It's time once again for random notes about baseball, anything, and nothing, all at once:
* Got the iPhone 3G. REALLY re-thought it after the clusterbleep that was the multilaunch of the iPhone, MobileMe, and the iPhone 2.0 software. Scoble nailed it, saying that "few companies have so much brand love in reserve that it can get this reaction" in the face of what was truly a moment of technical meltdown and corporate arrogance. Still, when my guy at Apple called and said they could get me one today, I bit. I honestly don't think I would have done it had I already not arranged to sell my old iPhone. The upgrade is cool, but not SO cool that it doesn't require some thought. I finally "get" geotagging and location based services and the iPhone might just give them critical mass.
* Speaking of Scoble, we need one for sports. David Pinto is the closest we have, but if you read both, you'll see that it's not the same. Kind of surprising given more people are passionate about sports than they are about the stuff Scoble covers. Hey Scoble, why is that the case?
* The explanation that finally got me to understand geotagging came from Jon Gruber. Wait, I can't find the link, so maybe it wasn't. Crap, I hate when that happens. (It was Dave Winer. Thank you, Evernote.) Anyway, the idea is that let's say I go to a ballgame and take some pics. I put them up on Flickr, geotagged, and then I can search for other pics with the same date and location. I could see the same play from the other side of the stadium. Maybe that idiot waving to his friend at home behind the plate took some pics. Maybe some pics will have me in them. It could crowdsource memory. I first kind of got this when I saw three people put up pics from the NYC Party, but I only saw them because they sent them to me.
* The MLB.com application for iPhone is beyond cool (and works great on the old one as well.) If they do anything approximating Gameday or MLB.tv, I will buy it.
* Loopt is a way, way cool app. It's a stalker's wet dream to be sure, but if you're not scared of being tracked a bit, it might be better than Twitter. It has to be amazing in a big city like NYC or SF. The add-on to Facebook is rockin' too.
* Rich Harden looked pretty good in his Cubs debut. The velocity was there, all three pitches were working, but I do think that Lou Piniella is going to have to watch him really, really closely. For pitchers like this, I'm at a point where I think you should almost have a reliever that shadows him. Same with Scott Kazmir, at least until he begins to grasp pitch efficiency. It doesn't have to be a dedicated reliever, but knowing that Harden's only going to go five or six should be thought of the day before. Setting him behind someone who tends to go deep into games like Ted Lilly would be smart.
* After the debacle of my "almost done" with Johan Santana, I decided to stop doing rumors. Yet here I am, doing it again. The fact is that I keep hearing them and you can't just not say anything. At least I can't.
* James Hunter's new album is like finding a lost Sam Cooke album. Recorded in pure analog, it feels like an old Stax album. I'm not sure how I really feel about something that's so deliberately retro, but Hunter really sounds passionate about that kind of music, so why the heck not? It's certainly worth a listen and may well be on my current 2008 Top Ten.
* Best, most thought provoking article I've seen in a while. (It's a blog post. I say article anyway. Article, old school as it is, still sounds more authoritative.)
* Speaking of authoritative, I was listening to a lecture by Bart Ehrman about his book "Misquoting Jesus." He took questions and someone brought up a book that sounded like it was new-agey claptrap. The guy asked why he should believe Ehrman over this and Ehrman replied was a low-tinged "Authority." It was the height of arrogance and almost right. I have this issue all the time as people say that their degree in this or that or their experience working with old ladies that have broken hips make them more qualified to do my job than me. Trust, to me, is more important than authority. All things equal, you'd take the word of Neil ElAttrache over me when it comes to sports medicine, but people like Neil don't have time to call around and write UTK every day. I can remember years ago I'd grab up every season preview magazine on the shelves before baseball season. A couple years ago, I started to do the same and realized I didn't know most of these people writing in them. I didn't trust them, but because it was in print, they had authority. I put the magazine back down.
* Home Run Derby. I honestly don't care, but I think they should shake it up a bit so it doesn't turn into the Slam Dunk contest in the late 90's. Get 20 guys, they get five homers each and we measure for distance. I mean ACTUALLY measure. (Hit Tracker ready yet, Greg?) Let's get some of those really tightly wound balls and give the guys some aluminum bats. If we're going to put on a show, put on a SHOW.
* fdfrdrdderfffffdfdeerree ... ok, that was me cleaning off my keyboard. No idea why my "R" key gets munged up worse than most. Hand position? Just me?
* Someone told me John Mayer covered Layla in concert last year. I would KILL to hear this. UPDATE: In looking for this, I came across video of what is described by many as the most amazing guitar solo in the last decade. I'm biased, because it's Prince, shredding the Eric Clapton portion of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." You must watch this. If anyone happens to know who the guy playing the electric part before Jeff Lynne sang is, let me know. I love the way Dhani Harrison gives Prince this nod, like he knows what's about to happen. Dhani looks so much like George that its eerie.
* I got told within twenty minutes of each other than I was the biggest a**hole in baseball (which is pure hyperbole) and one of the nicest guys (also hyperbole.) I'm not on the top 50 list of top a**holes and not the top 100 of nice guys, but it goes to show that there's truth to both, based on perception.
* Every time I hear the song "Raspberry Beret", I'm brought back to sitting in the parking lot of the Green Springs record store (I'm drawing a blank on the name of the store) and listening to the CASSETTE in my Fiero. (Yeah, I'm old.) I'm not sure if that strip mall is even still there. The Riverchase Galleria was just being built back in my days there. Anyway, it's one of the few songs I have that draws such a sharp place memory.
* Big congrats to Scott (good and bad versions) on headlining at Soldier Field. That's pretty damn cool.