2004-10-21T16:11:09.456-07:00Due to obscene time constraints, I can't write about yesterday until tomorrow. Consider this a placeholder for about three topics:
2004-10-19T21:38:49.066-07:00scuromezzo: I think my ovaries exploded
2004-10-17T00:58:35.460-07:00...you must remember this.
2004-10-14T07:41:44.510-07:00And yet I'm still not in full on panic mode... yes there's about a million things I'd like to change about this series so far... but its got a ways to go yet... Bronson Arroyo is destined to be our lord and saviour... I've been saying it since last year.
2004-10-12T21:53:52.540-07:00Here we go again ladies and gentlemen....
2004-10-03T15:47:52.343-07:00This is very long. It only deals with the Red Sox peripherally. Still, I think it's a decent read. It concerns events in Evanston, Illinois on the night of October 2nd, 2004. ***** Yesterday, my friends and I went out to Deering Field to play some football. The topic of discussion, between all the missed tackles and bobbled catches, was the Northwestern-Ohio State game we were going to that night. "Thirty-three years, right? That's how long it's been since we beat OSU?" We may not be particularly good at football here at Northwestern, but we do love it, and with that love comes a surplus of knowledge. We know all the players, and given the small size of the school, sometimes we actually do know the players. We know their weaknesses, their strengths, and their style of play much better than they do. Or, at least, we think we know better than they do. So, when four guys from Ohio State joined our poor imitation of a football game, there was almost a tacit agreement in place. There was no point taunting one another, because the outcome of the game was, dare I say it, a foregone conclusion. This is what happens when you root for the hapless. Losing, onec commonplace, is easier to swallow. And besides. Thirty-three years? You can't overcome history like that. When the game finally broke up, as the OSU guys were walking away, I shouted to them before joining my friends on the walk back to our dorm: "Nice game guys, and good luck tonight. I don't think you'll need it, though." ***** There is one Ohio State fan in our dorm: Steve, from Ohio. He's taking the ribbing good-naturedly as we ride the shuttle up to Ryan Field (which used to be called Dyke Stadium, but was renamed for obvious reasons). "I hear we're playing the Overrated State University tonight." "Staaaate School. Staaaaate School. Staaaate School." "Hey, if football's all you got, you'd better be good at it." ...and so on, and so on. Steve is the only Northwestern student wearing scarlet and gray on the bus, and he'll be called on it a bunch of times during the night, but for now, he's content yelling support to the legions of Ohio State tailgaters. Since Northwestern's such a small school compared to the rest of the Big Ten, we're routinely outnumbered at home games. This is spelled out very clearly to me as soon as I get to the stadium. Red. Red in the parking lot, red in the ticket lines, Red everywhere. I start seeing red. ***** I've despised Ohio State ever since my short stint on Northwestern's fencing team. At the time, Ohio State was ranked very highly in men's fencing, and Northwestern's men's team was a respectable club team. As a comparison, talent-wise, it would be like me lining up against Richard Seymour and expecting to come out on top. Anyhow, they were bastards. With few exceptions, they were cocky and boorish, screaming incoherently after every touch and making a scene out of winning a bout. Their coach was an evil old Russian guy who made a habit of working the referees at every match, cajoling them into giving his fencers a few calls. I spent most of my first bout frantically failing to defend myself, and most of the second pondering ways to injure the jackass I was facing. Needless to say, I don't like them. This extends to their bloody football team as well. They remind me of a certain other team, only with scarlet and gray replaced by paralell lines of black and white. No pinstripes on these guys, but the feeling when facing them is similar. ***** Brian Huffman jogs out onto the field, and the student section begins to cheer him. This is unusual for two reasons. The first is that Northwestern's student section is notoriousl[...]
2006-04-28T16:43:07.380-07:00Per sitemeter.com, the following Google searches have led to Bigger than Life or Death:
2004-09-21T20:54:22.956-07:00Something I'll remember when, one day, I figure Mark Bellhorn out, is his reaction after his only hit of the game... Hogwash! The game itself was complete hogwash, and I was about ready to write it off. Our closer, who any objective analysis will indicate is among the league's best, had made one truly bad pitch in his outing, and that pitch rapidly went from bat to air to Lansdowne Street. The fact that he got the next batter to ground out weakly just added to the ridiculousness of the situation. This was a game that we very easily should have bloody won, and we were about to lose it to the Orioles. There is no team in baseball that I hate more than the Yankees. Let's make that abundantly clear right now. I wish horrible things on them on a daily basis. They occupy every cell in my head devoted to hate, save one. That once other cell is focused ten thousand percent on the Baltimore Orioles. Ever hear of the expression "Kingmaker"? It's given to the third wheel in any situation, one guy who absolutely cannot win but can choose who does. It's a unique position, and one that is special for the amount of wrath in can earn from the jilted party. This season, the Orioles are the kingmakers of the AL East-rolling over to the Yankees while playing the Red Sox to the bone. Call it Miguel Tejada getting his revenge for the 2003 ALDS, call it Lee Mazilli being on George Steinbrenner's payroll, call it luck, call it whatever you want. It sure sucks. Because of this, every win against the Orioles is a precious one. These wins must be husbanded carefully from beginning to end; they demand masterful pitching performances from all involved. One slip-up, one four-run inning, and karma will not allow a comeback. You might as well throw in the towel. For the record, yes, allowing a two-run homerun in the ninth inning with your team up 1-0 is a slip-up. It also should have reminded Red Sox nation of how many time the Orioles have gone quietly in the ninth against that other team south of Boston. Still, when Kevin Youkilis walked, which he has before and will perhaps a thousand times more, and Bill Mueller doubled, sending Dave "Really Freaking Fast" Roberts to third, the mood could almost be seen to change. Maybe this would be better than an easy ninth! Maybe we could build some character here! An opportunity like this is almost impossible to waste, and... Oh. Well, that's ok. Damon's coming up, and he's great in big situations, so... Oh. Huh. Howsabout that? Mark Bellhorn is the poster boy for those who hope and pray that they are never challenged on their preconceptions of how baseball should be played. He's struck out over 160 times this season, and his average hovers around .260. When he's properly used, those strikeouts are meaningless, but Dusty Baker looked at Mark Bellhorn and told him to swing away. This is what's known as throwing a wrench into the machine. But he ended up here, where his unique talents were appreciated, and he's been the steadiest player on our offense all season long. It's very easy to predict Mark Bellhorn's at-bats: he will either walk, strike out, double, or hit a home run. Singles and groundouts are scattered like afterthoughts. When he's working like that, if you look at him over a number of games, you start to appreciate what he brings to a team. When he starts to struggle, however, it's just as easy to start loathing him. Four strikeouts in one game? Two per game for a week? Not cool, Mark! Why can't you swing at the freaking ball, eh? It couldn't hurt you! We get on Mark Bellhorn because he strikes out a lot during his slumps, but what else can we expect? Everyone slumps! Everyone not named Bonds runs into spaces of time where hitting becomes a mystery and the gift that has brought them[...]
2004-09-17T23:05:20.826-07:00Overwhelming. Exceptional. Mind-blowing.
2004-09-11T14:31:59.783-07:00What's the easiest way to tell that a baseball pundit has run out of column ideas?
Watch Derek Jeter play every day and realize his stats mean very little in gauging his greatness. If anything, Jeter is actually becoming better every single year. He is quite simply a phenomenal baseball player. His instincts are otherworldly and his enthusiasm has not wavered since he was a rookie.
For as long as Joe Torre can remember, Derek Jeter has been the Yankee manager's trump card. Need a hit? Jeter will get it. Need a play made? Jeter will make it.
Well, I'll tell you -- Joe Torre did the right thing. He put his best player at short.
Now, I know people can throw all kinds of numbers at me, telling me why there are better players out there than Jeter.
I know all that stuff. I'll be the first to admit that Jeter isn't the best hitter. He isn't the best shortstop or the best baserunner, either. But you put what he has all together, and you'd be crazy not to make him the cornerstone of your team.
Yes, Bonds will probably break Hank Aaron's home run record; and a few years later, A-Rod might even catch him. Even knowing all that, I'll still take Jeter.
2006-04-28T16:45:51.440-07:00Two guys I hate losing to, y'know. Both of them are jerks.
2006-04-28T16:46:57.536-07:00SabreStewie (11:47:23 PM): A-Rod is such a jerk
2004-09-06T16:15:51.183-07:00...because I don't have time for a full-fledged entry, just a few random thoughs:
2004-08-28T14:08:42.383-07:00Alan Moore's Watchmen is one of the best comic series ever written. There's really no way around it; if you read comics, you have to read Watchmen. Aside from the fact that the story is excellent and the art is well-done, Watchmen's greatest accomplishment is a complete reimagining of a world with superheroes, and how such a world would function.
2004-08-21T15:37:16.960-07:00Thus, to coincide with his triumphant return, a little bit on our most underappreciated player. Truth be told, Mark Bellhorn was the offseason pickup I was least excited about. We had just lost Todd Walker to the Cubs, and it seemed that they felt kinda bad about that, and so sent us his clone. Bellhorn's lone selling point was a monstrous 2002 season, where he hit 27 home runs in his first semi-full season. That was followed by an abysmal 2003, where he hit just about his weight. I couldn't see where he belonged, especially now that we had Pokey. Jump to a few weeks into the season. The Bellhorn/Pokey debate becomes moot, as both are playing with regularity after Nomar goes down. Pokey is startlingly good in the field, and anemic at the plate. Really, that's not surprising, but what is surprising is that Mark Bellhorn is suddenly tied for the league lead in walks with...Barry Bonds. He's also leading the league in strikeouts, but we'll get back to that later. Besides, he's knocking in runs, scoring them in bunches, and always seems to get on base, whether by a walk or a hit, at least once a game. What just happened there? How does Todd Walker Lite become such an offensive force? Simple. Mark Christian Bellhorn has one of the smartest approaches to hitting in the game of baseball. Bear with me, because I'm dead serious about this. First off, Bellhorn's high number of strikeouts. There's a gigantic misconception about strikeouts in general; they're seen as the ultimate domination of pitcher over batter, and as such, are to be avoided like Albert Belle's front bumper on Halloween. Bellhorn strikes out a lot, ergo, he must be an awful hitter. Right? Not so much, no. I'll let Eric Van from The Sons of Sam Horn explain, because quite frankly, he knows a wee bit more about stats than I do: As has been explained elsewhere countless times, Bellhorn's K's are completely meaningless. Stating with the obvious point, that the better a hitter you are when not striking out, the more you do strike out. Which is something most of us learn in second grade (that you can avoid striking out by swinging less hard). Second, "productive outs" are incrediblty overrated (you can hit .160 without any productive outs and do more good that someone who always makes the productive out). And finally and most egregiously, in the one situtation where K's actually matter, runner on 3rd with less than 2 out, the guy has one K all year. Not only that, but a quick look at his stats show that he's batting .474 in that situation. Overall, with runners in scoring position, he's got an OBP of .421. He makes very few outs in situations that would net him an RBI, and it shows. Despite missing the past 16 games, he's still fifth on the team in RBI's, with 56. The fundamental misconception about strikeouts is that they're somehow "worse" than balls put in play, which is only true, really, in one situation (that which Van outlines). Put it this way: would you rather have a guy who makes so-called "productive" outs, or one that doesn't make outs in general, like Bellhorn? I guarantee the second guy is more valuable. What his strikeouts do mean, in fact, is something very encouraging. Bellhorn doesn't swing at pitches he can't hit. When he does put the ball in play (and if anyone can help me find this stat, I'd be grateful), he's hitting about .400. What this means is that Bellhorn squeezes every last bit of performance out of his talent by playing the game in a rational, intelligent way. That his contributions are obscured by noise over his strikeouts is a travesty. Red Sox N[...]
2004-08-11T07:45:31.736-07:00Call me a pessimist (you'd be right, by the way), but I'm more excited for the next few years than for this one. Visions of Hanley to Pokey to Minky keep distracting me from awkward losses to the Devil Rays, and Jason Varitek keeps morphing into Kelly Shoppach. The homegrown talent is already starting to make itself known; look at Kevin Youklis and his line:
OBP SLG OPS
.382 .460 .842
RSN: What is your approach at the plate?
HR: I like to stay through the middle and hit the ball at the pitcher's head. I like to see what they throw and then react to their pitches. I like to hit fastballs but can stay back and hit curves, too.
RSN: What's important to Hanley Ramirez on the field?
HR: Winning makes me happy.
RSN: What if the team loses, but you have a great game?
HR: Sometimes you play hard but don't have the luck. If you play hard and run the bases hard, that's all you can do. So it's okay, but I'd rather win.
RSN: Did your father teach you how to play?
HR: I was born with talent -- no one person taught me. It's like I was meant to play baseball.
2004-08-04T11:55:39.370-07:00So, the Nomar thing.
"If you want to make history," Seymour said, "then you've actually got to forget about history. That might sound confusing, you know, but it's the truth. No one is going to give us anything based on last year or on (2001), when we won (the Super Bowl) for the first time, OK? It's all about right now. It's about this team. And, even though we have a lot of guys back, just look around, this is a new team."
2004-07-28T11:32:40.176-07:00Dear Colonel, First off, congrats on the new title. I'm not calling you Kentucky Fried Kevin anymore, because frankly, it doesn't seem to fit. You're the Colonel until you prove that you aren't, or until you stop doing those ridiculous commercials. I don't know what you did to produce that monster weekend, but I want you to keep doing it. The league decided that, along with Miggy Tejada, you were Player of the Week. Kudos and salutations. Aside from helping the team--which it did, immensely--your newfound prowess keeps me from disliking you. And myself. See, Colonel, you were one of my favorite pickups last year, when Theo first took over and snatched you away from the Chunichi Dragons. I wasn't as in to the stats portion of baseball yet, so all I looked at was your batting average--at the time, a respectable .290-something. Your power totals were pretty good, too. Nothing that was going to set the world on fire, but eminently respectable. Besides, considering the trouble we had to go through to get you, I figure there had to be something I wasn't seeing. Your personality, I guess, was what I had missed. For a very long time, the Sox clubhouse was full of surly, unlikable bastards, guys who were very good at playing very badly and whining about it afterwards. I cringed when Nomar, after John Cumberland had been fired, growled in the dugout that "No one wants to fucking play here". The proof was all around him. Compared to those guys, you were like a cartoon that could hit a fastball. Everything about your presence on the team had a hint of silliness to it; your penchant for changing haircuts on a whim, your dumb-looking (sorry, buddy, it's true, although if it's dumb and works, it isn't dumb) batting stance, and your willingness, even eagerness to talk to the media. You even seemed to understand and get along with Manny. Manny Ramirez, colonel! He's like a goofy Kim Jong-Il! I don't know how you did it, but it worked. It didn't hurt that you came up with some clutch hits along the way. I was at the Seattle game when you hit a single off of Mike Cameron's glove that won the game for us in the 10th inning, and I think that was about where the Nation really started to like you. Which made it worse the next season. The absolute greatest sin in this town is resting on your laurels, which is exactly what you seemed to do at the beginning of this season. Honestly, your statistics weren't that bad, but your appalling lack of RBIs and shoddy defense made you Pokey Reese, if Pokey Reese was as mobile as Ted Kennedy. On a larger scale, I think, the Nation saw you as emblematic of what was wrong with the team; a lack of clutch hitting and a severe lack of true baseball athleticism. You were, and still are, a leader, Colonel. What you have to understand is that leaders are symbols. It's nice to be a positive symbol, but once you start to falter, it starts to look very lonely on that podium. That and the wolves start glaring at you from the dark. The wolves are the media, by the way. They've been giving you a beatdown lately, and some of your quotes seemed to display a lack of fire, or intensity. Complacency, if you will, and we despise complacency. You were turning from the Rally Karaoke Guy into Some Asshole. That's not fair, but it's what we felt. Now, Colonel, one of the reasons I love baseball so much is the sense of familiarity that comes with following a team. You guys wear open-faced helmets and are stationary for most of [...]
2006-04-28T16:51:06.506-07:00SabreStewie (8:04:06 PM): BELIEVE
2004-07-23T21:28:49.246-07:00No... the title isn't some clever Joe-esque metaphor. I was watching Buffy (season 2) tonight... all night - instead of watching the Sox-Yankees game. And you know what... I'm on to something here I think... I can return home - see the look in my fathers eyes... I take that back.. find him passed out drunk on the couch and know... just KNOW what happened. I don't need any details about being in the lead or Millar knocking three round trippers - all superfluous. I enjoyed myself some excellent Buffy tonight...
2006-04-28T16:52:31.546-07:00Last night's game, were it an IM conversation between two middle school girls CwbyUp2004: whatup, son?IchirosLastStand: buddy! whassup on the East Coast?CwbyUp2004: not too much. hey, nice job on the game last nightIchirosLastStand: lol sorryCwbyUp2004: s'ok. IchirosLastStand: I really thought u guys were gonna pull it outCwbyUp2004: lol no way. I hate winning streaks! make me soooooo nervous!IchirosLastStand: lmaoIchirosLastStand: me too. good thing we haven't had any this year. BTW, do u want to take Piniero off our hands.IchirosLastStand: ?CwbyUp2004: LOLCwbyUp2004: NOIchirosLastStand: hahaCwbyUp2004: how bout Guardado?IchirosLastStand: dude! that's not funny!CwbyUp2004: lol sorryIchirosLastStand: whateverCwbyUp2004: ok seriously STFU. you suck, you dont need himIchirosLastStand: haha, who r u gonna give me? Lowe?CwbyUp2004: ...CwbyUp2004: I hate you.IchirosLastStand: haha sorry, j/k. I used to hang with him, u know.CwbyUp2004: ya, I know. hahaCwbyUp2004: you know, I feel kinda badCwbyUp2004: tell you what.CwbyUp2004: I'll let you win this game tonight.IchirosLastStand: NO WAY!!!!!!!IchirosLastStand: r u serious?!?!?!?1!!11!!CwbyUp2004: totallyIchirosLastStand: dude. I don't think I can do that.CwbyUp2004: I insist.IchirosLastStand: no, thass okCwbyUp2004: seriously, go right ahead, score a few runsIchirosLastStand: ok, I guess soCwbyUp2004: ok, be back in 5 inningsCwbyUp2004 is idle...CwbyUp2004 has returnedCwbyUp2004: dude I changed my mindIchirosLastStand: WTF?CwbyUp2004: ya, I want to win this gameIchirosLastStand: ...not coolCwbyUp2004: ya, I know. sorry dudeIchirosLastStand: don't do that again. I h8 having my guys stike out.CwbyUp2004: lol I kno the feeling.CwbyUp2004: ok, I gotta go.IchirosLastStand: c u l8ter boiCwbyUp2004: lol avril CwbyUp2004: lol what's up?Ripkenisgod: dude, that's lame.[...]