Archives for posts with tag: 2009 Postseason

After two less-than-successful live-blogging attempts, I’m unsure that I’ll try it again.  For National Poetry Month in 2001, I read poems on Bennington College’s radio station for twelve straight hours, and the live-blogging experience left me similarly incapable of saying something interesting about anything.  Took me a whole day of napping and watching the later Ralph Cifaretto episodes of The Sopranos before I could reliably string two intelligent sentences together.  Kind of like a marathon runner coming down from a race by mainlining caffeine and cramming down candy bars like they’ve got no gag reflex.  That’s how that works, right?

Anyway, I’m glad to have had the day off.

I am watching the Phillies-Rockies game, but it’s only vaguely interesting.  Regular sleep and recent venting about Philadelphia and its population will do that to you.  (The TBS crew just referenced Omar Minaya’s 2002 Bartolo Colon trade to Montreal, which included sending Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Cliff Lee to Cleveland.  They did not mention Mr. Minaya’s name.)

But I read something about Tony La Russa’s future plans, and how they may or may not include the St. Louis Cardinals (uh-huh; sure), and it got me thinking of Bobby Valentine.  Latest word on Valentine here, from Ken Rosenthal.

I’ve stated on this site that I’m not for replacing a manager without the legitimate cover of a viable reason.  And this won’t even be a post about where I think Bobby Valentine should or shouldn’t go or what he should do with his life (I reserve the right to answer some rhetorical questions that may seem like I’m deciding for him; the line will be thin, but it will be walked).  Rather, for those not in the know who stumble upon this, I’d like to point out what the man has done with his life, so far.

Read this by Andrew Jenks, who was the force behind the documentary The Zen Of Bobby V.  If you’re reading while waiting for a Hot Pocket to go thermonuclear-hot in your microwave, here are the some of the more crucial passages:

“When Bobby took over in 2003, the Marines had not won in 31 years, most
of the seats at the home stadium were empty, and TV ratings were
abysmal. Within two years, Bobby resurrected a perennial loser into
national champions, winning the 2005 Japan Series and Asia Series. He
is the first foreign manager to win either. Since then, the atmosphere
has changed drastically in Chiba: many weekend games are nearly sold
out, a group of diehard fans travel to every game, and TV ratings are
improving. …

“Bobby still considers his work in Japan far from being finished.
Although many consider his prowess in Japan second to none, Bobby feels
as if he still fighting an uphill battle. For over a decade now, the
top players in Japan have been taking their skills Stateside. According
to Bobby, this exodus to America is slowly killing the game in Japan —
a game that he has come to respect and love. …

“So when Bobby is not coaching, he travels the country speaking to
corporations, colleges, newspapers, and anyone that will listen. His
message: Japan’s baseball officials need to wake up before they realize
that all of their players are no longer around. …”

If you watch the film, you’ll see Mr. Valentine busting hump to get Japan to build a strong minor league system, in an effort to mold the current league into something more than a distant AAA-outpost for MLB.  He managed a working agreement between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Boston Red Sox, but beyond that, it’s not totally clear that he’s made his point to his satisfaction.

What motivates a fifty-nine year-old man, after all indications are that he lived and breathed a mission that he, by most measures, he did not succeed in, to what I’m sure is the disappointment of a community and–to a lesser extent, maybe–a nation, that worships him?

Put another way, would Bobby Valentine be at all satisfied with managing the Cleveland Indians–forgive me, Indians fans, most notably TribeTed, a frequent Sec. 528 commenter–or the St. Louis Cardinals, or the London Silly Nannies with such a job left undone?  I don’t believe so, obviously, and I don’t believe he’d want to come to the Mets for the same reason: lack of true fulfillment. 

American baseball’s got its business locked down, and it’s a fine business; I enjoy it.  Brooklyn Lager; “Lazy Mary”; jokes about Mike Lowell’s blackout van.  But rare is the game where the same kind of collective effervescence–read up on your Emile Durkheim or attend your next and nearest tent revival for an understanding–you see in Japanese baseball envelops the crowd at an American major league park.  Hell, the Mets can rarely time the “Let’s Go Mets!” chant to avoid dissonance; the Japanese unfurl banners in the stands seemingly miles long.  I’m watching the Rockies fans wave rally towels, and it’s the first time I’ve seen Colorado get collectively amped about anything.

I don’t think American baseball would have to take on the flavor and fervor of Japanese baseball before Bobby Valentine would coach in the majors again.  But not enough people are talking about this the way perhaps Mr. Valentine is thinking about it.  He’s seen what rabid fandom is like; to come back to a more relaxed, more laid back, perhaps even less-invested environment, I think he’d have to succeed somehow in what he’s left undone, make peace with the fact that he couldn’t get it done, or set it aside.

And think of his potential stateside employer: do you WANT a Bobby Valentine that’s professional, committed to win, but not striking that pay dirt of irreverent effervescence on a daily basis, because the crowd’s busy voting on what song they’d like to sing along to during the middle of the eighth, and not watching what’s happening on the field?

That’s a lot of long sentences.  A lot of rhetorical questions.

And a complete inability on my part to tie this up in a nice bow at the end.  I blame my puttering capacity for word-thingies seventeen minutes past my normal ice cream time. 

But baseball’s a livelihood, like any other; the endgame of personal fulfillment is by no means always dictated by the people who own the game.  Sometimes people see a way to happiness that has nothing to do with what we think should make them happy.

What would make Bobby happy?  If he knows, let him try for it; the man’s accomplished enough to earn the right.

10:35p: And there it is.  Brendan Harris grounds out to first.  The obligatory rhythmic hop on the field.  The second sweep and subdued celebration on an away field that I’ve seen.

The end of Twins baseball at the Metrodome.  Horrible base running by the Twins.  No, Carlos Gomez, I feel sorry for YOU.

Play me off, animated Orson Welles!

: And Delmon Young takes another swipe at a ball.  This time, he manages not to make contact.

Trust me, the offline jokes have been much better.

: Why, random fan?  Why are you trying to escape by climbing over the right field wall?

I have to think Gardenhire sent a message upstairs.  The fan is a decoy.  A decoy!  Delmon Young just needed a couple of minutes to clear the mechanism!

: Michael Cuddyer with a hit to shallow right.  Gives Chip Caray another chance to push his 2009 postseason trademark term: “fisted.”

10:22p: Finally.  How long did that inning go?  My unofficial timer says twenty minutes.

Final three outs of the year coming up for the Twins, as prefaced by the swelling American orchestral music played before the break.

: Kubel goofs.  The Yankees play it safe despite the two boots; score is now 4-1.  Bases are still loaded, still one out.  Minnesota dead quiet, except for random shouts of “You suck!”

Phillies are on the board in Colorado.  That’s all you’ll hear from me on that.

: Nathan allows a two-out single to Posada and the air goes out of the Homerdome. 

: Three walks, three relief pitchers.  Bases loaded.

Mr. Gardenhire, just leave a guy in.  See if they just need to settle into the mound before making some magic, huh?  Whattaya say?

: Gardenhire plays Kitchen Sink with the Yankees.  Rauch walks Rodriguez, and Gardenhire pulls him for Jose Mijares.

Seriously, how can this be good?

“I met her in a Kingstown bar
We fell in love I knew it had to end
We took what we had and we ripped it apart
Now here I am down in Kingstown again…”

: Ron Mahay out for Jon Rauch to face Alex Rodriguez.

I think it’s a bad omen that the Twins P.A. crew chose to play “Hungry Heart” during the pitching change.

: Johnny Damon has struck out four times tonight? Yipes.

Honestly, I donm’t think it’ll matter.  The Twins have run themselves out of this series thus far.

: Mariano Rivera comes on for a four-out save, with Mauer up to bat.

Separately, a note to anyone who has the “problem” demonstrated by the Playstation 3 commercial: if that “problem” involves your hot girlfriend excited to watch you play an awesome-looking video game, you’re unqualified to determine what is and isn’t a problem.

Mauer grounds out to first.  Top ninth.

9:42p: Nick Punto’s picked off third on a Denard Span hit.  Thank you for obliging, Nick.  I now think you’re a tool.

: Good God,  I forgot about the Phillies-Rockies game tonight.  No way am I live-blogging that; the fury I have for some Phillies players would serve to set my laptop on fire.  And I’ve been drinking.

Uneventful top of the eighth.  Lots of jokes about “The Language Of Baseball” and more Delmon Young cracks.  Some chants about Jeter sucking, which is neither true nor fair.  I know I’m burning the corneas of some Mets fans by typing that, and believe me, I’ve little joy typing it while my mind floats to stills of his dumb smirk.

Punto hustles for second on a well-hit ball.  Damn you, Nick Punto!  You cannot do this to me!  You’re too awful for me to like!

: Jose Morales strikes out swinging, just as Joba Chamberlain was having difficulty finding the strike zone.

Shoulda consulted with Delmon Young about taking a base on balls.  Ha!

: Delmon Young knocks a hit to right center.  He’s on second.

I have about fifteen more “Delmon Young hits himself in the junk” jokes.  Please, Delmon, do something else fantastic!

: Lordy.  Delmon Young takes one in the grapes.  Always awful when you do it to yourself.  Think Radiohead said that first.

Delmon Young’s hit twelve homers this season.  And one johnson.

: Pettitte is out after striking out Kubel.  He’s in line for the win.  I’m mildly surprised there’s been any scoring.  Going to the bullpen can only mean the opening of the floodgates and the pushing back of the game’s end time to 2:30 Monday morning.

: Posada homers, and there are no chants of “Steroids!” now.  Maybe some snarky comments about the lack of identifiable chin, but certainly no chants about performance enhancers.

Pavano may or may not be gassed.  2-1, Yankees.

Rodriguez homers.  Tied at 1.

Also, Spassky versus Fisher, Ronnie? We get it; you went to college.

I think the Twins crowd is chanting “Steroids.”  But I can’t be sure. 

: And the rumbling sounds of a “Yankees suck!” jeer rises from the home of Minnesota Nice. 

One out for Alex Rodriguez (still no sign of the star of Fool’s Gold, Kate Hudson).

: Michael Cuudyer: when the ball is nowhere near the strike zone, it would behoove you NOT TO SWING AT IT.

1-0, Twins, top seventh.

: Joe Mauer gets his first RBI of the series, and it’s brought to you by Haas Avocados.

When you’re thinking of dinner, a snack, or a natural way to keep frown lines from commanding your face, try Haas Avocados!

: Denard Span with a hit up the middle, with Cabrera up.  Somebody, for the love of Pete, do SOMETHING.

I mean, I love a great pitching duel as much as anybody, but Padilla yesterday was mesmerizing.  This is just… not the same.

: And Pavano strikes out Damon.  Goddamn.

Cheers to Buz from Yesterday’s Hitter for the comment mid-live blog, by the way.  I owe you some reciprocal comment love, Buz.  My apologies; I get caught up in writing this thing and hardly get the chance to make the rounds on MLBlogs.  It’s a failing.

: “My name is Cleveland Brown/And I am proud to be/Right back in my hometown/With my new family…”

Jeter chops one right on the right field line for a double with two out.  If Pavano gets out of this particular “jam,” I think it would be fair to say that he’s done more than his job.  Where’s the Twins offense?

: After the unassisted double play, Cuddyer singles to left, and Kubel manages a force-out of Cuddyer at second
on a shot to right.

The Metrodome plays tricks with my ability to judge balls to the outfield.

Also, if you’re wondering,  when I drink Scotch, I prefer any of the Johnnie Walker varieties, but I’m no snob.

Brendan Harris grounds out.  Top of the sixth coming up.  No score.  If they finish in time for me to catch Californication as it airs, then delightful.

Ashton Kutcher is a waste of time.

: Delmon Young with a great grab and Michael Cuddyer with an unassisted double play.  Apparently karma wants me to drink Scotch.  The match is well and truly joined.

8:16p: It’s 8:16 and the game’s halfway done.  Matsui’s just gotten on base, and we’re on schedule for the game to start crawling along.  Should Pavano manage to get out of the game without putting on another base runner, I’m going to switch to Scotch.

Happy Columbus Day, everybody!

: You gotta think that, if Old Man Steinbrenner was still able, he’d light into Carl Pavano after this game.  Six strikeouts in three innings?  After a year in which he pitched more games (33) than he did his previous four years with the Yankees (26)?  I can absolutely imagine a good, old-fashioned, foaming-at-the-mouth, golf-club-snapping, cigar-chomping… I’ve lost my train of thought.

Also, I really want to hate that Captain Morgan commercial with the dance party, but that robot/alien kills me every time.
7:56p: Dull, dull, dull.  Reading about the Metrodome on Wikipedia.

: Melky Cabrera breaks up Pavano’s perfect game as Punto tries to re-take my heart.  Jeter grounds out on the next pitch.  Time for ice cream.

By the way, I’m not on Facebook, but apparently there’s a Craig Sager fanclub on there.  I leave it to you to discover it.

: Nick Swisher can’t count.  Tries to take first on a 3 and 2.  Strikes out next pitch.  Least he was a champ about it.

: If this follows the script, the Twins will come out to a lead and the Yankees will stomp on it.  as there’s not yet been a hit recorded (1 1/2 innings), it’s time for a dinner break.

I look forward to laughing at more Foster’s commercials.  Seriously, how great is it that they’re back?

7:25p: Does Kate Hudson love Alex Rodriguez enough to travel to the Metrodome?

: Chip Caray shows his brand loyalties: not Wite-Out, but Liquid Paper. 

A post found while researching Sager’s wardrobe declares:

“In an interview with the The Washington Post, during the
Beijing Olympics, Sager was forced into wearing the uniform that all
reporters for NBC had to wear: khakis and a blue polo. Sager did manage
a festive belt that matched his blue polo and claims to have worn a
matching thong. Mercifully, there is no proof of this.”

Yes.  Mercifully.

Swisher books it to grab a Cabrera fly-out.  Mauer grounds out to end the inning.

7:12p: Watching Twins-Yankees, by the way.  Pavano gets out of the first inning early, but that’s the Yankees m.o. against the Twins.  Currently trying to determine where Craig Sager gets those jackets, and whether a video tech has quit over them, yet.

7:10p: I have no idea what was up with the band prior to the game.  Carl [Pavano], too, was perplexed.

3:59p: And that’s that.  Pedroia pops out to shortstop.  7-6 Angels; they move on to face the winner of Twins-Yankees.
Where did this game turn from decent to suck for the Sox?  That walk to Chone Figgins didn’t help.
Meh.  Should make my impending trip to Boston less loud.  And my Yankees fan friends should be happy.
Woof, Papelbon.  Woof.
I’m getting crowded here and I’ve ignored a tightrope walk between the Steelers and Lions and a bloodbath executed by the Giants in East Rutherford.  So I’m going to sink into that.
Catch you later for Twins-Yankees.

3:58p: Ellsbury fouls out to the catcher, and the Red Sox are down to their final out.
Here comes Pedroia.

3:51p: Morales flies out to left.
Bottom of the ninth.  Brian Fuentes in to close out the game–and the series–for the Angels.
Walking Torii Hunter for Vladimir Guerrero.  When he bats right, too.  I don’t get it.  Just go for him.  Make him beat you.

3:49p: And Guerrero rips a single to center, scoring two.  7-6, Angels, with Okajima now in to face Kendry Morales.
Dumb, dumb, dumb, this intentional walk business.

3:46p: Torii Hunter is intentionally walked for Vladimir Guerrero, which makes no earthly sense to me.
I mean, match-up wise, it makes some sense.  But… no; they could use the same hand to hold a fork, and I wouldn’t approve.

3:44p: Abreu doubles.  Aybar scores, other runners in scoring position.  6-5 Sox with Torii Hunter up.

3:43p:  GameCast is silent.  Ominous sign.

3:37p: Papelbon set up outside before coming in on Chone Figgins.  Two strikes, looking, and it’s emergency hack time.
Foul.  Ball four, and the tying run is at first.

3:36p: He singles and moves to second on indifference.

3:34p: Last out time.  Papelbon versus… Erick Aybar.  Down two.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a bottom of the order hitter batting over .300.  I don’t know whether I should be excited at my computer or not.
I choose not.

3:25p: Got lost in a conversation with the bartender here about pre-Prohibition era cocktails.
Joey Gathright, whom I will hereon confuse with football “star” Joey Galloway, was the pinch runner.  He stole second (which David Ortiz hasn’t done since parties in his freshman year of high school), and came in on Mike Lowell’s single.  6-4, Sox.

3:18p: It’s gettin’ wacky up in here.  Pacific Standard is in sore need of a dog run.
David Ortiz has a hit.  And he’s out for a pinch-runner.
Also, don’t know why, but I find this tickles me:
Scratch that, I do know why.  “Aw, snap!” And the sad folder.

3:12p:  From ESPN:
Pujols, 3 for 10 with an RBI and no extra-base hits in the series, left Busch Stadium without speaking to reporters. Holliday was 2 for 12 with a solo homer.”

Emphasis mine.

Billy Wagner picked off Rivera’s pinch-runner to end the threat in the eighth.

3:06p: And there it is: Rivera raps a single to right center.  5-4 Red Sox.
Note to teams in the post-season: eliminate all players with ties to the Mets.  Otherwise, it will not end well for you.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wagner, I recommend you accept arbitration next year.

3:03p: Guerrero walked; Morales makes an out to move the runners over.  Two out, runners in scoring position.  A deep hit brings the Angels back into the talk.  C’mon, Wags.

2:55p: Billy Wagner up in the eight for the Boston Red Sox.  He gives up a lead-off double to Bobby Abreu. 

2:37p: Seriously, now: how do you manage to let this happen?

“He first injured his right leg on May 13 in a game at Citi Field and did not play in a subsequent four-game series in San Francisco. The Mets said at the time that Reyes had an injured right calf.

From San Francisco, the Mets flew to Los Angeles, to open a series with the Dodgers. When they arrived, the Mets arranged to have Reyes examined by the Dodgers’ team doctor, Dr. Neal ElAttrache. According to a person who works in baseball and has knowledge of what occurred at the time, ElAttrache gave Reyes a magnetic resonance imaging test and told the player and the Mets that he had a partly torn accessory hamstring tendon.”

From the Times article linked two posts ago.

You’re killing me.  The Dodgers organization has no vested interest in not showing the Mets up.  They’ve a vested interest in showing that their medical staff is above reproach.

I didn’t call this out enough on my post about the Mets media blitz on the 5th.  I got the sense that this Reyes thing wasn’t over.
It’s just not a mark of a classy organization, to throw another one under the bus, especially when that opposing, potentially bus-tire-bound organization has access to the same reporters and words in the English language as you do.
Good God.  Who’s quarterbacking this?
5-2 Red Sox, bottom seventh.

2:26p: While watching the Dodgers-Cardinals game, The Wife asked: “What colors are the seats at Citi Field, again?”
“Dark green,” I answered.
“Right.  Why aren’t they blue?  Look at the seats at the Cardinals park.  Look how good they look.”
I said something about some homage to the Polo Grounds, but it occurred to me this morning that I don’t recall where I got that, so I can’t say that that’s true.
However, a couple of seconds as that occurred to me, it also occurred to me that Mets blue seats in that park would look awful.  Given the color of the iron work and the color of the exterior brick, seeing royal blue seats would be stark, and altogether unwelcome, aesthetically.
That’s a personal opinion.  Anyone wishing to go through the trouble of Photoshopping evidence to the contrary is welcome to send it along.
Relatively quiet bottom of the seventh for Boston; Mike Lowell walked.

2:16p: Pandemonium in Fenway.  Torii Hunter notches a deep double; goes to third on a Clay Buchholz balk, who then gives up an infield single to Vladimir Guerrero.  Kendry Morales walks, and that’s it for Clay.  Bases loaded, no one out.
Bard relieves Buchholz, and manages to get out of the jam with only letting up one run, as the Boston defense pulls out a double play on Juan Rivera’s unfortunateness.  Maicer Itzuris popped out.
Time for the long pants on the bullpen, Boston.  

2:02p: Internet’s back up.  Sox over Angels, 5-1 in the 5th.  Way to do it right, Boston.  Watching on Gamecast.

Dodgers-Cardinals: I can’t recall the Cardinals ever lying down as thoroughly as the Cardinals did in Game Three.  Vicente Padilla is, by no means, the second coming of Sandy Koufax.  Were the Cardinals that much of a mirage, or did they just have a bad day?
And don’t tell me they got jobbed by the strike zone.  Mike Everitt was the apostle of anti-Cuzzi-dom. 

Good thing about not doing this for money is when The Wife needs a day of my time, I can give it.

I have thoughts on the Dodgers-Cardinals, and I have no thoughts on the Red Sox-Angels because I’ve yet to see most of one of their games.  Fortunately, there’s one starting in… eleven minutes.
I’m headed out to Pacific Standard (with a breakfast detour), and will be watching and, if I can manage, live-blogging from there.  Never tried it on this software; I might just suggest that you keep hitting refresh; I might submit repeated entries.  Really, we’ll see how it goes.  If you’re bored and in Brooklyn, come out and join–Pacific Standard is on Fourth Avenue, between Bergen and St. Marks Place.
I won’t be there for the start of the game, no, but that’s another good thing about not doing this for money: not only can I skip a day, but I can show up late.  It’s like Phil Rizzuto in reverse.
In the meantime, read this as background for later.  The Dodgers have taken issue with the Mets’ characterization of Jose Reyes events.
Keep Jay Horwitz.  He’s a good guy, he knows the culture, and he’s been there forever.  But please, please, please hire a visible communications director.  The damage being done is completely avoidable.

Enjoying some lunch and reading up on coverage from last night, and came across this on Ryan Franklin’s blog:

“I just felt like I was right where I was supposed to be, and everything
was going like it should. I got Manny Ramirez out, did what I wanted
to. But something like what happened with James Loney, it happens.

I’ll take a ball hit at Matt Holliday any time. He’s going to do whatever he can.”

I never can tell, nor can I ever really believe when I’m told, when/that a player’s doing their own writing.  It was posted at a quarter past 11p so the time’s right, and despite my jokes about Franklin’s shirking of anything powered by electricity, he’s always been comfortable with video cameras.  And he’s always seemed like a man with plenty of usable gray matter between the ears.  The entire post is a short and solid read, and classy from a guy who that night got jobbed by a fielder’s error.

Then there’s ESPN’s recap of the game, which includes some refreshing honesty from Tony La Russa:

“It’s about as tough a loss as you can have, except we still have an
opportunity to play Saturday,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Right now I
think it’s important to get upset about the game that got away. We did
a lot to win that one and didn’t win it. Turn the page too quickly [sic]
means you don’t care.”

And some petulance by Adam Wainwright:

“That ball got lost in 50,000 white towels shaking in front of Matt’s
face,” Wainwright said. “It doesn’t really seem fair that an opposing
team should be able to allow their fans to shake white towels when
there’s a white baseball flying through the air. How about Dodger Blue

How about a Cardinals-red ball?  That’d stand out even better.

While I was at Bennington there was a guy there named Lucas.  Lucas invented–or claimed to invent, anyway–two things that made meal time (all the time, really) a lot of fun.

The first was the “elbow of justice,” which I believe has its roots with Martin Luther King, Jr. but has since been extrapolated to its natural, liberal arts college physical manifestation.  Google “elbow of justice” and the first hit is a blog by the same name.  Lucas is the disembodied head in gray second-from-the-right.  I don’t think he submits to it.

The second was the “soft alarm,” which was sounded whenever necessary.  Imagine a group of folks emitting an alto-level imitation of a police siren, but slowly and with zero shriek.  “Wooooooooohhh.”

Now, then, if you’ll permit me:

Adam Wainwright: “It doesn’t really seem fair that an opposing
team should be able to allow their fans to shake white towels when
there’s a white baseball flying through the air.”
Lucas, Paul Vargas, et. al.: “Woooooooohhh.”
AW: “[No, seriously.] How about Dodger Blue
L, PV, etc.: “Woooooooohhh.”

AW: “[Guys, cut it out; I’m just trying to get my teammate’s back.]”
Paul: “Buddy, you pitched a solid game.  More than solid.  And what you just said doesn’t make sense.  He charged the ball faster than he needed to; he was well within range; he could’ve picked it up coming out of the sky; he’s an outfielder, for Chrissakes.”

AW: “[I stand by my original statement.]”
Lucas: “He shoulda seen the ball.  It’s his job to see the ball.  It was an error on his part, not on people pumped to see the game, wavin’ towels.  Elbow of justice?”
Everyone except AW: “Elbow of justice.”

::Crowd bends elbows; slams them on nearest broad, flat surface.::

Lucas hails, I believe, from Massachusetts, and is a Red Sox fan.

Watched the Battle Of The Facial Hair yesterday.
I didn’t even know I was watching it until about the fifth inning. But after the house’s supply of Olde Tyme Baseballer Jokes at Brendan Ryan’s expense had been depleted, it was time to widen the field.
Clayton Kershaw? It’s like he gathered the hair in the shower room sinks and pasted it on his face.  Adam Wainwright? Getting close, but unable to commit.  Casey Blake? Now THERE’S a beard.  And Ryan Franklin?

Hoo boy.

I think he came to the mound expecting to be done in time for the barn raising.

The St. Louis Team Bus was followed to Dodger Stadium by the Ryan Franklin Horse And Buggy.

Ryan Franklin’s endorsement deal isn’t with Mennen; it’s with Mennonite.
These are the jokes, folks.
Odd what one finds oneself watching when one’s team isn’t in the playoffs. I watched St. Louis at Los Angeles with an eye towards parts.
No one on Los Angeles, really. I get the sense everyone there likes being there, or is out to lunch. The latter category includes Manny Ramirez and Ronnie Belliard–who, to his credit, had one of two legitimate hits in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
St. Louis’s top possible is, of course, Matt Holliday, and his homer to start the limited scoring was delightful. His error at the end of the game was less so. But maybe it’s nerves, and maybe if St. Louis goes quietly in three, the focus will be on his error, and his price point will take a small hit. Clue me in: how does St. Louis deal with pariahs? Do they even make pariahs down in St. Louis?
Beyond that, very few baseball-related thoughts. I promised myself I’d watch at least most of one game of each division series match; I’ve got Colorado-Philadelphia and Anaheim-Boston to go.
No mailbag today; busy up in the hills of Vargasville, with The Wife in town and an early start to this particular day.  But I will provide a public service announcement:
Go see Zombieland.  The trailer, as unreal as it was, did NOT do its hilarity justice.  And given the movie’s events, it’s clear to me that not enough of the populace has gone to see it. Otherwise, I’d’ve overheard something to spoil it by now, and been thrown into the red as a result. 
See it, because next week belongs to Where The Wild Things Are, which given Disney’s ownership of the Muppets will be the closest thing we’ll get to anything like Labyrinth for a long, long time; you know this, and after it, Zombieland will fade from your consciousness.
This concludes my public service announcement. Go Twins/Yankees, Dodgers, Rockies, and Red Sox.

Caught only the latter half of the Yankees-Twins game last night; walking by the Church of St. Yankee of Bay Ridge (otherwise known as the Salty Dog), the score was 3-2 and Alex Rodriguez was up. 

By the time I’d turned the game on at home, it was 4-2. 

By the time The Wife got home, it was 6-2.  Obviously she’d boarded the R train following mine.

Hearing Ron Darling’s voice did me good, though.  Despite his repeated claims that certain pitchers were “unhittable,” …you know, that criticism might just be through the lens of a less-than-spectacular morning.  He’s fine.  No problem.  Yankee die-hards who’d rather die than listen to an SNY broadcast, take note: this is one-third of the way baseball should be enjoyed on television.  Add Gary Cohen, and Keith Hernandez, and you’re set.

My postseason man-crush on Nick Punto grew with some acrobatic play last night, throwing off balance and on target to first to snag an out in the bottom of the sixth.  Watch it here on the Twins’ MLB site.  Of course, I then checked out his page on Baseball Reference, which you can do yourself by checking out the B-R link somewhere down the page on the right.  Go on; I’ll be here. 

Yeah.  Yikes.  Man-crush over.

And speaking of irrational loves, please allow me to pass along some notes to the production crew over at TBS:

  • I am not “there” when you send a camera guy out to trail a player who’s just hit a home run.  The below-crotch-level shot of Hideki Matsui does nothing to me, and is far too shaky to do anything for anyone who’s actually interested in doing something with it.  I blame FOX for this, as they’re the ones I caught doing it first.  Stop it.  It’s POINTLESS.

  • Additionally, I am well aware that celebrities exist in New York.  One of the greatest thrills of my year was sharing a corner with Woody Allen, waiting to walk down Madison Avenue.  And I’m aware that Kate Hudson, a celebrity, is dating Alex Rodriguez, a baseball player of some renown.  You may feel free to cut to her once, after he does something spectacular.  And indeed, breaking a postseason 0-for-18 with RISP slump hits the low end of the spectacle spectrum.  But repeated cuts to Kate Hudson are not warranted; in fact, they are as lazy as her acting choices since The Cutting Room in 2001.  Stop THIS, too.

Surprising fact after checking for the release date of The Cutting Room: Sigourney Weaver is 60 years old today.  Definitely changes Ghostbusters for me.  I don’t know how, but it does.

Game Two is tomorrow, and we can only hope that the forecasted rain keeps the Hollywood types from sticking around, and the rest gained today allows the Minnesotans to gear up and make a game of this one.  Really, that’s all one can ask.

On the Cardinals-Dodgers game, I can only say I watched a few minutes.  It was already late, and Ike was seeing dead celebrities on South Park.  Reading the recap, I’m surprised Randy Wolf lasted as long as he did, and that wasn’t very long.  The Dodgers have to hope Clayton Kershaw’s got some gas in the tank.

Almost pulled a George Foreman and typed, “got the tiger in the tank.”  But tigers haven’t gotten much done this year.  ::Rimshot.::

Ah–Chris Carter is a Met now.  Knew there’d be something Mets-ish to say. 

If he comes up to the majors at any point in 2010, and his walk-on music isn’t something by Mark Snow, I’m walking out.  Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing; if there’s no synthesizer, it’s not getting done.

**Ted Berg of SNY has a new blog, called TedQuarters, and it’s hopping with material.  You should read it regularly, not because he’s a Mets fan, nor because he’s given me a link on his blogroll (but many thanks, Mr. Berg, for that), but because the posts are written thoughtfully and with earnest purpose.  If you’ve been following his work for SNY, you know this to be his hallmark.  Thanks again, Ted, and best of luck with the venture.

There’s a woman named Patricia McCann who provides product and service endorsements on radio commercials in the New York area. She often introduces herself about a third of the way, and often off-handedly:
“…And they never get their whitest! Patricia McCann; good morning. But I’ve discovered new Stop-N-Glow, the first bleaching system that works while you wear your whites!”
I didn’t grow up listening to radio, so it took me a Google search–and about a week to remember, post-ablutions, to DO the Google search–to find out that she was a staple on WOR radio, and that she in fact comes from radio people.
I’m still not buying Stop-N-Glow.  Paul Vargas; good morning.  Your nominees for post-season contention are:
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Colorado Rockies
AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox
What follows is a breakdown of wishes for World Series success, and NOT an analysis of who’ll actually win. This is the wrong place to go for handicapping.
I’d be excited to watch a post-season in which the Twins managed to win it all. It smacks of bandwagonism, but I watched the tie-breaker last night (from Top 7 on) and was captivated. That Nick Punto’s heads-up.
They play the Yankees to open, and I’m on record as saying I love a parade. I really have no beef with the Yankees if they pull this one out. I hope the Twins at least make a series of it, but I’m good with either of them coming out alive. Again, excited if the Twins make a successful run, but not devastated if they don’t.
With that in mind, it’s difficult to order the rest. Generally I seek mercenary justice against those teams who knock my horse out. In 2007 I rooted for the Indians as a favor to my friend from Cleveland, and the Yankees series they played was a bonding experience, as was the unfortunate Red Sox series. But this year, without major beef either way, I’ll have to wait to see who comes out of the Yankees-Twins bout victorious before I go that route.
Really, the only reasonable thing to do is pick the rest by ascending order of hatred. 
This’ll be fun.
Colorado Rockies: Spilborghs’s jerkitude is counter-balanced
by Clint Barmes’s keeping his head down and mouth relatively shut; I’m
talking about that game against the Cardinals in which Barmes didn’t
catch the ball on the run. Also, Jim Tracy is a shining example of what
a manager can do when the former manager is booted mid-season.

Boston Red Sox: Boston fans are fun to talk with on the whole.
Knowledgeable folks, for the most part; battle-hardened. I presume that
there are more like them outside of Bukowski Tavern; I only really know
the ones INSIDE Bukowski Tavern.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: dumb name, but generally un-gross. Additionally, some fun in rooting for these guys at Pacific Standard, which is a West Coast leaning bar that enjoys the Oakland Athletics. It’s like rooting for the cat in a game of cat-and-mouse.
Los Angeles Dodgers: it’s getting lean. I have nothing exciting to say about the Dodgers. Neither good nor bad. That Alyssa Milano really took to the game. How’s that?
St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina has farty pants. I’ve said this. Why haven’t you been paying attention?
Philadelphia Phillies: My list of grievances against the Phillies, their fans, and the city of Philadelphia is long and infuriating.
Shane Victorino is a mess. Cole Hamels speaks of choking without respect for his own team’s abominable history. Jimmy Rollins should have a fine enough time trying to square the circle on calling his team the one to beat and growing irritated at on-field celebrations. That they got to the postseason those years is irrelevant; he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.
I have seen physical assaults of Mets fans by Phillies fans, including one truly awful incident in which several Phillies fans surrounded a teenage Mets fan in a. Shea bathroom on September 15th, 2007. I don’t like teenagers, but it took me and twice as many Mets fans to get the teenager free from the circle and shove the Phillies fans OUT of the bathroom and into the arms of security. Bruises along my arms and back were not what I wanted for my birthday.
burn.jpgI’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention what becomes of some Mets fans when Phillies fans come to town. 

To the left is a photo snapped after a victory against the Phillies on June 9th of this year.
A group of Phillies fans came to Citi Field and harassed Mets fans in Section 532 or 533; forget which exactly, but to Section 528’s left, directly above the left field wall.
After three hours of abuse, a couple of visits by security, and an eventual Mets win, the Phillies group wound down the left field ramp followed by the Mets fans, and one jerk stole a Phillies “2008” championship banner from them.  He was encircled by other Mets fans, who chanted “Burn that s***! Burn that s***!”
That’s a photo of that s***, indeed, being burned. It’s blurry because I was shoved out of the way by a cop as I took it.
I’ve seen each of the Mets’ other rivals in the parks; I’ve seen victories, I’ve seen losses. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it’s inexcusable. There’s no call for harassment on either side.
The city itself is unfriendly, as a municipal enterprise. I was once cursed at by a Philadelphia traffic cop. And I took the TRAIN in.
“Excuse me, but do you think I own that car?”
 “I told you: move it out the f****** way or it’s gettin’ towed!”
 “Ma’am, it’s not my car.  See that Amtrak station? I just got off the TRAIN.”
 ::Owner arrives to move double-parked car:: “Whoa, whoa–don’t write the ticket!”
 “Move your car!”
Philadelphia, you’ve shown me nothing that makes you deserving of any kind of championship. In fact, everything I’ve seen shows you as standing in the way of human progress.  You’re blowing it for the rest of us.
The banner burning is an example of what happens when you’re allowed to congregate in groups larger than four, and leave your city’s limits. 
Tend to your own house.  Come out when you’re ready to play nice.

Recapping my preferred order of World Series victors:

–Minnesota Twins/New York Yankees
–Colorado Rockies
–Boston Red Sox
–Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
–Los Angeles Dodgers
–St. Louis Cardinals
–a bottle of Yukon Jack
–a tumor
–TEN tumors
–two tumors
–the penitent ghost of Joseph Stalin
–Philadelphia Phillies

I’ll take any and all hate mail at omniality [at] hotmail [dot] com.  I will most likely read it then delete it (same goes for any hateful comments left here), but feel free to send it.