Tuesday, October 24, 2006

World Series Notions

Don't these guys ever watch films of themselves, don't they realize how silly they look? What's with Ronnie Belliard's tongue? Does he ever look around and realize that most other people keep their tongues in their mouths almost all the time? What's his problem, does his mouth taste bad?

What's with Chris Duncan? Does he know he looks like a big dumb ruminant? He looks like he ought to be hanging upsidedown by his claws in a banana tree, trying not to get eaten by a jaguar.

And why do Jeff Weaver and Kenny Rogers sneer while taking the signs from the catcher? Is that necessary? Can they not concentrate if they don't screw their faces up like that?

Ah, Kenny Rogers. I've always hated that guy, even when he was with Oakland. As he demonstrated last year he's a classic punk. And he's one of the biggest choke artists of the last 20 years, Mr. Disappear-in-September. He's had 10 or more victories at the all-star break a number of times (including this year, with 11) yet never won more than 18 games in a season (including this year, with 17). His career about blew up when he went to the Yankees; too much pressure. He's really the perfect Texas Ranger, a guy who will have some flashy numbers early in the season then fade late.

And then somehow he has this post season, 23 consecutive scoreless innings, at least 7 innings each against New York, Oakland, and Saint Louis, only four innings shy of the record for "most consecutive scoreless innings in a single postseason." That's a mouthful, isn't it? If he ends up breaking the record, set by Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants in the 1905 World Series, it will have taken him three series and almost three weeks to do it. Mathewson set it in a single series, in six days, with three complete game shutouts. How can the two of them even be compared?

That said, I can't get really excited about the pine tar, or whatever it is. I can't believe how much wind it's generated and I just don't see it as a big deal. Yeah, it's odd that a career choke artist like Rogers would suddenly put together a post-season like this, and doctored balls would go a long way toward explaining that, but he also pitched 7 ShO innings after cleaning his hands the other night. I think LaRussa handled it about right. Have him clean his hand, maybe get him to blow up, and if he was loading 'em up maybe he wouldn't be so effective after cleaning up, so don't try to get him booted. Didn't quite play out that way, but it was reasonable to believe it might.

Oh yeah, one more thing...

After Zumaya blew the throw to third, allowing two unearned runs to score, what does McCarver say?

"That was a bad play by Zumaya." Ya think?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Neener Neener

I ran across this in a blog entry by somebody named Tammy Bruce:“
It certainly seems that women with an opinion (particularly myself, Peggy Noonan and The Anchoress) slightly irk the amusing and very opinionated Vanity Fair contributor. I thought today's so-called liberals loved and embraced the idea of dissent. Silly me.”
Perhaps I’m being naïve in doing so, but I’ll assume that Ms. Bruce is being sincere and not disingenuous in writing that penultimate sentence. If so, this is among the latest, though by no means the only or most egregious, example of particularly weak and tiresome wingnut gimmick.

This, apparently, is how things work in Bruce’s mind:
Liberals claim to approve of and value dissent.
I wrote something liberals disagree with.
Liberals actually came out and said they disagree with me.
Therefore liberals are hypocrites who don’t really approve of dissent.

How, in the minds of such simpletons, did approval of the right to dissent become equated with the requirement to agree with, or at the least remain mute on any disagreement with, the content of the dissent? Where, in James Wolcott’s piece referred to by Ms. Bruce, or in any of the other situations where this “argument” is trotted out, does anybody say “I disagree with you so you have no right to express an opinion?” I’m sure it’s quite frequent that people referring to Bruce and her ilk question, as I do, why anybody would pay attention to someone so vacuous, but suggesting somebody is not worthy of reading or that her opinion is not worthy of serious consideration is not the same as suggesting she has no right to express her opinion.

How is it that this simple sentiment, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it,” is too complex for them to grasp. And, as it apparently is, why is attention even paid to people such as Bruce.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Baseball Entry

Despite the fact that I've never heard of most of the pitchers, I've got no complaint with the Cards-Mets series. It's one of those series where I like players on both teams and wouldn't be unhappy regardless of who won. There's one thing I have to get off my chest about last night's game, though, and it's more about the Fox nitwits than the players.

With Reyes on first the batter hits the ball straight up the middle. I mean straight, directly at second base. Eckstein sees where the ball is going and positions himself on second. When the ball gets to him he's got at least a force of the swift lead runner and possibly a chance at a double play. Then Belliard cuts in front of him to catch the ball, his momentum takes him well past second, he has no chance for the lead runner, to say nothing of a double play, and has to make a long awkward throw just to get the runner at first. He made a needlessly spectacular, even stupid play to get one out, of the back runner, and the Fox boys can't praise him enough. Finally, after a half dozen replays, the lesser idiot, Buck (lesser only because McCarver's is the Everest of idiocy), notes that Eckstein was in position to make the play, though Belliard couldn't see him. That's all they had to say about Eckstein on that play.

It all turned out to be inconsequential, as Reyes never scored, but jeez, what a couple of maroons.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tower Tumbles

When I was a teenager and in my early twenties in the South Bay, there was a Record Factory and a Wherehouse Records on Bascom Avenue and a Rainbow Records on Stevens Creek Boulevard. The only place to go to buy your records and tapes, though, was at the Tower Records on Bascom, across from the Pruneyard in Campbell. The place was big, the selection was bigger, and the prices were usually the lowest in town. I spent countless hours flipping through LPs there (the soft "flumpf" sound as you flip through a stack of LPs in their jackets is so much more peaceful than the clicking of CDs in their cases) and almost never left empty handed. I recall running into one of my co-workers, Jim, who I barely knew, striking up a conversation, and kindling a friendship that continues to this day, a friendship still largely based on the love of music.

I first went to the Tower in San Francisco, at Columbus and Bay, on an outing with my family in 1972 (I bought the cassette of Sgt. Pepper). It became a ritual for my family that we'd stop there on our visits to the city, a ritual that I revived and have continued through this year with my own daughter. We stumbled into the Santa Monica store a couple of years ago while she was searching for Elijah Wood. Her search was severely sidetracked as she was unable to pull me out of the store for a couple hours. I've been impressed that a chain that big could maintain that level of gritty funkiness at its individual stores. I don't know if that was a bug or a feature. Is that what comes from employing the kind of people who want to work in record stores? Even the town of Sonoma gets into the story, having opened the only record store in town (and the only one between Napa and Santa Rosa) about ten years ago. It was there that I finally picked up the CD version of "Giants of the Blues Tenor Sax," the double LP I'd purchased in Campbell in the late 70s and worn the grooves off of.

So now the place, the whole chain, is closing its doors. It's a shame, but I suspect it was inevitable. For all the time I still spend in record stores (Amoeba and Rasputin records are still standing) flipping through the new CDs and used LPs, I spend more money on music online. I still buy the physical product; I like to have something to hold in my hand and read while the music is playing, while my daughter downloads most of the music she buys. I hope we'll always have record stores, though I suspect as time goes by they'll become more of a novelty and counterculture thing. And I'm going to miss Tower. As much for what it came to represent to me as what it was.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Don't Do This to us Again, Guys

So, the As are now up 2-0 in the series and heading home. Typically in this century, this point, when they need to win just one game to wrap up a series, is when things start to go to hell. Man do I hope this year they try something new.

Update: Mark Ellis, the As' starting second baseman, broke his right index finger swinging at a Joe Nathan pitch in the ninth inning today. His status will be updated tomorrow, but this can't be good. Ellis had the highest fielding percentage for a second baseman in baseball history this season and batted .273 after the all-star break and his post-all-star game HRs and RBI were nearly triple what he had before the break. And although the As have a number of statistically interchangeable outfielders, they don't have anybody on the roster to replace Ellis, Scutaro, or Chavez if they go out. Plus, there's nobody else on the roster from South Dakota.

Update the second: The powers that be decided that for the first two days of the play-offs only Yankees-Tigers were ready for prime time. What a shame for them, then, if tonight's game is rained out and they have no game to televise. If only it could have been last night, when Fox and McCarver had the telecast.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dead Air on the Radio


The asshats (Armstrong & Getty) were in rare form this morning. In a stunning display of virtuosity, in a brief five minutes they gave three examples of just how breathtakingly simpleminded they are. In a rant against multiculturalism and moral relativism, one of them somehow equated attempts to understand what could possibly motivate somebody to take over a school and kill little girls with excusing such behavior. Apparently, a disapproving and completely mystified “what the hell could he have been thinking…” is a question that just doesn’t occur to these guys. And these are the types of guys who do back flips trying to justify and excuse the rape of an adolescent girl and the murder of the girl and her family by US soldiers stationed in Iraq. The rant continued and wound up with questioning why it’s okay for a female Muslim student in this country to be excused from having to wear the usual P.E. uniform due to it being too revealing. I don’t think I’m being ungenerous to these mooks when I suggest that if you substituted “female fundamentalist Christian” for “female Muslim” they wouldn’t have a problem. And neither would I. Their problem here is that the beliefs of an adherent to a religion they don’t approve of are being accommodated, so they get their panties in a wad and go off ranting and raving.

Then, after the break, one of them read this, from the Wall Street Journal,
But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?
Asshat 1 and Asshat 2 then made noises as though they were at an Entmoot and agreed that this was the epitome of wisdom.

Oh my, where to begin. Let’s start with “leaping to conclusions about gay men and young boys.” That’s not the issue here; this isn’t about “gay,” though it’s understandable that with their prejudices that would be where they would focus. Certainly there are gay men in our society who prefer young boys to adults, just as there are straight men who prefer young girls to adults. I’ll suggest that depending on the age and maturity levels of the men and young boys and girls we are talking about there may be times when that is acceptable. This isn’t even close to being one of those times. There are never times when that will be acceptable when the man we’re talking about is 52 and the young boy or girl is 16. There are never times when that will be acceptable when the grown man is a congressman and the young boy or girl is a Congressional page.

I work as a staff employee at a university. I’m a few years younger than Foley and the students here are a few years older than the Congressional pages. There are certainly more than a few young ladies at this school whom I find attractive. It never leaves my mind, however, that these young ladies weren’t sent here by their parents so they can be preyed upon by middle aged men. It never leaves my mind that my job here, my role on campus, to enhance the educational experience of these students, doesn’t include sniffing after them. There are no laws or even university rules against me dating students. It’s just something that I, a godless liberal, recognize is wrong. Why do people like Foley and his apologists have such a hard time recognizing something so simple? It's not about gay scoutmasters or Congressmen. It's about adults abusing positions of trust. In this case the abusing adult was a Republican, so the creeps come out of the woodwork to find ways to excuse and defend the unexcusable and the indefensible.

Strike While the Iron's Hot

Woo Hoo!!!! Oakland's ahead 1-0 in the top of the second. With the As' playoff history in this century being what it is, I figured I'd better hurry up and gloat while I can.

Update: Okay, they won, 3-2. Now I get a whole day to feel good.
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