Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
But, we gave up Melky Cabrera to get him. Cabrera was a fairly solid center fielder for us last year, but he has had kind of and up and down career. On the up side, he's fairly young and has performed fairly well under the NYC spotlight. Howevever, Cabrera clearly became expendable when we picked up the great (former Seawolf) Curtis Granderson from the Tigers. There was talk that Melky would start in left, but I'm not sure he has a big enough bat for the Yankees to be completely satisfied with him as the full-time leftfielder. So, we dumped him for some starting pitching depth.
Which leaves us with a hole in left field - not necessarily a bad thing considering that three of the current top free agents are left fielders: Johnny Damon, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday. Damon, of course, is a proven commodity, but Bay and Holliday likely have more upside - as they both are younger. That said, if this article is true, and Damon has reduced his contract demands to a two-year term, then, we should probably jump all over it. Yes, we'd be leaving Holliday and Bay on the market for the BoSox, but Damon is probably a better fit for the Yankees' line-up. He's a lefty and did a great job in the number two hole last year. Yeah, we'd probably need to refresh the position in another couple years, while Bay or Holliday could conceivably be a long-term solution - but it's worth keeping in mind that Holliday was kind of a washout in his only A.L. stint with the A's last year, and that Bay is a right-handed pull hitter that might not be a good fit for Yankee Stadium - nor may he be able to cover enough ground to be an effective defensive left fielder in the (not quite so as in the past, but still fairly) cavernous confines of our home park. Based on their recent track record, I'm sure the Yanks are checking all this stuff out and am confident they will make the right move.
The Yankees, already the reigning World Champions, have had a great offseason and look really strong heading into 2010, which is the year I thought they could win it all based on last season's moves. I think Jeter and Posada each have at least one good year left in them, A-Rod should be back stronger than last year....I really think we could have an all-time great team next year. Just what all you Yankee haters wanted to hear I'm sure.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I guess when you consider his hobby and how Times Square has evolved in the past 20 years, then, perhaps Southern California is a better fit for him. But, Hideki, from one Yankees fan at least, thanks for all you've done for the team over the past 7 years - in exchange for that $70 million the Yankees gave you....
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Although there have been white fullbacks, Tom Rathman comes to mind, that have had some success catching passes out of the backfield, the last white back who enjoyed any sustained success carrying the ball, I believe was Craig James. James, who split time in college at SMU with the great Eric Dickerson, rushed for more than 1,200 yards for the 1985 Pats. I don't know if he got injured the year after or what, but he never came close to duplicating that success and was out of the league a couple years later. He did go on to a very successful career as a sportscaster.
Anyhow, James' 1,000 yard season was almost 25 years ago. Should we start calling Gerhart the Great White Hope? After all, my 10-year-old son keeps asking me if there is any chance he can make it to the NFL. He was the build and skill set of a back, but I told him that based on history he better hope he grows to at least 6'-3" and hope his arm continues to develop if he wants to have even a very slight chance. If Gerhart succeeds in the NFL, well, maybe he can expand that scope of hope a little bit...
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
"I like the Saints Monday night in a runaway win. It may not happen right off the bat, but Drew Brees will eventually eat this New England secondary up. The Patriots can't hold these guys off for four quarters." - Called it pretty much perfectly.
But also had some interesting comments on Dennis Dixon to start the column. He was obviously much more impressed than I was, and I have always been a Dixon fan. Maybe I was expecting too much. But, if the Bus calls it a good performance that establishes Dixon as a solid back-up, I'm buying in.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I'll start out by asking, does anyone know where I can get some more bags, as I'm down to like two and my oak leaves are just starting to fall? I think we avoided the shortage that last few years because of shorter raking seasons due to inclement weather. I remember years when the snow fell before my maples were even all down, not to mention the oaks. Well, this year the weather has been wonderful for raking and people have been taking advantage of it. I guess one option is raking the leaves into the street, which is actually illegal. The city seems to discourage this practice up front at least, but I have never heard of anyone being fined for it. Then, there is the burning route and my neighbor has a burn barrel....
But, I'd really just like to bag them. It's supposed to be another nice week. The problem, of course, is that I need to get more bags. Now, as I said in my previous post, I appreciate what the city is trying to do with the biodegradable bags and all, but they need to come up with a contingency plan for when the bags run out. Part of the problem is the very nature of the bags, which start to disintegrate within a year, so it is impossible to stock up on them. And they are fairly expensive, so you hate to buy too many and then find them biodegrading in your garage the next year. Because of the weather, predicting leaf volume is a very inexact science.
I jokingly (I think I was joking, sorry Joe) suggested we all take our leaves up to the mayor's front lawn. Maybe we could we could dress up like Indians or something.... but my wife insists it's not his fault. I am going to put a call (or e-mail) down to City Hall, however, and at least suggest they make some sort of public pronouncement and give people an idea of what they'd like them to do with their leaves; or at least give us some assurance that more bags will be in before next weekend. As I said before, I assume they have some sort of contract or contact with what is apparently the only company that manufactures the bags we're supposed to use.
Anyhow, in the greater scheme of things, this is probably a very small problem, but one that should be addressed at least, as, according to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, addressing small problems is a great way to start solving your larger problems. Gladwell specifically detailed how New York City started its turnaround by addressing graffiti in the subways. Letting people know you care about the little things seems to go a long way towards getting them to cooperate and help you fix the big things.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Just to address Mayor's Sinnott's easy win over Republican Jack Anderson: In my memory, a Republican has never seriously challenged for the Erie mayor's office and Anderson had already lost like 4 times before, so he has proven pretty well that he doesn't have much support. Plus, Sinnott is a fairly conservative Democrat, especially when it comes to spending, and I think people in Erie like that. Congrats Joe!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
To his credit, Grossman seemed less surprised than anybody over this narrow margin. He pretty much attributed it to people voting across party lines. And, from a quick Google, it appears that the 2005 County Executive race was decided by even a smaller margin.
However, you would think outspending your opponent 33-to-one (and I don't know if Barry used all his campaign money) would buy you some breathing room, but I think the whole Obama backlash thing really came back to hurt Grossman. Kerner cited voters' lack of support for County funding of a proposed community college (something which Barry is in favor of and Kerner is against) as a big factor in helping him get votes. He was probably right on this.
Also, I think people in general are sick of government spending following last year's multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages, that really don't seem to have helped the Erie County economy at all. I thought Kerner actually came off as a bit of teabagger/kook during the debate I watched, but apparently, more people are embracing that type of old-thyme Republican thinking. Heck, one guy got elected to County Council who reportedly owes $2 million in back taxes because he refuses to pay the government. He also wants to sell of the County library system.
Yeah, the political landscape is changing again. The Democrats were given their chance to turn things around with liberal policies and apparently the public has decided they've failed. Now, I think we really better start paying attention to the Libertarian crowd, because they seem to be gaining some steam.
I'm not saying this is good or bad, and I do support some of the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Libertarians bring to the table. I'm really just saying that we can all learn a lesson from Barry and be careful not to dismiss these teabaggers as kooks. Their views seem to hold some sway with the populace, especially in small town America.
From a personal standpoint, I promise not to make the same mistakes I made with G.W. Bush and Phil English, as dismiss them as unelectable.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Yes, I realize Flutie was a CFL all-star when we signed him and Vick is still recovering from his stint in the joint and hasn't been an all-star in any league for a few years, but still both guys have/had legs that can help make up for some deficiencies in the O-line. Because of that I think we should roll the dice with Vick. I mean, really, what have we got to lose? If you put anyone else back there, they are going to get killed.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Really though, I haven't talked to anyone who didn't like the movie and some people like it a whole lot. One of our friends thought it was the funniest movie ever made: funnier than Animal House and Caddyshack. Both my wife and I liked it, which means it scores with diverse audiences, as our movie tastes are fairly different. I guess the point I'm getting at, is can a low-brow comedy like this be nominated for best picture?
I think the Academy has been catching some heat in recent years, for ignoring "popular" pictures like this and wouldn't be surprised if they threw a curve ball this year just to change their image. I mean those Hollywood types are awfully image conscious you know. I don't know what the qualifications are for Best Picture, but I know I saw Slumdog Millionaire last year, and while it was good, in my opinion, The Hangover was better- whatever that means.
But, let's take Caddyshack, for example. I my opinion (once again), that was maybe the funniest movie ever. Granted, I caddied for a few years at Kahkwa, so my perspective is skewed, but everyone else seems to like it as well- and it has to be one of the all-time most quoted movies.
According to a Google search, Caddyshack came out in 1980. In 1980, here were the five pictures nominated for Best Picture: ORDINARY PEOPLE (which won I guess), Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, and Tess. Okay, Raging Bull may be a better movie than Caddyshack, but those other four... I'm sure they have their charms, but 30 years later, nobody is suggesting I watch them. Caddyshack, meanwhile, holds up.
I guess my point is that great comedies really don't get enough credit. It's always been my contention that a comedy is the toughest movie to make well. I base this on the fact that I've seen so many bad ones. Of course, it's certainly easier to make a niche comedy, like a formulaic romantic chick flick, because there are certain demographics that find comfort in that sort of thing. I remember this kid in college who I thought was perfectly normal and fairly intelligent until he told me he thought the "Earnest" series of movies was the greatest. I immediately thought less of him, but as I continued to hang out with him and get to know him, I realized this did not necessarily make him a dumb person, just someone with a different sort of comedic taste than I have.
The thing that makes Hangover great is that it seems to satisfy every comedic taste (well, maybe not the Christian right wingers, who I haven't heard weight in on it yet). I don't know how it will hold up in years to come, but it's fairly hot right now. And I certainly think it deserves consideration for best picture of 2010.
Friday, November 06, 2009
But Rick Riley's blog entry today really put things into perspective. Here are the last two paragraphs:
"Oh -- and the next Yankees fan who looks to the heavens and sighs happily, 'It's been nine long years!' gets tied to the front of the 4 train and run into a wall. Nine years? Nine years is a cigarette break to most teams in MLB. Chicago Cubs fans are at 101 years and counting. Cleveland Indians' fans: 62. New York/San Francisco Giants: 55. Pittsburgh Pirates: 30. Gee, nine whole years? The Boston Red Sox waited 86 years for theirs. The Chicago White Sox -- 88! There are people in swine flu lines longer than nine years.
Hope your parade takes a wrong turn off a pier."
Thursday, November 05, 2009
It was kind of fun watching Jeter, Posada, and Petite celebrate, because these are guys who had so much success winning the World Series early in their careers, they might not have appreciated fully how hard that is to do, until they went eight years without one. I'm thinking this one has to be extra special for that reason. As for Rivera, he's just a cold-blooded assassin, and I'm not sure how much winning the World Series means to him. I mean he always pitches well enough to win the thing - it's his teammates who let him down. Also, it was good to see veterans like A-Rod and Matsui finally get their first titles - especially because they both contributed so much in the playoffs. Matsui was a monster (his nickname is Godzilla) last night, and it sure is going to be tough for the Yankees to let him walk now.
As I've said, the core of the team is past its prime and logic would tell you that we have to become younger, but Posada and Jeter aren't going anywhere, and with left fielders Bay and Holiday coming on the market this winter, it would make sense to get rid of Damon and/or Matsui. Ahh, the dilemmas of managing a $200 million payroll and 25 roster spots.
Oh well, at least for now, let them all celebrate a really special season!
Monday, November 02, 2009
As for the Yankees, they had yet another, well, it wasn't a comeback win, but it was pretty close. After having young reliever Joba Chamberlain give up the game-tying home run with two outs and two strikes on the Phillies' seventh-place hitter, the Yanks had every reason to pack it in, as the Philadelphia crowd was roaring and all the 'mo seemed against the New Yorkers (the Eagles had even beat the Giants across the street earlier in the day). Of course, the Phillies then brought in closer Brad Lidge to throw the top of the ninth, a match-up I have been waiting for. You see, Lidge had a terrible regular season, with an E.R.A. of over seven and blowing more than 10 saves. Last year, he was unhittable through the Series, so I guess the Phils felt they owed him some loyalty, and he'd been pretty good with postseason so far this year, going three-for-three in saves, but from what I recall, at least two of these saves were shaky, meaning he got men on base before escaping. This is usually a bad sign for a struggling closer.
Well, Lidge came out last night and dominated pinch-hitter Matsui and then Jeter. Then Damon battled him and finally broke him for a single to left. Lidge got two strikes on Damon early and then the catcher looked like he dropped a potential foul-tip third strike. That was all the Yankees needed. Lidge beaned Teixiera, A-Rod followed with a tie-breaking double and Posada cleared the bases. Game over. (Rivera pitched a perfect ninth-also true to form.)
So, I guess my point is that everyone played true to form yesterday and with the brisk weather and the colorful falling leaves, it was a stereotypically great autumn day. And stereotypes, because of their familiarity, can sometimes be comforting.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Five of the Yankees starting nine have crossed that threshold, as well as two of our main pitchers. Jeter is 35, Posada is 37, Matsui is 35, Damon is 35, and A-Rod is 33. In addition, Pettitte is 37 and Rivera is 39 (ages according to baseball-reference.com). And not only are all these guys playing for the Yanks, they all had great years, many of them coming back from down seasons in 2008. I can't explain it (especially now that they are testing for steroids), but this has truly been almost a magical year for the Yankees.
Yes, we signed three of the top free agents on the market in Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixiera to complement these guys, but the fact that this over-the-hill gang all had these great comeback seasons at the same time is kind of amazing. I mean the Red Sox' Jason Veritek, who is the same age as Posada (and in many ways his rival), hit .200, can't throw anyone out and is considered washed up. Posada hit .285 with 22 homers and 25 doubles and played a respectable, if not great, catcher. Jeter hit .335 with decent power as an everyday shortstop, while his main rivals of days-gone-by, A-Rod and Nomar, are both incapable of even playing SS, even though A-Rod can still hit. And Rivera, well, I was watching him in the playoffs and become convinced he's not even human. How many closers have come and gone during his more than a decade of dominance? Closers aren't supposed to remain dominant for 10-plus years and his level of dominance, especially in the playoffs, is almost ridiculous.
I guess my point is that this is a special year for the Yankees, no matter how much money they make, because this team could easily have blown up and faltered because of its age, and age has to catch up with these guys sometime, maybe next year, doesn't it? So, as a Yankees fan, I'm enjoying it while I can, because when/if we have $100 million worth of salaries on the DL next year and are struggling to play .500 ball, these memories are going to be sweet.
The Great Defender,
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
As for the Yankees, last night's game was a real stress-test and the Yankees, as has been their wont over history, outlasted the Angels. There has been a lot of talk about how good the young Yankees bullpen was during the regular season, but I really didn't expect it to hold up in postseason- and for the most part it hasn't. It was interesting that Girardi went with the more-tested Joba Chamberlain to get some key seventh inning outs last night and then bypassed Phil Hughes entirely. When it came down to it, it was Pettite and Rivera who did the pitching last night and Damon and A-Rod who were the big hitters. Jeter had a really bad game, but not quite as bad as the Angels, who completely fell apart in the eighth inning trying to make plays on bunts.
Phils-Yanks should be fun.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
As for the Bills, 2-14 looks like a pipe dream right now. Do you realize the Browns quarterback went 2-for-17, and his team still won? You know people complain that the lack of a salary cap makes MLB unfair, well, the NFL salary cap certainly hasn't helped the Bills, who are rapidly turning into the Pirates of the NFL....
Friday, October 09, 2009
Cole Hammels pitched poorly for the Phils yesterday and then left to see his wife have their baby, as she was apparently in labor. Was he distracted by this? Perhaps, but the fact that the game announcers made such a big deal about excusing him if he was seemed a bit outrageous. Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe actually said there was no comparison between your wife's having a baby and pitching in a major league playoff game...Really? My wife and I have had three babies and while they were all amazing experiences, I don't know that I wouldn't have been willing to miss one of the births in order to pitch in a major league playoff game. I think that might be quite an amazing experience as well. (Sutcliffe has actually pitched in the playoffs and I'd like to question him further onthis over a beer.) And, it's not like you're not going to see the kid a million, kajillion times for the rest of his or her life. Yeah, the birth is great, but so are first steps, first words, every birthday party, every kiss, every dance recital, every little league game, even helping them with their homework.
The radio talk show guys suggested that Hammels should have maybe just done the '50s thing - sucked it up and handed out cigars after the game. I don't know, I thought that was an interesting perspective....
Libertarians suggest Nobel announcements should be moved to April Fool's Day
WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party today suggested that, in the future, the announcement date every year for Nobel Prizes be moved to April 1.
"Unlike the gullible people who listened to The War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938 and thought Martians really were attacking the United States, when I heard this morning that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, I changed the channel in disbelief. But, the same thing was being said in multiple places," Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath said.
"The gravity of the Nobel awards has not been augmented by some of their recent selections, including today's announcement, last year's award of the Economics prize to Paul Krugman, or the 2007 Peace Prize to Al Gore, whose global warming theories he will not defend in open debate. Maybe an early Springtime announcement date would be more appropriate."
Redpath continued, "I didn't know that it was the role of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to be handicapping the future performance of individuals and organizations. Nonetheless, we congratulate President Obama on his award and hope that three-and-a-quarter or seven-and-a-quarter years from now the Nobel Peace Prize Committee will be seen as prescient.
"President Obama will best fulfill the promise of peace that the Nobel Committee apparently sees in him by not trying to cure all the ills of the world, but by working to make the United States an example for the other nations of the world through implementation of a Libertarian foreign policy--military non-interventionism combined with free trade policies in fact, and not just in rhetoric. With those guiding principles, the world will be a freer, safer and more prosperous planet at the conclusion of the Obama Administration."
Anyhow, I know he has a lot of work to do, and he can't solve everything overnight, and I don't expect him to. However, someone apparently deemed it appropriate to give Obama this award. For what? Maybe I should read the selection details but on the surface, I just don't get it.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The Twins getting into the playoffs also gets a small market/lower payroll team into the postseason this year, something which was in danger of not happening for the first time in recent memory. At least now, I can point to the Twins when Indians and Pirates fans bemoan the state of the game and the dominance of the big payroll teams like the Yankees. Thanks Twins!.
Seriously, I almost feel bad cheering against the Twins tonight as they face the Yankees' $160 million hired gun C.C. Sabathia - stolen from the Indians (via the Brewers - both small market teams) of course. But, the Yankees are in my blood. I've been a fan since about 1973 - back when a catcher named Thurman Munson was my favorite player. I will say I balance it out with my Bills' fandom, something else which I can't drop, no matter how bad they get! So, here's my dilemma - I've to one team that's too good and another that's too bad. Together they make a nice balance - and it's probably best I keep away from hockey and basketball as not to upset the cart.
Anyhow, enjoy the playoff baseball if you can.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Trent Edwards continued his Mr. Hyde play this week, after two weeks of looking something like Jeckyl. Perhaps it's just a case of defenses figuring out him and our "Pop Warner" offense. Oh well, I guess they'll strap on the pads next week and go at it again. A loss (especially a bad one) at home to the Browns could bring full-scale mutiny by the fans. Perhaps T.O. will lead it. Yes, this is the franchise that fired current Colts GM Bill Polian after he turned the Bills around from a 1-15 team and took them to two Super Bowls. And our owner earned Hall of Fame enshrinement. I guess Jerry Jones, who drove Jimmie Johnson out of Dallas, will make the H.O.F. one day too.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Anyhow, in case you missed it, here's a quote from Sports Guy Bill Simmons' column last Friday: "Meanwhile, if you're thinking about taking Buffalo in an upset, check out this e-mail from Nick in Rochester: 'Being a Bills fan is like sending your girlfriend off to be a roommate on "Real World." Before the season starts you have this foolish hope that she won't let you down. However, in the depths of your being, you know that a few weeks from now, you will be sitting on your couch, watching your beloved fumble away her clothes, getting touchdown after touchdown scored on her.'
At least the Yankees clinched the division on Sunday...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Just wanted to say, I really like what they've done with the Great Lakes Film Festival this year. It's something I've wanted to check out for several years, but have either been out of town, or had family obligations - but now, they've set it up so it fits perfectly with my vision of IPTV. I don't know if I wrote about it yet, but a few months ago, I picked up a combination S-video/sound cable that I can plug into my PC on one end and flatscreen TV on the other. And my flatscreen is hooked into my stereo for better sound.
So, tonight, thanks to the film fest being moved to a streaming video format online, for $1 apiece I was able to watch a couple of solid indy flicks on my home theatre. Good stuff.. One problem though. The first movie I watched, The Twenty, only had about the first 20 minutes loaded and then it ended and reset to the beginning. It was supposed to be a 90-minute movie, so I was kind of left hanging. I sent the Festival an e-mail and hope they get it fixed, because it was pretty interesting and I wanted to see the end.
However, this abrupt conclusion (and if I don't see the end, I only lost a buck and 20 minutes of my life) did motivate me to find one more short flick to watch before turning in. My choice was a "narrative short" entitled, "The Big Fat Lazy Sun." Let me tell you, if you have 15 minutes, a dollar to spare, and a decent sound hook-up on your computer, check it out. Kind of reminded me of Pulp Fiction. Solid stuff.
There's at least one more, a documentary about blind baseball fans, that I want to check out tomorrow.
The on-line festival only runs until Sunday and there's like 30 or more flicks up there - all available to watch online for $1.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Speaking of which, I traveled to Pittsburgh to see the Buccos play Monday night, as I had some free tickets I had to use up, and was treated to a four-hour marathon of what the Pirates post-game analyst called "the worst game of the season." Now, I somewhat took exception to that, as the Pirates did rally from a four-run deficit in the final two innings, only to give up five in the top of the 11th and lose. I'll admit that there were some baserunning and fielding gaffes by both teams - the Pirates were playing the Padres - but I guess after watching little league ball all season, I thought the Pirates were quite impressive...
And yes, it was a beautiful night at PNC Park. We sat behind home plate and were looking out over the wall at the river and the city skyline. And, I got a Primanti's sandwich and a Penn Pilsner, so it wasn't all bad...
Also, if you're wondering what Jerome Bettis is up to, check out this wonderful column of his on the NFL. Go Bus!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Anyhow, last night the Yanks pull off another stirring comeback win. For some reason, I have just started being able to get WCBS - AM 880 on my radio (I know, an archaic way to catch a game, but baseball is kind of archaic anyhow) and tuned back in in the bottom of the eighth just in time to hear John Sterling's great call - "There's a drive to deep right center, it is high, it is long, it is gone...an thrilla' for Godzilla!" as Mastsui hits a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth. The 39-year old Rivera comes on and does his job in the top of the ninth and then Brett Gardner, this kid the Yanks have been using part-time in center field the last two years, singles, steals second, goes to third on a grounder by Jeter and scores on a single by our rookie catcher. Great win.
Even better, the Red Sox pulled off a topsy turvy back-and-forth win over the Angels. For some reason it looks like were headed for another Yankees-Red Sox showdown in the ACLS. I know that will make a lot of people sick, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
So, let's rank this one in the pantheon of heartbreaking Bills losses:
1. Loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl - that kind of set the tone for all the misery that has followed.
2. The Music City Miracle - That was the last time the Bills were in the playoffs
3. That Cowboys loss on Monday night two years ago - I was at the Mannechor watching the Yankees get eliminated by the Indians in the playoffs on the other screen.
4. Tonight's fiasco.
5. The Browns loss at home last year - especially significant to me because of where I live.
Alright, the fifth one might not be included as one of the toughest losses of all-time for any team, but the other four certainly are. In each instance, twice on Monday Night and twice in the playoffs, the Bills managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in front of a national audience. What have we done to deserve this? (and this gets me back to my question about why am I a fan - I like that explanation about the rituals of fall). I feel like we are cursed by some sort of Greek god, like perhaps we harmed or insulted one of Zeus' children at some point and he has damned our team to public failure. Right now, I feel like Raskolnikov in the beginning of Crime and Punishment when he is wondering around St. Petersburg in a half-coherent, feverish state. I keep telling myself I don't care about this stuff, but then the season starts, and I realize my hopes get irrationally up for some glory for the Blue and Red. Then, they even tease me by taking the hated Patriots to the brink, only to blow it and practically hand the Patriots the game on a sliver platter. Woe is me! Woe is the city of Buffalo, Western New York, and all the sorry-ass Pollack Bills fans all over the world. Say it ain't so Joe Ferguson, Cribbs, or whoever you are....
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One of the rumored guys that they were going to pick up, but haven't yet (maybe he'll clear waivers) is Bronson Arroyo of the Reds. I have a friend who is a Bosox fan and rues the day they traded his favorite player to the Reds for the forgettable Wily Mo Pena. I never really understood his attraction to Arroyo who is a bit of a flake, but a decent-to-good pitcher nonetheless. However, today I read this great interview with the guy. He really tells it like is regarding performance enhancers. Go Bronson. You've earned a fan of this former sportwriter who knows how hard it is to get athletes to say interesting shit.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I can't stress how nice it is to have a great view when you are working out of your hotel room. Above is pretty much the view (it's a picture I copied from someone else's Web site) I have today at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. If you want to see what it looks like at night (and higher res), try this link and go to the last of the "exterior" shots. Anyhow, it's awesome to be able to look up and see that shit every couple minutes.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
I'm hugely in favor of this type of micro-management of younger pitchers, but agree with Nolan Ryan's theory as well, that pitch counts need to be increased and/or even eliminated as pitchers mature. Of course, the Yankees, because of their vast resources, can afford to be careful, as they can always afford to bring in more decent players to cover for pitchers that need to be pulled because of pitch counts.
I've been cringing when I hear that the Washington Nationals want to bring up their recent top draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, to the majors this year if possible, pretty much to try and drum up some more fan interest in the team. Wasn't this what the Texas Rangers did with David Clyde all those years ago? I was just a kid back then, but I remember one of my buddies being all excited when the Indians traded for Clyde. Unfortunately, he was pretty much washed up by then and out of the majors by the age of 25.
Anyhow, I applaud the Yankees micro-management of their pitchers and hope it leads to long and productive careers for the likes of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
It's worth noting here that the Bills GM, Russ Brandon, has a marketing and P.R. background. And last year, despite a pretty lousy team that didn't even have T.O. )and slapped the fans in the face by playing a game in Toronto), the Bills sold their second most season tickets ever! Now, everywhere I go it's T.O., what do you think of T.O. - even though we completely overhauled our offensive line (which was somewhat offensive last year) and not in a good way, all everyone wants to talk about is T.O. So, from a football standpoint, the team may still suck, but if they're selling tickets, more power to them I guess, because that's really the name of the game. It's "professional" football after all, as a GM of an entity that is designed to make money, Brandon seems to be doing a great job.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Finally getting back up to speed after what seems to be my annual spring bout with colitis.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Anyhow, don't be surprised to see 'Melo duplicate his college feat and lead the Nuggets to a surprise NBA championship. I know Lebron is great and all, and Mo Williams has been a great pick-up for the Cavs, but the Chauncey Billups trade (for Alan Iverson) has been even bigger for the Nuggets. Check out this great story on Chauncy if you get a chance. It will give you some idea of what the Lakers and Cavs could be up against.
Monday, May 04, 2009
And that's indicative of the shortcomings of this article (although I will say again, it is better than anything else I've seen come out of ER, so far.) It's written by the guy planning to build the plant, so it's very one-sided. That said, the stuff coming out of the Green Party people at K.E.E.P. has been fairly one-sided as well. So, I guess this is the ETN's version of fair and balanced reporting.
Anyhow, typical of the way ERE handles things, they've contracted some guy to do an air pollution study - obviously, there were paying him - and what do you know? He found no problems and minimal impact on the environment. Well, no duh. Granted, he may very well be a valid source, but when presented as such, by the owner of the company that wants to build the plant - well, it just doesn't appear to hold water.
The bottom line is that I would like more information on this whole thing, before it is decided if it's built or not. Honestly, everything coming out of the people against it seems like radical hippie, off the cuff, blathering, while that stuff in favor is all coming from the company that wants to build the plant. Can we get a truly independent researcher in here?
Thursday, April 30, 2009
1) The Yankees starting pitching is starting to come around to where it needs to be: Last night Joba Chamberlain threw 7 strong innings, and the night before Phil Hughes threw six two-hit innings. These are two of the young guns that were supposed to carry the Yanks last year, but weren't quite ready. When you add their potential contributions to the already demonstrated capabilities of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett (who were both signed in the offseason), and returning aces Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte, you start to come up with a staff that can approach Boston's and Tampa Bay's. The last time the Yankees won the World Series was 2000, and their starting staff included Pettitte, Clemens, El Duque, and David Cone. Strong starters are key to winning in the playoffs, and since 2002, the last time the Yanks made it to the Series, they just haven't had dominant starting pitching. I'm not saying we're there yet, but in another year....
2) Speaking of another year, Joe Girardi is still developing as a manager: Last night he panicked and brought in Mariano Rivera with a five-run lead in the ninth and two runners on base. Granted, the previous guy was getting shellacked, but Rick Sutcliffe, a former ace pitcher, who was commentating on the TV, said, to him, it didn't look like Rivera was ready. Curtis Granderson promptly took him deep to make the score 8-6, before Rivera got a pop up to end the game. The Yankees started the inning with an 8-2 lead, and there is no way, in my opinion, that Rivera should have even warmed up. He's old and needs his rest. Despite having been named Manager of the Year in his one season at Florida before being hired by the Yankees, Girardi has never led a team to the playoffs and stills needs to learn a little bit of patience. That said, I think he's doing a good job and will turn the Yankees around if given enough time - meaning next year is their year.
3) A-Rod continues to be a sideshow/circus, but we miss his bat: Selena Roberts' book about him apparently says he's been juicing since high school and continued to juice after joining the Yankees. This would explain the serious hip injury he suffered after MLB starting testing for that stuff. That said, if he can come back and be effective, it sure will help Mark Teixeira, the Yanks $20 million per year first baseman, who is hitting like .197. All I've seen him do is walk. Apparently, pitchers would rather face Matsui, or Posada, or even Nick Swisher (who is actually red hot), who have all been batting behind Teixeria in the clean-up spot unti A-Rod gets back.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
He also has a tremendously high, stylish leg kick that he says he copied from the Yankees great Cuban refugee Orlando, "El Duque" Hernandez. This style, his seemingly gregarious personality and reported friendship with the tennis-playing Williams sisters made him a minor celebrity. When he won 22 games in this third season, Willis was seemingly on top of the world. Of course, peaks can be steep, and Willis was apparently precariously balanced on his.
Personally, I always questioned the fact that he based his pitching motion on something that "looked cool" rather than going with a more utilitarian approach. So, it didn't completely surprise me that Willis' performance started to decline over the next two years with Florida. In 2007, his ERA with Florida was over 5.00, although he did lead the league in starts with 35.
The Tigers thought enough of Willis to trade for him prior to the 2008 season and sign him to a $29 million contract extension over three years. Then things got really bad. In eight games last year, Willis' ERA was 9.38. That means he was giving up more than a run per inning. This was contributed to by Willis' walking 35 batters in 24 innings. To give you an idea of how bad that is, in his big year in 2005, Willis walked only 55 batters in 236 innings.
Willis spent the second half of the last year trying to fix things and in March, the Tigers diagnosed him with some sort of anxiety disorder and have been trying to get him back up to speed. Part of Willis' rehabilitation program involves starting some minor league games, and Sunday was his chance to throw in Erie, vs the Harrisburg Senators. Mind you, the Senators (a farm club of the lowly Nationals, I believe) had lost eight in a row coming in, so Willis wasn't exactly facing the 2004 Red Sox.
I took my son to the game, as he was all stoked to see this ex-MLBer, and while we were standing in line for tickets, he noted that the $10 box seat ticket prices listed on the board seemed expensive. The guy in front of us turned around and said you'd pay 30-40 bucks for major league box seats--at least that 's what he paid to see Willis pitch for the Marlins.
We got two reserved tickets, second-deck, first-base side, for six bucks. (I had a coupon, which are very easy to come by.) For that price, I really felt like I was stealing. Of course, the $10 I spent for a beer, hot dog, and pop lunch added a little to our tab, but still... and we were sitting closer to Willis than you could ever get in a major league park without dropping at least $100.
Willis is a lefty, so our seats gave us prime viewing of his motion. He still has his high leg kick, but he really wasn't throwing that hard. I don't think he topped 90 on the stadium radar. After the game, the Seawolves' manager said he wasn't getting much bite on his breaking ball pitches either.
The results were kind of mixed. Yes, he had a perfect game through four innings, but there were several hard hit balls, including at least three line drives that just happened to be hit right at outfielders and one bouncer back through the middle (to open the game) that Willis made a great play on. Finally, the guy leading off the fifth put a line drive over the fence, and then I think a couple more doubles fell in from there. Willis' last two innings were not that impressive and he left to a mild ovation by the Erie fans, as he made his way back to the club house.
According to Ron Leonardi's story in the ETN, he didn't stick around for post game interviews, so we don't know how Willis felt about his outing. The current news is that he will make his next start Friday at Triple A Toledo (a step up from Erie). It's my estimation that if he doesn't pitch better than he did in Erie, he's not going to be successful again in the major leagues. However, he always was a fairly good hitter, so maybe he can pull a Rick Ankiel and make it back to the majors as an outfielder.
Last night my son said, I don't know what to get. I asked him, "what do you want? chances are they have it." We ended up getting a blue raspberry freeze-floats - like a Mr. Misty with ice cream. You can't imagine how good this was after a two and a half hour little league game in 80 degree weather, with the sun shining in our dugout the whole time and the water spigots not yet turned on.
We ate our treats on a bench facing the Erie Cemetery and watched the steady flow of customers streaming in. You had everything from conservative just-past-middle-aged empty nesters out for a cone to fat chicks with belly piercings toting their brood, and about everything in between.
Everybody loves the Whippy Dip.
Monday, April 27, 2009
The Bosox absolutely embarrassed the Yanks over the weekend. On Friday, ex-Pirate Jason Bay homered with two outs off Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera to send the game into extra innings, where the Sox won with a Youkalis blast. On Saturday, the Red Sox came back from an 0-6 deficit to win like 16-11 or something, and last night you had this home stealing thing.
It's a long season, and maybe the Yanks can get it turned around, but things aren't looking too bright in the Bronx right now. Not to mention, the problems the Yanks are having with the new ballpark, because of seats priced too high for the current market and an inordinate number of cheap home runs. I guess there's some kind of irony there.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The Ripken piece is written by Richard Ben Cramer, who once won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Cramer does a great job blowing up a lot of the myths surrounding Ripken. It almost seems like he going to tear the guy down, but then he builds him back up in a more authentic light, and the story ends with an amazing scene that really made me respect and admire baseball's "Iron Man." If you get a chance, it's worth the read.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My grandfather, who was old enough to have seen Babe Ruth play at the old League Park in Cleveland, I remember being a huge Fidrych fan. He was impressed with the way he'd sprint on and off the field to and from the dugout and, of course, talk to the ball. My grandfather who was a dentist and apparently a pretty fair ballplayer in this time, also loved that Fidrych said that if he wasn't pitching he'd probably be back in his hometown pumping gas.
Anyhow, for some reason I have always been a Yankee fan and kind of resented Fidrych and the success he always had vs. the Yanks, something, which in retrospect (like Fidrych's throwing 20-plus complete games) I also realize was stupid. Oh well, here's to ya' bird. Let's hope at least one major leaguer over the next couple days, gets down on his hands and knees to smooth at the dirt around the mound!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Raised by Puritanical parents, he totally rebelled against all that after his Dad (who he was apparently very close to) died when he was 11. At one point, the papers billed Crowley as "The Most Wicked Man Alive" or something akin to that. Apparently he was fairly wealthy, very hedonistic, charismatic, and perhaps even a genius. All these qualities led him to some big trouble.
In one documentary, he was credited as being a forerunner of the hippie movement. Of course, he really did practice several forms of black magic - to what end, I'm not certain. But, he was also a fairly prolific writer, so I guess I could figure it out if I really wanted to.
Anyhow, if you want to see something spooky, check this thing out. It's The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (Translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1900), which is the ancient text that Crowley used to reportedly summon evil spirits into the mansion that Page later bought. Legend has it that this book proscribes some sort of six-month ritual that Crowley abandoned half-way through, resulting in the house being haunted by these evil spirits, who were supposed to be made to cow-tow to his guardian angel - if Crowley had reached that part of the ritual. Let me know if you have the guts to read something like this, because it started to freak me out.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Schilling has also been compared to former Tigers great Jack Morris as well as Orel Hershiser, both of whom also had some legendary postseason success. Morris actually has almost 40 more wins than Schilling, and I'm not really sure why he isn't in the Hall of Fame, except for the fact that he was notably cantankerous and has a fairly high lifetime ERA of 3.90. However, Morris did pitch the majority of his career in the hitter friendly old Tiger Stadium. Hershiser only has 204 career wins, and although he had a phenomenal postseason in 1988 and a very good one for the Indians in 1995, you could argue that he cost the Indians the 1997 title with his terrible performance against the Marlins. But, I wouldn't object to him making the HOF - and he has had a nice poker career following his retirement from baseball. This has contributed to making him a fairly famous guy....
And this brings us around to my argument about who the Hall of Fame is for. I contend it's for the most famous ballplayers of their eras. Schilling, with the "Bloody Sock Game" alone, certainly qualifies based on that criteria. I mean it's not called the Hall of Great Players, although being a great players certainly can contribute to one's fame.
I think the growing army of stat-heads out there gets too caught up in the numbers and forgets what the Hall of Fame is all about. It's not a shrine aimed solely at the elite and knowledgeable fans of the game. I think it's supposed to be accessible to everyone - including the casual fan. And I really think that casual fan has more appreciation for what Curt Schilling has done than what Burt Blyleven did, for example.
If you follow these things, you know that Blyleven is the current darling of the numbers crowd. I'm not saying that Blyleven wasn't a great pitcher, but he's really not that famous. I even remember Pirates fans dissing him as "Cryleven" because of the way he acted back in the day. He is never recounted as a major factor in the Pirates winning the 1979 World Series and most people probably don't even know he was on that team. Schilling, on the other hand, everyone knows he was part of the Phillies in '94, the Diamondbacks that beat the Yankees, and of course, the Red Sox in 2004. He's famous and thus belongs in the Hall of Fame.
That's about all there is to it.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Oh yes, and I have been listening to baseball the last couple of nights - the World Baseball Classic - this tournament in which players, including a lot of major leaguers, play for their home countries. The U.S. got knocked out by Japan on Sunday and then last night South Korea and Japan played a wonderful championship game. Aside from the Korean pitcher's name being pronounced "Bong," which was very amusing in a Beavis and Butthead sort of way (what if someone gets a "hit" one of my friends suggested), it really was good baseball.
To defend the disgraced Americans a bit - both Korea and Japan have apparently been practicing for this thing since January, while the Americans had just started spring training in the middle of Feb, and next thing you knew the torney was underway. Our pitchers were in no way ready to throw at full-speed and our position players suffered all sorts of injuries - pulled muscles and the like. Anyhow, at least the Far Easterners showed up to play and put on a very entertaining show.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Well, the D.A.'s lead detective on arson cases, identified in the story as "Detective Gray," when talking about his overwhelming workload, is quoted as saying, he had to put some cases, "on the back burner." Talk about a misplaced metaphor.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
During his first his first retirement Plante worked as a sales rep for Molson. Here's tippin' one to ya' Jacques.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I was considering getting a VGA cable to hook my computer to my TV to watch MLB.TV. I guess can try that and see what kind of picture/sound I get. I'm really wishing I had some sort of TiVo way to record high-def programming at this point. Now that I think of it, I think I can get a high-def i-tunes download. I'll have to check it out.
Anyhow, if you have an hour to kill, check out this week's episode and let me know what you think. (Warning: Ignore Jason O'Mara's in-and-out brogue.)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Also, while we're on the topic of college basketball, congratulations to Gannon and their excellent coach John Riley, for a strong season. They host Kutztown tonight for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight of Division II. Gannon has already beaten Kutztown twice, and the home crowd will definitely be loud- but of course nothing is a given.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Okay, as a qualifier, I haven't read any other analysis of this trade yet, so here's my take as a long-time, and recently suffering, Bills fan.
1. T.O. brings us some offense. The last couple years, the Bills have bemoaned the fact that they have to little offense to win ballgames. While this is true, some of the blame can also be layed on a defense that can't stop the run, which keeps the offense off the field. But, regardless, we need to score more points and T.O. has scored 58 touchdowns in his last 68 games. That's like .85 touchdowns a game, which is a pretty good number. On the flip side, he did score those TDs as part of two pretty good offenses, the Eagles and Cowboys, which both certainly have more firepower than the Bills have. Also, he's getting older and only scored 10 TDs last year - however, the decrepit Brad Johnson was his QB for three games or so, but nonetheless, at 35, although he apparently keeps himself in great shape, age may be starting to catch up with T.O. as well. Bottom line: he does bring us more offense.
2. He's a great short to medium range receiver: That's always been my opinion of him at least. I remember a few years back when they paired him with Bledsoe, I knew it was a disaster waiting to happen, because Bledsoe throws a great rainbow deep ball, but Owens is great a catching short passes and breaking tackles. I'm not saying he can't get deep, but he sets it up with his short game. Now, the Bills have a great long-ball threat in Evans, and need someone to tear it up underneath to open it up deep, and Owens should be that guy. Then again, I thought that was the Cowboys theory when they picked up Roy Williams from the Lions last year, and it didn't seem to work out for them. That said, our QB, Trent Edwards, has an arm and game a lot more similar to Romo, McNabb, and Garcia - three QBs that Owens clicked with (despite what he might say) - rather then Bledsoe. Bottom line: Owens should fit into our offense.
3. Owens is a marquee name: I'm not saying he's going to help sell more tickets by himself, but if he does help us win, people will buy tickets. Also, he gives the TV people a reason to put us on the tube. Finally, and this is my hope, his signing may help attract other free agents to Buffalo, because we certainly need some linemen. Bottom line: he'll help put the Bills back on the map.
Another great thing about this is that it's a one year deal, for not a ton of money, so if it doesn't work, oh well, we took a shot.
Now, there's a lot of negatives and I really don't want to get into all those, as I'm sure other people already have. One thing a I will say is that at least he is going to force Coach Dick Jauron to earn his money.