October 30, 2006

Remembering Red

Red Auerbach died yesterday. There are pretty much three names worth remembering above the others when it comes to Boston basketball. Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Red Auerbach. If you like basketball, Boston, or good writing, I encourage you to check out this piece by Bill Simmons. He (Simmons) has been accused of losing his fastball the past few years, but this is a throwback column here, especially since it's about something he truly cares about and he keeps the jokes to a minimum. It's pretty long, but worth the read.

Barry Bonds

Over at Baseball Prospectus, Nate Silver says the Tigers should sign either Nomar or Carlos Lee to play first base and then go get Barry Bonds to play left field and DH when he needs to rest. I think this is a fantastic idea, at least when it comes to Bonds. A one year contract for an on base machine on a team with a legitimate title shot? Sign me up.

October 29, 2006

Field Museum

HERE are some pictures from our trip to the Field Museum of Natural History today. We also saw the King Tut exhibit, but we weren't allowed to take pictures. Anyhow, if you ever plan to see it, don't expect to see the famous burial mask of the King himself, even though it's in all the promotional materials for the exhibit. It's back in Egypt, which they never actually mention.

October 28, 2006

Practice Photos

See some photos from Wheaton Wrestling practice today by clicking HERE.

October 27, 2006

You are not going to believe this

...but Kathi has more pictures from her wedding on her blog (that was sarcasm, folks).

October 26, 2006

World Series Game 5 from St. Louis

All right, we're here for game four of the World Series. It doesn't appear to be raining, but we'll see if it lasts. I was seriously ticked last night. Singing the national anthem, Ozzie Smith's son, who was an American Idol contestant. That's at least the third Idol contestant we've seen in some singing capacity. Throw in Mr. Like a Rock himself, Bob Seger, and current Chevy pitchman John Cougar Mellencamp, and it's a shill fest on Fox!

By the way, the way Tim McCarver smiled when Joe Buck brought up Jeff Suppan makes me a little nervous. Longtime Cardinal catcher McCarver and son of longtime announcer Buck are doing their best not to openly root for the Cards, but I'm not sure they can make it.

Top 1st 0-0
Polanco, Granderson, and Rodriguez are 0-for-the-series right now. Crap. Ok, back to the game. Ball 1. Do you know what the correlation between first pitch balls and home team losses? Me neither. Granderson softly lines out. Suppan is supposed to be the type of pitcher the Tigers beat up, but Monroe grounds out to Eckstein. Up next and hitting third for the first time, Guillen, the only Tiger who has a pulse this series. Strikeout, and Suppan gets through the first in seven pitches. Take a flipping pitch!

Bottom 1st 0-0
IE 7 came out recently, and it looks almost exactly like Mozilla Firefox, not that this is a bad thing.

These guys loooove Eckstein, but the fact remains that he isn't a good player. No discipline or power. He's scrappy, though, which is all that matters, righ? Right? He hits the ball about 40 feet and beats it out, bringing up Duncan, who hits into a double play on the second pitch, which is good with Pujols coming up. Let's see if they throw him a strike. Well, not yet, but he swung at two balls, then Bonderman freezes him on the third strike to get out of the inning, and Eminem takes a deep breath.

Top 2nd 0-0
I don't get rap...at all. There are things I don't necessarily like, but I can understand why other people might. Rap is not one of those things. Seriously, why is Jay-Z a big star? Someone tell me right now.

Three pitch strikeout of Ordonez as Buck refers to Suppan as a "big game pitcher" and I almost choke on my Jolly Rancher. Tell that to the good people of Boston. Here's Sean "The Mayor" Casey, back in the field for the first time in a while. He golfs one just over the fence in right center. I really thought it looked like a popup on a pitch that fooled him, but the ball just kept going, and McCarver gets to keep trotting out there the goofy idea that all lefties like pitches down and in. Pudge singles to the left side for his first hit since Reagan was president. OK, just six games. I think McCarver just spouts cliches and the wrong names for the players. They could replace him with a random cliche generator and no one would notice. Polanco pops up to center, but Pudge tags and goes to second. Not something you see that often, which is probably why it worked. Now they walk Inge to get to Bonderman and his career 0/19 with 12K. He grounds out, but the Tigers get 1.

Bottom 2nd 1-0 Tigers
What's the difference between the KRZR and the RAZR? I need to know so I can know which cool phone I can get five minutes before every high school get gets it too, just like I did with the RAZR. By the way, after some research, you can see some stuff on Eckstein's fielding here. He's ok on grounders, below average on liners and popups.

Edmonds comes up and strikes out, bringing up Rolen, who I used to like, but now don't. I have no reason for doing either. After running the count full, he just misses one and flies out to the track in left. After a lot of fouls, Wilson taps out to Bonderman, and so far, so good for the Tigers.

Top 3rd 1-0 Tigers
Granderson gets himself off the schneid as well and doubles into the right field corner. Craig Monroe, who is not related to James so stop asking, comes up and grounds to short, failing to advance the runner.

Sweet fancy Moses in a shopping cart on Tuesdays! It's Scooter. I thought he'd been taken out back and shot. Suppan assists him in describing the changeup. No, really.

Suppan is starting to throw more balls, or the Tigers are taking them. He's 3-0 on his second straight batter. Guillen goes after ball four and fouls it off. They just showed a 10 year old girl going to town on some hot wings. Guillen walks, bringing up Ordonez, who gets under one for the second out. Runners at 1st and 2nd for The Mayor. Casey gets it done and drives in Granderson. 1st and 3rd for Pudge. Base hit to right and Guillen cruises in. Don't you dare call him I-Rod, as Dave Duncan goes to the mound to suggest Suppan think about getting the third out before things get really out of hand. Polanco grounds out to Eckstein, who scrappily tosses to second to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd 3-0 Tigers
Did you konw that the "D" on the Tigers hats is not the same as the one on their uniforms. Read all about it.

Can Bonderman keep it going? Let's hope so. Ahead quickly 0-2 on the Flying Molina, the third pitch is a grounder to Inge, who is Janet's favorite player in this series, solely because of his name. He does need to shave that stupid thing on his chin though, as Aaron Miles singles in front of Granderson. Suppan comes up to bunt, but they hit and run. Suppan misses, but the throw is slightly off line and Miles makes it. Now we'll get the bunt. I always wonder why pitcher don't just throw high strikes when you know they're bunting. Aren't high pitches harder to bunt? Ok, I was wrong, he swings, and it's 0-2, making a bunt unlikely. Wow, he looked bad in striking out. Eckstein drives in a run with a double. He must have read the bad things I said about him. Duncan walks to bring up Pujols with two guys on, which isn't exactly idea. Weak groundout, and Pujols has looked bad in both at bats.

Top 4th 3-1 Tigers
I'm starting to feel like some ravioli.

Inge flies out on the first pitch. For crying out loud, take some pitches! Bonderman follows with a predictable strikeout. Granderson works the count but eventually strikes out as well. An uneventful inning. Suppan has thrown 62 pitches through four.

Bottom 4th 3-1 Tigers
A brief highlight montage to SexyBack by Justin Timberlake. That "song" makes me feel like I'm having a seisure. At some point I may have to go get Janet at the train station at some point in this game, so be ready.

Easy grounder by Edmonds to second. Monroe takes a weird route to a liner by Rolen, allowing Rolen to turn a single into a double. Grounder to second by Mookie's stepson pushes Rolen to third with two down. Molina improbably drives in Rolen with a double. When will he remember that he isn't any good? Tigers walk Miles to pitch to Suppan, hoping to avoid any more damage this inning. All these Suppan/Soup signs are really stupid, but it's better than the dumb ones where any three words containing an F, and O, and an X are used. Suppan weakly grounds out to end it.

Top 5th 3-2 Tigers
Another first pitch out for the Tigers. Take a pitch! Guillen singles to right and Duncan almost wipes out on the grass fielding it, but Guillen is held at first. Here's Magglio, as the bullpen comes to life. La Russa seems intent on getting Suppan out of the game pretty soon. Not sure why, unless La Russa wants to show the world how smart he's supposed to be. Dear Tony, You're not as smart as you think you are. Love, me. Flyout to center, bringing up the lefthanded Casey. His favorite band is DMB, likes Will Clark, Pro Wrestling, and reads the Bible everyday. Thanks, HP. Having Dave Matthews as your favorite band shows nothing but a follow-the-herd mentality. Sorry, it's true. Casey gets his third hit as Guillen goes first to third. Pudge grounds out to end the inning. Have we seen the last of Suppan? Who knows? Time to boil the water.

Bottom 5th 3-2 Tigers
Nice play by Inge to get Eckstein and Duncan quickly grounds out to second. Duncan hasn't looked good at bat or in the field tonight. I think La Russa was hoping for better from the guy ahead of Pujols. Predictable four pitch walk to bring up Edmonds with two down. Someone had a sign of a cardinal eating a tiger. Caption: Tiger, the other white meat. I think it would be red meat thanks to the oxygen requirements of a creature that moves that fast. Never mind the image of a cardinal eating a jungle cat. Strikeout to end the inning. Time to put the ravioli in the pot. Whoo hoo.

Top 6th 3-2 Tigers
Rosetto frozen mini ravioli; I highly recommend. Suppan stays in to pitch to Polanco.

Line shot to Wilson for the first out. Tigers 6-9 hitters had more HR than the 1-5 hitters. Sounds like a misapplication of your resources. Well, that and Jones over Zumaya as closer. Inge comes up and we'll get to see if Bonderman bunts any better than he hits. Good sacrifice on the first pitch. Two out for Granderson, who grounds out to Pujols as we go to a sneak peak of Eragon, a movie about dragon riders. Safe to say I won't be going to that one, but I will say that it's impressive that the kid who started writing the book when he was 15.

Bottom 6th 3-2 Tigers
Bonderman is up to 85 pitches. Rolen hits another double, setting up a chance for the Cards to tie the game. Wilson sacrifices Rolen to second in a clear instance of playing for 1 run, which may not be a bad idea here, especially with the way Wilson has been hitting. Bonderman hopes for the K of Molina right now, but he walks him on four pitches. Now the double play is set up. Big chance for Miles here. And that is it for Bonderman. The flamethrowing Rodney comes in to try to get out of the jam. Rodney strikes out Miles, taking a lot of pressure off. Pinch hitter John Rodriguez comes in for Suppan, ending his night. 6 innings, 3 runs, 87 pitches for Suppan, and he's on the hook for the loss if the lead holds. Bonderman gave up 2 runs in 5.1 innings on 92 pitches, and the runners on are his responsibility. Rodney and his devastating changeup strike out Rodriguez to get out of it with the lead.

Top 7th 3-2 Tigers
Baseball has no clock, but every out brings the Tigers closer to a win, and their unstoppable bullpen has to get nine more outs. Rodney probably comes back for the Cards half of the seventh with Zumaya standing at the ready to finish the inning if necessary and pitch the eighth before the highwire act that is Todd Jones comes in.

Nice sliding catch on a liner by Monroe. Guillen steps to the play with his .500 World Series average. Four pitch walk from Josh Kinney, who was in the Independent leagues last year. La Russa's body language is screaming, "Let me make a pitching change. I want to show all these people how smart I am." Guillen steals second and juuuuust makes it under the tag. Molina nearly threw him out from his knees. Ordonez strikes out on a 2-2 pitch out of the zone. Casey comes in, and here comes La Russa. Lefty Tyler Johnson comes on and retires Casey on a popup to end the inning.

Stretch time. Singing "God Bless America" Colleen Schoendienst, daughter of former Cardinal 2nd baseman and Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst. Thank goodness it wasn't some American idol castoff.

Bottom 7th 3-2 Tigers
Granderson falls down tracking down an Eckstein fly, and Scrappy gets a double out of what should have been an out. So Taguchi is up, and I'm so going to get Janet. Dang it!

And...we're back. Wait! What? Tie score, runners on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. Ok, Rodney gets a strikeout. Now one down. What happened while I was gone? Now Rolen, who's having a good game, comes up. Strikeout on a good change for the second out. Wilson grounds through the left side and puts St. Louis on top. Pujols is tagged out in between 2nd and 3rd, but now the Tigers have to come back.

Top 8th 4-3 Cardinals
Taguchi stays in right field, Looper comes in to pitch to Pudge, who gets a leadoff double for his third hit, and this is promising. Polanco ground to Miles, advancing Pudge to third with one out. Baseball Prospectus says that teams score an average of 0.96 runs in this situation, which is pretty close to what the Tigers need. La Russa makes a change, bringing in his closer with one out in the 8th. Good choice. High leverage situation calls for your best pitcher, even if it's not a "save situation." However, Inge doubles off the warning track to tie things up. Karma, I guess, makes La Russa look bad even when he makes the right choice. If I believed in karma anyhow. Alexis Gomez hits for the pitcher, which means Zumaya is coming in. I'm giddy with anticipation. Gomez strikes out on some good fastballs. Granderson's turn now. Strikeout on the curve. Things are veddy interesting.

Bottom 8th 4-4
Janet wants you all to know she got on the train going the wrong way this afternoon.

Zumaya is in. I hope the ball catches on fire. He hasn't thrown a strike yet. Four pitch walk to Yadier Molina. Hey, Zumaya, just throw it over the plate. Groundout, but they can't turn two, bringing up Encarnacion. He strikes out, but the pitch gets away from Pudge, getting Miles to second, which costs the Tigers when Monroe just misses a diving catch, as Eckstein doubles in the run, giving the lead back to St. Louis. Taguchi pops up and we go to the ninth. Can Detroits 2-3-4 hitters knot this thing back up.

Top 9th 5-4 Cardinals
Strikeout, groundout, groundout, and this one is over. Darn. Game five tomorrow, and the Cards send Weaver out in hopes of clinching things at home.

Google Analytics

As if you needed proof they're taking over, Google has a service that will track traffic on your website. You go to this site, set it up, and put the code on your site. Then they keep track of things for you and give you nifty reports about how many people come to your site. For example, you can see my site stats for the last few days below:

October 25, 2006

You've been warned

Google is going to take over the world, and there's nothing you can do about it. They beat the crap out of their earnings estimate and recently gobbled up YouTube in their plot to own the whole world. Plus, I bought some of their stock on September 5th, and I've already made 25% on it, thanks to a one day surge of 30 points the other day when they announced earnings. It's enough to make me wish I'd bought more than I did.

October 23, 2006

Dirtgate

OK, so Kenny Rogers had "something" that looked suspiciously like pine tar on his hand in the first inning last night. This has become a story because no two people with actual knowledge of the situation have given the same answer. This includes Rogers, the umpires, and both managers. Nobody knows anything, or at least isn't saying.

I'm tempted to think this is a non-story, because if it were anything real, he would have been ejected and facing a suspension from the commissioner's office. However, none of that appears to be the case, plus, he pitched better after washing his hand, and it didn't look to me like his balls were doing anything extraordinary. He was hitting his spots, nibbling the corners, and staying away from the center of the plate just like he has been all postseason. Would The Gambler cheat? Heck if I know; I'm just saying it seems unlikely that he's started now.

There are, of course, conspiracy theories. Perhaps he only starts at home in the playoffs because he's cheating in a way he can't on the road. Doubt it. The one I thought of is that Commissioner Bud doesn't want to sully the game with a cheating accusation, so he's pushed it under the rug, told the the umpires not to make a big deal, and made Gambler wash his hands while being put on double secret probation. Again, it seems unlikely. The Tigers will win because they have the better team, not because of some gunk on a 41 year old pitcher's hand. If I was anybody, I'd be more concerned about him carrying on like a mental patient while he's out there.

October 22, 2006

No Zumaya

I really shouldn't be this upset when Leyland puts Todd Jones into situations where Joel Zumaya and his fastball of doom would be ten times more appropriate, but it nearly came back to bite him tonight as Jones gave up a run and loaded the bases before preserving the win for The Gambler.

Tomorrow? No baseball and I am sad, though the Cowboys are on MNF.

October 20, 2006

Tecmo Your Face Off

Well, if you'll recall, I read NFL previews as done on the old Nintendo game Super Tecmo Bowl. Now, I'm in on the action. You can get my preview of the Dallas/New York game over at the Ex-Burgher's Site. Either read the whole thing or search for my name to find my stuff.

October 19, 2006

Paper Topic

I have to write a 15-20 page research paper based on anything in my textbook. One article discussed the stacking of Latinos into central positions (i.e., middle infield) in the Major Leagues. It ended in 1992, so I'm extending their data and looking to determine why things are the way they are and see if there is an explanation better than racial stereotypes. I think there is, but I'll let you know why once I do my research. So far, I have a list of all the players eligible for the batting title since 1992 along with their positions and my best estimate of whether or not they're Latino. Usually, I can figure it out from the names, but it's good to check birthplaces too. It also helps to just know that Bernie Williams is Puerto Rican instead of, say, Kansan.

October 14, 2006

Tigers 6, A's 3

First, you got the NLCS. Now, the ALCS. Tigers! A's! The Postseason on Fox! With us today, Thom Brennaman, Angels announcer Jose Mota, and "Sweet" Lou Piniella. The "Sweet" is not for his personality. Apparently, Psycho Steve Lyons has been fired for a racially insensitive comment in yesterday's game. Oakland is in a 3-0 hole after everyone except Milton Bradley forgot how to hit for three games. Where's the Big Hurt? Anyhow, Bonderman goes for Detroit and Haren pitches for the A's in hopes of preventing a riot in downtown Detroit, at least for one night.

A.J. Pierzynski and Eric Byrnes are part of the pregame show, as if we needed further proof that Fox has completely lost touch with actual baseball fans. By the way, Janet thinks Jeanne Zelasko is ugly. I don't get it.

Top 1 0-0
Bonderman punches out Kendall on a 97 mile per hour heater to kick things off here in the Motor City. Following a walk to Kotsay, Milton Bradley, the only A who can hit in this series, steps to the plate and hammers a run-scoring double into right center.

By the way, it's apparently OK for Brennaman and Lyons to make fun of a blind guy, but when Lyons makes some good-natured jabs at Piniella, he gets fired.

Bradley takes off for third on a foul, and he comes up lame with a quad injury. Looks like he'll stay in the game, which is good, since the more Bradley we get, the more chances for him to do something crazy like steal a hotdog from a 7 year old in the front row. Oh, and Thomas pops out.

Chavez doubles just over first base scoring Bradley, and a fan picks up the ball. I hope they kick that guy out.

Brennaman and Piniella have a discussion about the GED, which Piniella has never heard of. Shouldn't you have to pass some sort of basic test before getting a microphone on national TV?

Sweet throw by Inge from behind third to end the inning. Bonderman looks a little shaky.

Bottom 1 2-0 A's
Janet thinks Dan Haren looks like a clown. Bad hair is a prevalent on Oakland's white guys.

Leadoff walk, which can kill you. Seriously, Haren should see a doctor in between innings to make sure he's not dying. He recovers to strike Monroe out, prompting Europe to decide that they will continue to colonize the Americas (come on, Monroe Doctrine? never mind). Polanco grounds out to second, moving up the runner. Magglio K's on a nasty splitter to end the inning. Someone needs to hit a ball to right so I can see how gimpy Bradley really is.

Top 2 2-0 A's
Swisher, the captain of the Bad Hair Crew, flies out to get things going. He looks like he would be fun to punch. Guillen takes a grounder to get out number 2. How many teams use their starting shortstop as the backup first baseman? Jimenez grounds into the third out on the first pitch, and this inning is over before I can come up with a passable joke about international relations, or at least talk about how much fun it is when there's a guy named Scutaro involved.

Bottom 2 2-0 A's
Two quick groundouts to start the inning. I think the teams want to get things finished here before the sun goes down and it gets really cold. Alexis Gomez didn't get the memo and lines one into left. The pitch he hit was barely off the ground, but he got to it. After a wild pitch to move Gomez over, Inge gets the Tigers back on track and strikes out.

OK, so WebMD has medical info. Who is competing with them that they need commercials during nationally televised playoff games?

Top 3 2-0 A's
Kendall and his huge goatee strike out for the second time. Kotsay gets a good swing at a ball, but lines right to Ordonez. Then Bradley singles to center, even though he appears to barely be able to run. Thomas flies out again, making him 0-12 this series, which is not a good recipe for success.

Just what I need, a car I can plug a guitar into.

Bottom 3 2-0 A's
Brennaman has been pretty subdued. I think he's afraid he'll get fired like his booth buddy Lyons.

Santiago tries to bunt for a hit, but gets thrown out by Haren. It's quite the testament to their pitching that the Tigers can have Sean Casey (who isn't good) as their first baseman, have him get hurt, move Guillen over to first, insert Santiago (who can't hit), yet still be a game away from sweeping the series.

Someone should tell the Tigers that Haren throws the splitter with 2 strikes, as Granderson flails at one. Monroe then goes down looking at a pitch right down the middle.

Oh, by the way, the Buckeyes are laying a royal whooping on Michigan State. Here, watch the Michigan State coach slap himself after a loss to Illinois:


Top 4 2-0 A's
After an out, Jay Payton drops one over the left field fence. I think I mixed up left and right field on the Beltran homer the other day. Now the punchable Swisher comes up. I hate it when hitters put their hand up to "call time" while digging into the box. The ump never calls time, and the pitcher never throws the ball. Derek Jeter does it too, which proves he's not so great. Swisher gets his first hit of the series, takes a wide turn, and falls down, but makes it back to first. Inge makes a nice play on a slow chopper to get the second out. Can you believe he used to be a catcher? Jimenez lines out to center, but the A's tack one on.

Bottom 4 3-0 A's
Polanco reaches on a single, bringing up Ordonez, who flies out. Before that, we got to talk to Ken Macha. These guys never have anything interesting to say. Polanco alertly heads to second on ball in the dirt. Polanco has a big head, literally. Guillen walks on four pitches, bringing Pudge up to the plate with 1 out and runners on first and second. His plate discipline is usually suspect, so let's see if he waits for a good one here. He strikes out on three pitches. Two down for Gomez who breaks his bat on a slow roller to short, ending the inning.

Top 5 3-0 A's
Kendall grounds out weakly. At least he didn't strike out this time, but this isn't what you hope for from the leadoff guy. He should shave. Kotsay pops out, says a bad word, and slams his bat on the ground. Bradley also pops out. Doesn't he realize he has to win this series by himself? He's the Oakland Pujols.

Bottom 5 3-0 A's
Inge taps one to third, and a perfect throw probably wouldn't have got him, but Chavez throws it away and Inge trots to second. This is a big at bat here with no outs. Santiago advances the runner with a ground out to the right side. Now we get to talk to Leyland. My dad doesn't believe he's only 61 years old. Nice piece of hitting there to bring in the run. Granderson took advantage of Bradley's bum leg to turn the single into a double. Here come the Tigers. Monroe doubles after Payton just misses the diving catch, and Detroit gets another run and brings the go-ahead run to the plate with one out and a man on second. Ooh, double play liner to end the inning, but things are veddy interesting now.

Top 6 3-2 A's
Thomas leads off with a walk on four balls, and then Chavez swings at the first pitch. I think the Chavez superstar train derailed sometime this spring. Anyhow, fielder's choice. Polanco slightly misplays the Payton grounder and decides to make the play himself, making the DP impossible. At least he got one out. Swisher, get a haircut, and try not to weakly ground out to first next time. We go to the bottom!

Bottom 6 3-2 A's
And here we are. This MacGyver commercial (yeah, I know it's old) is something else. That show went off the air 14 years ago. More people today might know Richard Dean Anderson as Colonel Jack O'neill from Starget SG-1. Yeah, probably not.

First pitch, and Magglio banishes the ball to the outfield seats. If the stands wouldn't have stopped it, that ball would have gone around the world and hit Ordonez in the back of the head. We are tied up here in Detroit.

Guillen follows with a single. I think the Tigers have decided to swing whenever they see a fastball, and it showed last inning and so far in this one. Haren is done, and here comes Joe Kennedy and his big gut. I wish I was tall and left-handed. And could throw a good slider. I'd have a bigger apartment then. Outstanding play by Chavez and a good stretch by Swisher to get Pudge out. Another ball in the dirt, and another alert baserunning play by a Tiger as Guillen shows no hesitation to make it a runner on third and 1 out. Alexis Gomez strikes out on more than one questionable call. Intentional walk to Inge, bringing up "Where in the World is Carmen" Santiago. I always wonder how much it hurts when a foul tip goes back and hits the catcher in the face. Full Count, 1st and 2nd...flyout.

Top 7 3-3
SCUTARO!...grounds out, as the Buckeyes wrap up a 38-7 smackdown. Bonderman's breaking balls seem to have more bite now than they did earlier in the game. Don't know what to make of it. Kendall bounces one off of Bonderman and into right field. That brings on Tyler Walker to pitch to the lefty Kotsay with 2 down. Running it to a full count, Walker gets the K. Stretch time, and you should be sorry you missed this game, if you actually did.

Bottom 7 3-3
Granderson flies out after earlier showing bunt. Was he really planning to bunt to start the inning? Did he think he could beat it out? Will my stock portfolio turn a profit this year? Who really knows? Monroe walks, bringing up Polanco, followed by Ordonez. Polanco singles, bringing Ordonez up with runners on 1st and 2nd. Kiko Calero relieves Kennedy, and promptly walks Ordonez, bringing up the best hitter on the Tigers, Carlos Guillen. Macha goes to the closer. Gee, did this guy go to the Tony La Russa School of Bullpen Management? Guillen chokes, grounding into a double play to keep the game tied. If Oakland wins, this will be the play that gets talked about.

You know, they always talk about these great batting averages with the bases loaded. Do they realize that sac flies don't count against you with the bases loaded, but they're just a popup the rest of the time?

Top 8 3-3
Grilli relieves to start the inning. Another hit for Bradley. The rest of the A's are in the dugout trying to injure each other's legs. Thomas remains O-for-the-series, grounding into a DP. Four pitch walk to Chavez, which may have been semi-intentional. Payton, who homered earlier, is up. Another four pitch walk. Grilli stays in to pitch to Swisher and starts off with his ninth straight pitch out of the zone. There's #10. And there's #11. And #12. Leyland, go get him! And he does. They went from 2 out and nobody on, and 12 pitches later, the bases are loaded. Ledezma relieves the wild Grilli and starts with a ball. But he does finally throw a strike. Popup, and Pudge squeezes it to get out of the inning.

Bottom 8 3-3
Pudge almost holds up on strike three, but he doesn't. You are the weakest link, goodbye. Huston Street is the rare closer who pitches from the windup with no runners on. Gomez strikes out on a pitch in the dirt. He never looked comfortable out there. Close play on a grounder by Inge, but he is out and we go to the ninth. I'm not sure I want extra innings. Can't the Tigers just put them away in regular time?

Top 9 3-3
Kendal raps a one out single. That's a good word. Raps. Kotsay really has the "I'm so disgusted with that popup" look down cold. Two down. Bradley just gets under it and flies out to the track in right.

Bottom 9 3-3
It's a commercial, and I'm predicting a pinch hitter for Santiago. Ha ha, I was right. Marcus Thames makes his first appearance since game 1. Easy flyout, and his appearance likely means we get to see Neifi! if the Tigers don't score. Granderson hopes to get on, because he's grand. There's a guy that looks like Chris Farley with a mustache sitting next to the Tigers GM. Hard liner to right, and Bradley somehow gimps over there to backhand it. He'll need some ice later. Monroe bats as the Tigers try to avoid extra frames. Base hit, and the inning continues for Polanco, looks cold. Single to right, but the runner holds at second. Ordonez can be the hero here. Sweet fancy Moses! Magglio towers his second homerun, and the Tigers (yes, those Tigers) are going to the World Series.

They will be well rested, since the NLCS is tied at 1 game apiece.

October 13, 2006

Eat the Sandwich

Go here, and click on "The Rookie" to see my favorite commercial.

October 12, 2006

NLCS Game 1 Live Blog

I'll be blogging a portion of tonight's Mets/Cardinals game to open the 2006 NLCS. Right now, it's 0-0 entering the third inning. Neither Tom Glavine nor Jeff Weaver (the bad Weaver brother) have given up a hit in the first two. This is pretty long, so pack a lunch as we start learning who will lose to the Tigers in the World Series.

Top 3rd 0-0
Cliff Floyd pulled up lame during his at bat in the 2nd and was replaced by Endy Chavez. What do you suppose "Endy" is short for? Anyhow, back to the game. Wright makes a diving stop of a low liner for the first out, which brings us to one of the Flying Molinas. He dinks one into right center. There goes the perfect game. You suck, Glavine, way to choke in the playoffs again. On cue, he gives up a hit to the pitcher.

By the way, Luis Gonzalez is running circles around McCarver in the booth.

Up to try to break the scoreless tie, David Eckstein. He's the only major leaguer who might be smaller than me. I think the Mets have all nine players in the infield. Mighty Mite lines into a DP, ending the threat. Way to go, shorty.

Bottom 3rd 0-0
Those Holiday Inn commercials are intermittently funny, but never make me want to stay there. For my money, the best commercial these days is "Eat the Sandwich!" from Jon Lovitz and Subway.

Hey look, Pedro! Up now, Shawn Green. Remember back when he was actually good? Those were the days. Green singles to short center. McCarver now gives us a pearl of wisdom, letting us know that it's best to not throw pitches the hitters want.

Here's Glavine. Will he bunt? Probably. I remember when he tripled with the bases loaded in the World Series that one time. Bad bunt and the only thin Molina throws out the Green.

Jose Reyes comes up while Glavine fumes, cursing the fact he has to run now. Reyes has funny hair. He grounds into the fielder's choice. I'm not sure Glavine even left first.

Top 4th 0-0
After a groundout, we get Pujols. The announcers talk about him like he's Derek Jeter or something. Of course, the difference is that he actually deserves it. Glavine wants no part of him and Poo Holes strolls to first. Batting next, Juan Encarnacion? Way to protect your slugger there, genius La Russa guy. I'd walk Pujols too. Shallow fly to center, and Beltran throws behind a wandering Pujols for the unlikely 8-3 double play. The Wandering Pujols would be a good name for a rock band. One that occasionally employs a banjo.

Bottom 4th 0-0
Somebody score already. "Heart and Soul" Lo Duca grounds out. Why does La Russa wear sunglasses at night, but then take them off to talk to McCarver and Buck? If you're going to be a poser, go all the way. Beltran had the lowest home batting average in baseball? People wanted to make him the MVP with that stat? He subsequently grounds out. This is Shea Stadium after all. After a walk, All-American boy David Wright pops up to end the inning.

Are you ready, Weaver! Then spin the Wheel of Fish? (come on, click the link)

Top 5th 0-0
I think Scott Rolen is held together by duct tape, paper clips, and the collective hate of the city of Philadelphia. Yet another infield popup. Jim Edmonds and his soggy noggin come up. He really wrecked my fantasty team this year, so I hope Glavine beans him. On second thought, Glavine can't throw much harder than Janet, so it wouldn't hurt. Oh, now he gets a hit. Jerk. If Ronnie Belliard can play second base in the big leagues, fat guys everywhere should have hope. Diving catch by "Endy," who initially misjudges the ball before recovering. Gimpy Floyd would've given up a triple. Boy, McCarver loves catchers. Of course, who wouldn't love a Molina, who walks. Pretty Boy Weaver strikes out. No red snapper for you!

Bottom 5th 0-0
This is our country, but I still don't think we should use Hurricane Katrina, Rosa Parks, and Vietnam to sell trucks. Geez, did you know John Cougar Mellencamp was born with mild spina bifida and had neurosurgery at three weeks old. He also was once in a band called Snakepit Banana Barn.

I'll just sit here and depreciate. Nothing happened in this inning except the world's most boring interview with Willie Randolph. Can a grown man be named Willie?

Top 6th 0-0
You want to see something good with that "Don't Hold Back" song? Try this one from your current 66kg bronze medalist.

Somebody is on for Albert "I am not on Steroids" Pujols. Glavine should be very careful here. Hard liner right at Reyes for the out. Mets dodged a bullet there. Well, except Reyes; he caught it. I missed what happened next when the phone rang. Suffice it to say I'm now watching Tommy Lasorda telling me to watch baseball. Mission Accomplished Tommy.

Bottom 6th 0-0
In attendance tonight: Tim Robbins, Matt Dylan, Bill Belichick, Ron Howard, and Donald Trump. Hey, where's Billy Crystal? Groundout Reyes, who got his own musical montage. I don't think moving Reyes over to second as a rookie was one of the biggest mistakes in NYC history, as McCarver blathers. Call me crazy. Lo Duca squirts one through the left side, bringing up the big guns. Finally, some stinking runs as Beltran overcomes Shea Stadiums grip and tattoos one off the scoreboard in left. Let's see if we get a Weaver meltdown here. Double from Delgado, as the Cardinal bullpen kicks it into high gear. After a free pass to Wright, Weaver's night is done, and here comes Tyler Johnson to pitch to "Endy." No further damage as we go to the 7th.

Top 7th 2-0 Mets
"Endy upended." Thanks, Tim. Never speak to me again. Oh, and the Cardinals go meekly in their half of the inning. Perhaps they will inherit the earth.

This has nothing to do with anything other than my brain, but "Cliffs of Dover" by guitarist Eric Johnson is pretty awesome. Listen to it by clicking here.

Bottom 7th 2-0 Mets
Shawn Green is up, reminding me that all the Shawns/Seans/Shauns/etc. in the world should get together and figure out how to spell their names.

By the way, my giant 19in monitor freaks out every once in a while when the screen goes inactive. It makes vertical blue lines that sometimes move around. I'm typing this on Janet's laptop.

Green steals on the strikeout pitch. One down as the ageless wonder Julio Franco pinch hits, ending Glavine's night. Franco is 48 years old, started his major league career before my sister was born, is friends with President Bush, and once got a hit off Bob Feller. Ok, I made that last one up. He strikes out, and it's time for another pitching change, and Reyes pops out as we go to the 8th.

Top 8th 2-0 Mets
You know, I was almost an extra in "Prison Break." I sent them my stuff and they called a few times, but I couldn't go any of the times thanks to work. Now, they're not filming in Chicago anymore.

Guillermo Mota comes in to pitch. His name means "speck" in Spanish, even though he's 6'6". Also, Eckstein, who draws a 2 out walk, means "cornerstone" in German, though it should be "speck."

Preston Wilson's stepdad is Mookie Wilson! Who knew? Popout, and Pujols will lead off the top of the ninth, where he can only drive himself in.

Bottom 8th 2-0 Mets
I want an HDTV. Anyways, Joe Buck just said it was October 11th, which it's not. Also, FoxTrax isn't as cool as K-Zone.

Delgado doubles, bringing runners to 2nd and 3rd with one out. Can they break it wide open this inning? So far, so good for the Cards, as Wright grounds out to 2nd. 2 down for "Endy." First pitch lineout to soggy head Edmonds. Here comes POO HOLES!

Top 9th 2-0 Mets
Pujols lines out hard to Delgado. Fourth lineout for the Cards, second for Pujols. Hot grounder up the middle, but Valentin throws Encarnacion out by a step. One out left for the Cards. All Rolen has to do is pretend the ball is Larry Bowa's face. He walks. Wagner knew he didn't have a chance against Bowa-hate. Scott Spiezio pinch hits. His red line of facial hair is distracting. Did you know he used to be in a band called Sandfrog? Flyout to 2nd and this thing is over. Glavine, Mota, and Wagner combine on the shutout. Gee, if Pujols doesn't do it himself, can this Cards team score? John "Remember the" Maine goes tomorrow for the Mets against Chris Carpenter. Thanks for reading.

October 11, 2006

Tell Me Why

Tell me why the likes of Tim McCarver, Joe Buck, Thom Brennaman, Steve Lyons, and Joe Morgan get to broadcast playoff baseball. They aren't good, aren't entertaining, and think way too highly of themselves.

October 9, 2006

Joe Torre=Dusty Baker?

I think the comparison is at least a little bit apt here. Both Torre and Baker are widely regarded as doing a good job managing the personal side of the job when it comes to dealing with the sometimes fragile egos of 25 millionaires in hats. Both are loathe to give opportunities to young players. As Steven Goldman at the Pinstriped Bible said once, if you're a young player, you're not allowed to have more than one bad day in a row. He is famous for only using the players he "trusts" and ignoring many of the others unless his hand is forced like with Cabrera or Cano. Dusty is also veteran-centric, as if experience and sore muscles somehow outweighs baseball talent. Where they both fall short is in actual strategy. Creating the lineup and managing the game situations leaves each of them befuddled at times. Jerking A-Rod around the lineup was just the most recent strategic mistake made by Torre in recent years. He was thoroughly depantsed intellectually in this series, leaving some of his best hitters on the bench and refusing to use one of his two situational lefties against the only lefty Tiger hitter. That Granderson hit a triple in one of these situations only makes the mistake that much more noticeable. It would have been the wrong decision even if he grounded out weakly. As for Dusty, I only need to say one word: Neifi!

Now, Baker is out of a job and Torre appears to be headed that way. Dusty is taking some of the blame for the $90 million Cubbie machine that couldn't beat the Pirates, while Torre is going down for the Yankees inability to win a World Series in any of the past six years. There's a difference between last place in the NL and losing in the ALDS, but it's all a matter of degrees and expectations. Baker helmed a team known for losing, while Torre had the expectations of four late 90's championships hanging over his head. I have a feeling someone might higher Baker, though it won't be a smart organization that does it (Washington, anyone?). I suspect Torre will be done at age 66. Some team may want to give him a chance, but he'd be hard pressed to find a situation with as much potential for victory as the one he left. Perhaps it would be best if he rode into the sunset, waited five years, and then gave his induction speech in Cooperstown while all the Yankee fans remember his World Series run.

By the way, this has nothing to do with anything, but I'm rooting for Barry Bonds to sign as a DH with the Angels and bat behind Vlad. If you think Vlad the Impaler is scary now, wait until the other teams have to throw him strikes because Bonds is up next. You might see him hit a ball in the ocean, and trust me, Anaheim is not near the water.

The Clarks


I've been listening to a lot of The Clarks lately. Most of you probably haven't heard of them. Actually, that's not true, since most of the people who read this are from (or spent a lot of time in) Pennsylvania. Anyhow, they are pretty well-known in Pennsylvania, and I can't for the life of me figure out why they haven't gotten more national attention. They're so much better than a lot of the garbage that I hear on the radio. It's a weird phenomenon, they'll sell out good sized venues in Western PA, but nobody out here has ever heard of them, while I have to turn on the radio and hear something by Pink or Kelly Clarkson or Augustana or John "crack addict" Mayer. Ticks me off. Thank goodness for my iPod.

Anyhow, to download some Clarks music on the iTunes Music Store, try this link to their Greatest Hits album, Between Now and Then. (you'll need to have iTunes for that link to work)

October 8, 2006

I'm a Hall of Famer!


I drove back to Ohio this weekend for the Homecoming festivities at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. Before the game, I was inducted, along with three others, into the CVCA Athletic Hall of Fame. Interestingly, both of the career leaders in shooting percentage for the boys and girls basketball teams were among the inductees. Even though the trip was long, it was good to see some people that I definitely haven't seen in some cases since graduation seven years ago. It's amazing how similar everyone looks. Sure, we all look a little older, but not that much different. Who would have guessed where we would all end up:

Tim Meier - after graduating from Indiana Wesleyan University, he is finishing up an M.Div. at Nyack College while working at a church in northern New Jersey just west of NYC. He was one of the inductees with me.

Rachel (Hallis) Meier - Clearly, married to Tim, and also a graduate of IWU. Expecting her first child in December, and the family is planning to move to France in 2008 for mission work.

Jordyn (Taylor) Corbett - Graduate of Grove City that manages a sub-prime lending subsidiary of HSBC in western Pennsylvania. More notably, she took me to school everyday during our senior year, clearly propelling her to future greatness.

Jon Ganley - Also an inductee, he is married and works as a State Trooper. Thankfully, he didn't pull me over on my trip home today.

Tim Hinman - One of my teammates, he graduated from Mt. Union College and does short term mission work. He's leaving soon for 8 months in Turkey.

Jarrad Turner - Another teammate, he is the graduate assistant coach at Kent State University and an active competitor on the freestyle circuit. He wrestled at Penn State in college, and is dealing with the news that two-time world medalist Joe Williams is now coaching at a school in his conference.

Alanna Romansky - Spent the summer in New Hampshire doing Shakespeare after graduating from Wright State. She also recently appeared in commercials for Cedar Point (America's Roller Coast, in case you wondered) and the Ohio Lottery. See her in action below:


We've really been all over the place, doing a lot of different things. I also saw some teachers, administrators, and the like. CVCA even won the game, though I can admit I saw about 2 minutes worth of it in all the hoopla.

October 5, 2006

Zumaya!

Joel Zumaya of the Tigers just threw a whole bunch of fastballs that ESPN told me went 103mph. Now, I don't know whether I agree with that or not, but I will say that I kept waiting to see the ball catch on fire in between his hand and the plate. Giambi and Rodriguez couldn't have hit those pitches with a tennis racquet.

October 2, 2006

Bye Dusty

Dusty Baker is out as the Cubs manager. He insists he wasn't fired, just that his contract ran out. Whatever helps you sleep at night, buddy. He has, and continues to be, good at dealing with the people skills portion of his job. However, he has time and time again proven himself an incapable tactician. His affinity for washed up veterans, addiction to Neifi Perez, and disdain for basic fundamental concepts (he says walks clog the bases!) have cost his teams at least as many games as his soothing presence in the clubhouse has gained. Of course, it's not nearly all his fault that the big-market Cubs finished with the worst record in the National League, and the third worst in the bigs ahead of the helpless Royals and the young Devil Rays. The ownership and general manager have shown little willingness or ability to take their substantial payroll and put it to use in developing and retaining players of quality. Derek Lee and Carlos Zambrano are great, great players, but they can't do it alone. They should probably blow the whole thing up and start over, instituting some sort of organization-wide plan that starts with a drafting philosophy and carries throughout the far-flung minor league system right up through the major league level.

This way, they won't throw money at overpriced mediocrities or managers "who have been there before," and they can make decisions that reflect the plan. As a Chicagoland resident, I would rather see the Cubs lose for a few years while building up to something great than watch them stumble along the way they have and spend a bunch of money in the hopes of reaching .500. The team has the fan support and the financial wherewithal to implement a plan of home growth supplemented by wise free agent signings in the hopes of ending the 98 year and counting World Series drought. Keep Lee, Zambrano, and Prior, and focus on the 2009-2011 seasons as your goal for World Series domination.