinals co-owner Stephen Brauer, our man in Brussels, who doesn't speak French or Flemish; Texas Rangers co-owner Jeffrey Marcus, who very briefly was appointed ambassador to Belgium but never reported for duty because of sticky divorce proceedings; and former Texas Rangers co-owner and Bush cousin-by-marriage Craig Stapleton, ambassador to the Czech Republic, who reportedly stormed out of a tough meeting on Iraq with the Czech prime minister and undiplomatically slammed the door behind him.
Ok, that's pretty classic. Ambassadorships are usually something of a joke, so I won't pile on Bush for doing what every president does. Much.
For once, Keith Scherer and I agree on something political in nature. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, but that doesn't mean we march in lockstep. I like being challenged. Keith sent me a link to a great op-ed from the O.C.
Sadly, tell me this dude's not correct. I'm not familiar with the writer, so if anyone knows his background/leanings, I'd appreciate the context.
Stop Making Sense
While I admittedly worship Prince, Purple Rain wasn't the best concert film of 1984. In what I still consider the best year for music ever, Prince's movie - and yes, I consider it mostly a concert film - was followed shortly by a FILM. Art in capital letters, choreographed and powerful, the Talking Heads and Jonathon Demme burst out with Stop Making Sense.
I don't own many DVDs, but these are both must owns. David Byrne is perhaps the unlikeliest rock star. He lacks the looks and charisma of every one from Elvis to Prince, Springsteen to Bono, but somehow, his odd presence infects us slowly. The buildup of the movie is it's masterpiece. Byrne standing on the bare stage, alone with a guitar, ends with the full sonic funk of my favorite TH tune "Girlfriend is Better."
There are better reviews out there, mostly from the 15th anniversary release of the DVD, but at 20, the film still holds up. If you haven't seen it, it's worth your while. Even if you never got the Talking Heads, an admittedly acquired taste, it's fascinating to see this band become a force.
The title of "Best Rock N Roll Band In The World" is tossed around like the Heavyweight championship, but for three nights in 1984, it's hard to question that the Talking Heads didn't hold the belt.
(One of these days, I'm going to do the 'lineal champion' of rock n roll, just after I do the lineal baseball champs.)
Finally Something Positive Happens in the 2004 Presidential Campaign
I know we have Bush fans and Kerry fans that check in at the blog, so let me offer my opinion on our current choices. They both stink! Sorry, but is this the best our country can up with? I know some would say, "Well you're just a cynic who would be disappointed in almost anyone chosen" and to that I would respond by saying you're probably right. But never in my lifetime have I been left with more of an empty feeling when contemplating my options for President.
Much of my problem with these two candidates is they are the same guy. Oh, not in their political positions, but in the way they grew up. Of course, George W. is the son of well-connected, wealthy politician, but did you know that Kerry grew up the son of a well-connected, wealthy diplomat. Bush and Kerry both went to a New England prep school. Bush and Kerry both went to Yale. Bush and Kerry were both members of the nefarious fraternity, Skull and Bones that only chooses 15 new members annually. Wow, what diversity!
When did becoming President become some kind of monarchy? If you think I'm jumping to my conclusion, who are the Republican and Democratic frontrunners for 2008? Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton top the list of names usually mentioned. Let me put it another way, does anyone think that George W. Bush or John Kerry would have reached their current standings, without the high-placed connections they have enjoyed since birth?
What happened to the days when you had to actually be a self-made person to become the leader of the free world? Think of Abraham Lincoln who grew up in a small-town in Illinois, raised by a family that just scraped by. Ronald Reagan had much the same biography.
Even Bill Clinton haters have to admit that his life is a remarkable story. Clinton never knew his father, his stepfather used to beat his mother. His mother was the Tammy Faye Bakker of Arkansas. When you break it down, Bill Clinton was our first white trash President. And because of that, we should have never been surprised he stole some furniture on his exit. I mean come on, he's white trash! Bill probably thought the stuff was rent-to-own. Don't be surprised if some day he hawks some of the stuff on the Antique Roadshow.
I decided to share my feelings on this topic because of Kerry's selection of John Edwards as his running mate. Edwards connects with me, as I see a guy who has a clue what most American?s life is like. George W. Bush has glided through his whole life, trading on his grandfather and father's name. John Kerry has done much the same, while maybe not being able to trade on the same name power, as Gee Du(m)b has done, Kerry has had the bonus of marrying two different women with vast family fortunes.
Sure, Edwards is a very wealthy man from his days as a trial lawyer, but he didn't spend most of his life with a free hall pass. Many on the right have said Edwards is flawed because of this trial lawyer experience, but I would say that the majority who feel negative about his past career are corporate executives. Now, who do you think the majority of Americans feel more negative about, trial lawyers or corporate executives?
Sure it's Kerry who is the Presidential candidate, but for many people who were just using the ABB method of voting (anybody but Bush), it's a lot more reinvigorating that Edwards is part of the ticket. Even if Kerry loses the election, it gives Edwards a national profile that keeps Democratic Party insiders from pushing the Hilary Clinton 2008 coronation and what a national wreck that would be for the Dems.
(Just in case you wondered, Slate's Mickey Kaus did not ghostwrite this piece.)
Trade Rumor Jeopardy
I can't do blind items, so I'll just play Alex Trebek for a bit:
What reliever wants to leave his latte behind and may head for Chicago, Houston, Boston, or New York?
What outfielder will breathe easier when he gets nearer sea level in Texas or San Fran?
Which red-ass could become a teal-ass over the All-Star Break?
Playing the construction worker in baseball's version of the Village People (and no, that's not a gay reference), which professional hitter could finish the season in SBC?
Which manager is ready to return to the game and likes what he sees in Houston?
No prizes this time, but knock yourself out in comments.
Kerry has a VP. I'm not inspired, but he'll at least be a good opponent for Cheney in the debates. He's a good public speaker - the best available choice, I think - and an attractive candidate.
On the other side, a very smart campaign commercial showing John McCain painted as "Kerry's first choice" is about to run for Bush. For all of you advocates of the Kerry-McCain ticket, this is what I warned you about. If nothing else, this commercial should show that Queensbury rules aren't in effect. Kerry better not bring a knife to a gun fight.
I'd like to say a hearty and heartfelt thank you to everyone, not only for reading my work and participating in discussions with me, but for helping my book do as well as it has. I'm proud to announce that I've sold enough copies to make some money over and above the advance. The Porsche Boxster will have to wait, but getting the knowledge in the book out there is the most important part. Without everyone helping to get the word out, it would be hidden knowledge, just as it was before I wrote STP.
But it's not over. I'm told that Rob Dibble may have referenced "STP" on BBTN in much the way that many speak of "Moneyball." If so, we're winning. We're seeing the work done by Craig Wright, Keith Woolner, and Rany Jazayerli start to crack the mainstream. I was even able to write on MLB.com!
I was worried when my publisher, Ivan Dee, suggested calling my book "A Revolutionary Approach," but as with most things, he was right. It's the start of a revolution, or perhaps an evolution. Either way, the pitchers born today will have a safer game when they're old enough to play. Keep up the fight and again, thank you.
I must give special thanks to those who have helped in special ways: Everyone at Ivan R. Dee, Tim Marchman, TFD, and everyone at BP.
Is This Heaven?
No truth to the rumor that Kerry will select Joe Jackson as his running mate, though there's more chance of that than Hillary.
(Link via the great (and hot) Wonkette)
One of the biggest feats in baseball history IGNORED
Sure we live in a new baseball world where OBP is even displayed during at bats on ESPN telecasts, but the game still has a long way to go. Today Barry Bonds just broke Rickey Hendersons's all-time record for career walks, which I had no idea was about to occur, until after the fact. No national countdown, no headlines on the local news, just a blurb seven stories down on the Yahoo Sports page. True, it's not very visually dramatic to see a batter draw a base on balls, jog to first, and then be saluted for his all-time record, but it's a lot more of an important stat then the stolen base record, that was focused on when the Rickey broke that record.
In answer to an email -- and about a million others in the past -- let me get this out there, so that people have this crystal clear:
I am not a doctor.
I do not play one on TV. I am not certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association. I am not an Allied Health Professional.
I am a writer with a unique skill set, good connections, and luck. My qualifications are only those and my credibility is based on my work and my readers.
But the next email I get addressed to "Dr. Carroll" is going to have consequences.
WTF, Part 34
Remember those freakazoidish Quizno's ads? Well, I missed it originally, but Slate explains it all ... well, as much as you can explain a "spongmonkey."
I'm no apologist for Kerry. His campaign is an unmitigated joke and his success has less to do with him than it does his not-Bush-edness. His positions are weak, he comes across poorly on TV, but did I mention he's not Bush? Seriously, what's Kerry's slam dunk issue?
(And I'm not even talking about Drudge's idiotic Hillary rumors. If it happens, I will publicly hunt, kill, cook, and eat a crow. A real f--king crow.)
So what Kerry needs is some advice from a baseball writer with half-baked political ideas. Hey, I can play Junior James Carville if I want on my blog. Here's the meme to set up:
John Kerry:"As my first act as elected President of the United States, I will pardon George W. Bush of all crimes. Just as with Nixon, the country must go forward and a divisive court battle will not help unite our country. President Bush made mistakes, but I will not stand for the type of partisan politics of personal destruction that we have faced over the last decade."
Brilliant, isn't it, in it's slippery way? I didn't invent soundbite politics, I just understand the rules.
DC My Ass
TFD has already linked to this hacktastic, whispered-in-his-ear, stenography school piece by Hal Bodley. It's no secret that Bud and Bob have their chosen outlets, but I'd guess a big piece of USA Today's non-baseball audience that glances through the red section might not know that.
I talked today with someone close to Bud and close to the process. While I certainly wasn't given anything "secret," I did get more on the line of thinking, so let's follow:
1. No candidates have been eliminated - well, no, not officially. Some suck, but as long as they can be strung along in hopes that something amazing will happen, why not?
2. D.C. is the top choice - Sure, as long as it helps negotiations with Angelos, as the last line of the piece shows.
3. Committee "will be guided" - there's no frickin' committee. Oh, in name, and maybe they even meet, but this is and always has been Bud's decision alone.
4. The Dark Horse - Norfolk isn't as far out as everyone thinks. They have a distinct advantage in the temporary stadium and seem to have funding for a permanent stadium. I'm unconvinced of the viability of the market (and as a 4 year Tidewater resident in the late 80's, I can't imagine it's changes that much), but there *is* money in their proposal.
5. Gambling - It doesn't scare Bud off, but he's worried about the public perception and the chance it brings Pete Rose up in some relativistic discussion.
6. The Decision - Expect another delay, which is really the last thing baseball needs.
Disgusting, really. A simple decision would seem easy. Even an auction wouldn't be a bad idea. Just let it go to the high bidder with a valid stadium plan. Be free market even with an antitrust exemption. Hell, even contraction is looking better than this mess.
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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