Saturday, June 22, 2002

Greetings from Babson College in Wellesley, MA
Having a great time, about which I'll write more back in California.

As you've probably heard, however, St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile died in his sleep, apparently of natural causes.

Few things make you contemplate your mortality more than a story like this. It's just eerie. So (even though I probably wouldn't have posted anyway), consider tomorrow's (and Monday's?) lack of posts to be something like a moment of silence.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Guess Who's Back?
Back again! Cindy's back -- tell a friend.

Her latest entries are priceless. That and Billy Joel is in rehab.

I have somewhat of an office politics question if anyone wants to coax it from me. I don't feel like posting it though. It boils down to asking how bold I ought to be, how presumptive I ought to be, how nakedly ambitious I'm willing to look.
To: Italia
From: me
Re: Sore Losers

Get over yourselves. If you're going to stake your entire national pride in excelling at an overrated sport, at least learn how to play to win, and then shut up when you don't.

I suppose it's typically European behavior though.
Moment of silence...
...it's still a winner, though. A deep, gutteral Ozzzzzzzie Smith catches my throat.
What are people doing with their money?
Goodness gracious! Talk about get rich quick. Sell the same speech dozens of times -- little to no cost, it's all margin. What kind of person actually buys this stuff? I'm appalled, in a way that I can't quite remember ever having been appalled before.

Also, Rachel Emma Silverman went to Harvard. I think. Around my year. I don't know anything about her other than seeing the byline, probably on the Crimson. Now WSJ. The pipeline continues. You, too, could join the fun.
Road Rage Diary
The trip in only took 3-5 minutes longer than usual today but oh, it was the circumstances.

On the S-curve where Lincoln becomes Oak, someone cut me off. No big deal, except that it was to go from left lane to right, opposite the usual trend, and more to the point the person couldn't be bothered to signal it. (Blah blah Boston blah, except that this a reason why I left Boston, also why I never drove there.)

On Oak: AT&T truck double-parked in the right lane, just before the usual backup.

As Oak becomes 10th Street via Fell: First a police car double-parked in the right lane just before Van Ness, then a delivery truck double-parked in the left lane just after Van Ness. So three lanes but effectively one lane.

As 10th Street hits the intersection where you turn on Bryant or get on 101 south or keep going: Had to get over four lanes to make my turn. First three were fine, was about to make it right in front of a slow-moving truck (why is there a slow-moving truck in the far left lane?) except that the almost-as-slow moving truck immediately in front of me braked in the intersection. Almost gridlock. I got my left turn in, barely, behind the truck, the slow moving truck that was bound for 101 despite being in the only lane that Bay Bridge bound people can actually use.

After that a lot of 70 mph bat-out-of-hell driving, not to make up time so much as to vent.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Read this.
How to put the Middle East into perspective.
It's arguably political but read it anyway. This sort of thing is important enough that I'll gladly risk offending people or even alienating friends to get word out.

This is why I support Israel wholeheartedly and unabashedly. Don't even attempt a moral equivalence here because there just isn't one.
Bobby Valentine has a massive ego, and yet...
He's very well-spoken. "This is the reason people switch off ESPN, because you have people with no knowledge of the game or the English language presenting the game we love."

He'll probably never be a TV foof because in some ways it's beneath him. Speaking of whores (note: I'm probably the only person on Earth to use the word 'whore' exclusively for ex-jocks trying to cash in as media personalities: think Terry Bradshaw and the like), when the Rangers fired Valentine they eventually hired Kevin Kennedy, who was last seen filling a suit in a Fox studio somewhere.

Kevin Kennedy as TV personality still baffles me. Almost as much as Kevin Kennedy as Red Sox manager used to.

Valentine, meanwhile, come to think of it reminds me of at least one of my law professors, maybe a composite of them.
Why does Rob Dibble have a job?
Mets don't like his comments, nor do I, mainly because he's full of it at least on this issue and probably a lot of others.

Does anyone else remember Dibble fielding a bunt from Doug Dascenzo and trying to throw the baseball at Dascenzo's legs, dodgeball-style?

I'm tempted to disable the comment widget on this entry because I'm so tired of this particular story. It's the f*cking New York dominated media singlehandedly prolonging this. Are we going to find out tomorrow that Roger Clemens is gay and on 'roids?
The wonders of ballpark music
You know you're at a baseball game (or listening to one), and at a "modern" ballpark no less, when you hear five seconds of Walk Like A Man followed immediately by a Beastie Boys riff.

Meanwhile, Marlins backup catcher Mike Redmond blazes new trails in AC/DC-themed theme music, batting at least twice today to Moneytalks.
Maybe I'll have to take back my pro-umpire comment?
Looks like an idiotic no-tolerance policy at work here. Note the top 7th play-by-play, and also Dempster's box score line.

Boy, tune in to follow a hitting streak, stay around for the Mickey Mouse call.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Meta-Political Question
You know if you've done much traveling through the U.S. that the prevailing political opinions differ significantly by part of the country.

Consider a part of the country where the most frequently expressed beliefs represent an outlook that you happen to find distasteful. Which idea is worse:

1. That so many people in that area don't actually feel that way (or at least wouldn't if they stopped and gave the issues much thought) but just espouse certain opinions in order to conform to the local norms?

-or-

2. That so many people in that area actually believe those particular things?

This relates, I suppose, to the general idea that politics are a conversational faux pas. (The old cliche about sex, politics, and religion might apply.) From my experience, in all sorts of different places that collectively fall all over the spectrum, this is never completely true. Rather, statements supporting the politics that happen to be in fashion in that particular place are almost always welcome, or rather almost never noticed, because they don't raise any eyebrows. It's the challenging opinions that result in the metaphorical Baby Ruth in the punchbowl.

I'd like to keep this entry pretty generic, since I don't want to fault Left or Right or Up or Down or any particular group, since the conformity and closedmindedness are such universal things. Still, I'm relatively more disappointed in (frustrated by?) that sort of thing when it comes from any particular point of view that includes any kind of self-congratulation over being so open-minded (or at least self-congratulation that involves opposing the closed-minded folk and being thankful that you're not one of Them).
Carnival of the Southpaw Pork Products
Mo Vaughn has nine career home runs off David Wells. I saw three of them in person once, when Mo was a Red Sock and Jumbo was an Oriole.

Vaughn is left-handed and fat. Wells is left-handed and fat. I am... well, I'm just your humble narrator.
Why political pundits probably shouldn't write about sports...
It's always about New York, or worse yet always about Washington, D.C.

Compare this Met fan's screed with this Yankee fan's response and then bask in my violent apathy.
I might disagree with all 11 of these.
Waah, waah, baseball is broken.

Why he's wrong, point by point:
1. Contraction. This guy says that the teams that should be contracted are the teams that nobody's going to watch. But there's a vicious circle, namely that the people are staying away from (at least one of) these teams precisely because the powers-that-be claim it's a lame duck.

It's like claiming that you don't deserve a girlfriend if you're unwilling to wine and dine someone who you know will dump you a week from now anyway.

2. Umpires. In this one particular incident he has a point, but it's entirely the wrong thing to generalize from. It's also, as a single incident, really not the sort of data point you can build an entire argument from. (By and large umpiring is extremely good now. Imperfect, but light years ahead of three years ago.) More to the point, if we make it a house rule that "A-Rod doesn't get ejected," what kind of license does that give him? Even superstars aren't above whatever the rules of the game happen to be.

3. Steroid and Drug Testing. Innuendo at its worst. Name names or shut the f*ck up already.

4. DH. Reasonable request but ruined by one of the most inane analogies I've ever seen. Within any particular game the rules are the same. So games in Fenway Park have a DH and games in Wrigley Field don't. Games in Fenway Park also have a 37-foot wall in left field. Suck it up already.

5. Instant Replay. I should probably give him credit here but his whole article left me in a foul mood. No credit for you because replay challenges take (NFL fans back me up on this) several minutes. This from a guy who thinks games are too long.

6. Rally Monkeys. No further comment necessary.

7. New Leadership. I was actually about to award him double-credit for this one but Ben Affleck?! Those are fighting words.

8. Draft hype. The last thing baseball needs is Mel Kiper.

9. Speed up the game. Everybody's been saying this for years but nobody's willing to do the thing that would actually accomplish this: Fewer commercials between innings. Fewer pitching changes. For completely failing to put up concrete solutions, this guy still gets zero cred.

10. Ron Santo. If I remember the numbers right then I too think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but for one thing: Once you pass a certain whining threshold, there's an unwritten rule that you get nothing. And I really don't think anyone in baseball passes Santo on the pure whine scale these days. Just listen to a Cub radio broadcast if you don't believe me.

11. Remember the Little People. Anyone who actually got paid for filing this crappy a piece is in no position to take up that mantle.

Sunday, June 16, 2002