Monday, July 31, 2006

Seasons of Baseball

As I am watching the Tigers game on account of the Reds off day and the Nats versus Giants game late tonight, I thought I'd reflect a bit on what I remember of the 1984 Tigers.

It was a time when I was first becoming cognizant of the world around me, when I had already realized that change is a fact of life. I had recently moved to Ohio - it was my second baseball season there, and I had already attended my first Riverfront game. The details of the season are hazy, as I was seven years old, so I can be permitted a little fuzz in my memory, right?

I have a very clear recollection of Sparky Anderson in the Tigers dugout. Sparky had become somewhat of a mythical creature to me after hearing my family tell stories of the Big Red Machine, so I understood the greatness that encircled the man. Back then, some of the playoff and World Series games were day games, so I was able to see bits of them without having to go to bed. But what I remember most about that year wasn't the games. I can't tell you how many games Jack Morris won that season, or how many home runs Kirk Gibson hit. I don't remember what Lou Whitaker's batting average was, nor do I know how many double plays Alan Trammel turned. No, my greatest memory of that team was the Lance Parrish poster on the basement door of my Great Aunt's house in the suburbs of Detroit. (She is a big Tigers fan; I'm sure she's thrilled about the team's success this year.) He became the face of the Tigers in my very young mind - he looked so cool on that poster.

The Tigers beat the Padres four games to one that year, their last appearance in a World Series. Lance Parrish only played in Detroit for two more seasons after that, seeing limited playing time in his final year. By the time I started collecting baseball cards, he had gone to the Phillies, and my '87 Topps card of him in the Tigers gear was outdated. The man who had defined the Detroit Tigers for me would never again don their uniform. I felt great disappointment, only one of many disappointments the game would give to me over the years, and I wondered what my Great Aunt would do with her poster. But I had already learned a fundamental tenet of baseball, of life - change will always happen, and that is the only thing you can't change.

I suppose change is good. After all, if it didn't happen, teams like the Tigers and the Reds would never get their occasional chance to take a shot at the World Series. I'd love to see the two teams play each other in October.

Holding breath...


I can't help it. I have no control over what my hand does today. Five hours to go, five hours of suspense, anticipation, hope, dread. I check the news, nothing. Return to work.

Click! There it goes again. This time, there is something. Cormier for Germano? I guess I can handle that. Cormier's had a good year. Casey goes to Tigers. Good for him. (Eyes look down at the document, up again at the screen.) What? Lohse for Ward? What!?! Click for stats. Have we just traded away a future star for another Joe Mays? Disgust. Click.

Click! Oh, only ten minutes have gone by. Getting a little mouse happy.
Click! Soriano's still a Nat. Four hours to go. Back to work with worry on my mind.

Click! Checking Lancaster, Red Reporter, Redleg Nation. Reading what people have to say about the moves so far. Checking the Natmosphere, silence. Oh, the agony. (Please keep Soriano, please keep Soriano, please keep...)

Click! Fingers crossed, eyes closed. Open one eye, picture of Soriano! Ahhh! Wait, it's only about the trade rumors, no trade yet. A's the latest. This morning it was Red Sox. Click...

CLICK! TWENTY MINUTES. Texas and KC have made a deal. Still no word on Soriano. Still no word on a Reds starter. Click, click, click, tick, click...

Fifteen minutes, my heart races. Another trade! Those words make me dizzy. Cubs and Padres. Mets and Pirates? Oh, please don't say Soriano goes to the Marlins. Click!

Tick, tick, 4pm and all is well... Click, click. Maddux a Dodger? Pirates land Chicon for Wilson? Soriano?...I'm still holding my breath. Click!

! YES!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bonsoir elle est partie!

I have some sort of cosmic connection to the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, some parallel pathway to fate with them, like some astrological force keeps sticking me with this team in some metaphysical room in the universe. It has to be true, for before they followed me to DC, I was one of very few people on this planet who watched Les Expos on television. "Why?" you might ask, bewildered by my confession, or perhaps you think I am lying to be "cool" like those people who buy Expos jerseys and caps to wear to RFK (losers!) Nope, sorry, that bandwagon garbage isn't for me.

It was September 1998, my senior year of an all too short college journey. I had spent the previous best-year-of-my-life-thus-far in Luxembourg, where I had learned to appreciate the art of food, good beer, and that glorious gift us English-speaking folk call life. I had developed a modest level of proficiency in la lingua franca ancienne, enough to be able to watch Rodger Brulotte call baseball for Les Expos.

That September gifted us with baseball memories as luminous as the autumn trees that lined the cobblestone streets of Oxford, where I watched them all unfold. It was a time when the whole country was watching, when baseball became our nation's pasttime again, when the man who gave home runs their magic was roused from his eternal slumber to stand in the shadows of two mighty sluggers. Oh, and Roger Maris, too. Proving that God is a baseball fan once again, the teams of the two sluggers played each other on the night the Babe decided it was time to step aside. I can't forget it. Skipping yet another social engagement for baseball, I spread books and papers across the floor of my room as if I actually thought I would study. But I couldn't. I couldn't take my eyes from the television, not wanting to miss a second of this moment in American history, a moment that could end up as legendary as Mr. George Herman himself.

Number 62 was not a thing of beauty; indeed, the mighty slugger in red missed first base as he rounded it. Still, the country had fallen in love with baseball again. I couldn't get enough, that's for sure, and that's when I began watching Les Expos. Yes, it was only a month of baseball, but my brain took rolls and rolls of film during those weeks, and even as many of those pictures fade from my mortal mind, some of them will be there when the last vestiges of my vitality melt away with time and my intellect succumbs to the gray senility of age.

Guerrero frappe un circuit et les Expos gagnent le match! I learned a lot of baseball terms in French by watching those games, though I've forgotten most of them by now. But I can't forget Rodger Brulotte's "Bonsoir elle est partie!" as a Vlad Guerrero ball sailed into the Quebecois night. (And it did that '98 season - they had to play outdoors since pieces of the roof of Stade Olympique kept falling off.) Thirty-eight coups de circuit that year, his first full year in the Majors.

Jose Vidro is the lone player who remains on the team from that year, and I'd love to have him for the rest of his career. I'm hoping that I can carry some Nationals memories with me into the future, recall with fondness games at RFK, capture some of that eternal magic that is baseball. I sure do love those Soriano coups de circuit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Boy, it's hot today

The heat was always miserable, the air so thick with moisture you could feel yourself laboring to take in a breath. You had as little clothing on as possible – you had to, because what clothing you wore would be soaked through on account of your sweat and the humidity. It wasn’t like faraway Arabian deserts, where the driest air makes it possible, even necessary, to wear long, loose garments to protect from the sun’s inferno. No, this was the Midwest in a city by a river, a sticky, winding waterway where riverboats sat like you were living a Mark Twain novel, the oppressive swelter slowing you to a crawl.

But you loved it. You loved it as you stepped out of your air conditioned car onto the hot gravel parking lot and stretched your legs after your journey. You loved it as you walked across the bridge to eat lunch on Covington Landing, sucking in anything that resembled a breeze as you stood high above the water, swaying and shaking with the bridge and the rumbling of passing cars and trucks. You loved it as you stared up at the massive circular structure in front of you, marveling at its clever curves and concrete ramps, as you stepped on the soft black rubbery stuff on the sidewalk, as you listened to vendors trying to sell their wares, scalpers trying to make a few bucks, kids unable to contain their excitement.

I was born less than three months after the Big Red Machine had won its last World Series, but the spirit of that time haunted every corner of Riverfront Stadium until it imploded into the annals of history books. You could feel baseball there, feel the tradition, the memories of a glorious time in Cincinnati as you sat roasting with the new guys, the Oesters and O'Neills and Larkins who played on an oppressive fake-grass-on-concrete field, where 130 degree temperatures made your 90 degrees feel cool.

Every now and then a hot, humid day like today can take me back to that place no matter what part of the world I am in, whether I am sipping Riesling in the Rhine Valley, walking along the Nile River, or gazing up at the temple of democracy near the banks of the Anacostia here in our nation’s capital. Sometimes, when I watch the condensation dripping down a cold beer, I think of an icy Coke in a plastic Reds souvenir cup wetting my hands in the red seats, where birds flew below you and the players looked like ants. I can watch the sausages race on television, find the baseball under the crab at Camden Yards, or cheer on Thomas Jefferson at RFK, but none of them compare to the primitive scoreboard technology of the Mr. Red race, where Number 2 always won in my mind. It was summertime in Cincinnati, and it was baseball.

Man, is it hot today. And I love it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Baseball is Life: Parts I and II

Part 1: 0-2 and 722

The once mighty slugger, a fallen hero, limped up to the plate as if he were weary of chasing ghosts. Flashes lit up the summer night sky as they had for many years, but the venom of the boobirds rained down relentlessly as if he had murdered their children or something. Oh, yes, he was still imposing, he still had the ability to scare the opposing pitcher into walking him, and by no means could you throw meat at the plate and not expect him to hit another of his many homers. Still, there were ghosts in his swing, ghosts holding his bat back, slowing it down, whispering that he was nearing the end of his controversial journey.

There were signs, plenty of anti-Barry signs, including a copy of the Ruth with hotdogs line that has become the anti-Barry slogan. I stood up and cheered for every Barry at bat, feeling like a Democrat in a sea of Republicans. There were a few of us who rose to our feet to cheer on the man, knowing full well that this could be the last time we ever witnessed him in a Major League uniform. A few goosebumps popped up when the scoreboard said "second all time in home runs." How many of those had I seen in those two glorious seasons I witnessed in San Fran? Some memories flooded back, those days when that beautiful temple called Pac Bell Park was my playground, my escape from the realities of voluntary confinement and impending war, when I struggled to hold on to the last shreds of youthful innocence, memories that are my own ghosts. Those magic seasons of numbers, of 73, .370, 600, .585, a World Series, those are mine as much as his. They belong to me, to Giants fans, baseball historians, and lovers of the game.

Dear Boobirds: You don't know. You didn't watch him day in and day out. You didn't feel the way the air changed every time he stood on the on-deck circle. You didn't breathe in the magic, the electricity, the aura of the man who could do everything. You didn't love him for saving your storied franchise from moving out of San Francisco. (For the record, I can't identify with San Franciscans on this one, but I respect it dearly.) You hate him because you think he spoiled your game. You hate him because you think he stands for everything that is wrong with baseball. Look at these numbers! Do they not make you reach back into the throes of baseball history in your mind, make your jaw drop, make you think, wow, I was lucky I got to watch this guy play? How can they not? Is your baseball soul dead?

He wanted to be the best. While other ballplayers grew fat with vacation in the winters, baseball's second best home run hitter worked out six hours a day, six days a week. His body broke down. He grew weary from the constant scrutiny, the rude media, the critics. Tell me, is it so wrong to do everything you can to make the pain go away?

A walk, another walk, 0-2 he went as he limped around on his battered legs. If only he had been a nice guy.

Part 2: 5-0 since the Grand Reopening (and 3-0 for me)

Yep, I sure did go to my third Nats game in five games last night. Those $3 tickets are kind of difficult to pass up, and yes, suprisingly, they are decent seats, though there aren't many seats in RFK that aren't decent, not like old Riverfront where you'd sometimes see Jesus sitting on a cloud next to you. We had tix only two sections over from where I normally sit if I choose to sit in leftfield, which I did so I could watch Barry. Of course, the normal moving to better seats closer to third base happened.

Bottom of the ninth, home team down 3-2, a walk, a walk, a hit by the rookie! A game winning sac fly by Austin Kearns! Bang zoom go the fireworks!

It seems like the discrepencies between the announced crowds and the actual number in attendence are growing. There were not 30,248 bodies at RFK last night, unless there were about 5,000 in the new food court who left when it closed in the FIFTH INNING. (Not that I'm going to be spending $11 for a miniscule crab cake when I am supposed to be eating a HOT DOG at a baseball game, but the closing time is ridiculous.)

In light of yesterday's brief memoir of baseball card collecting, I think I should go out and buy every Ryan Zimmerman card out there since he is going to be the best third baseman of all time. (Michael Jack Schmidt from Dayton, Ohio, eat your heart out.) I keep forgeting he's a rookie on account of his veteran-like clutch hitting. It may have been Austin Kearns' sac fly that won the game, but it was Zim's hit that tied it.

What a game! What a night! What a show!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cardboard on my mind

The pinging had ceased for the day, dirt was beginning to settle, and the little ballplayers who donned shirts with "Bob Evans," "Areawide Services," or "Tollhouse Tavern" ran to buy their postgame treats at the concession stand. It was the eighties in Englewood, Ohio, and Little League was thriving in a time when kids could just play ball and weren't pushed by parents with big league dollar signs in their eyes. We were all alloted 50 cents to spend after each game, and some bought Swedish Fish, others wanted Big League Chew. Dusty hands grabbed Sour Patch Kids, Lemonheads, Atomic Fireballs, Pixie Sticks, Fun Dips, Sugar Daddies, Blow Pops, and other stuff that makes my teeth rot just thinking about it. No candy for me, though. I was a ten year old girl who wanted 1987 Topps Baseball Cards. Nice wooden looking border. Hideous uniforms on the pictures. The smell of that gum and the wax. The thrill of getting the occasional Red. Lots of Kal Daniels, Ron Oester, Nick Esasky, though the Eric Davis cards were more difficult to find. I can picture them all - Soto, Browning, even Eddie Milner. The 87 Topps cards, my first baseball cards, were also my first exposure to the American League. Sure, I could name all the teams and I knew who was in the World Series, but I never really knew the players until I got my hands on those cards, players like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, Graig Nettles, Dwight Evans, Eddie Murray, players who had spent their best years in the AL.

The next year, I collected the entire 1988 Topps set and then some, more than 1000 cards of a set that only had 792 in it. They were plain cards, kind of boring, and I always wondered why the Reds team name was in yellow at the top of the cards instead of red. My mother took my sisters and I to a lot of card shows, especially those who had players signing. I have more Paul O'Neill, Chris Sabo, Joe Oliver, Herm Winningham, and Dave Collins autographs than I can count. In those days, you could get the autographs for free. All you had to do was bring something to sign.

When I was in eighth grade I had a friend who would come over on occasion to trade cards, but you know, it’s difficult for a 13 year old girl to be rational when a 13 year old boy is paying her attention. Sure, I’ll take that 1988 Topps Ryne Sandberg for my 1989 Topps Traded Griffey, Jr. It will give me three of them and will look nice in my plastic page. And yes, I’ll take your two Paul O’Neill cards for my Bonds rookie card. I like Bonilla better anyway. [cringe]

One player I never gave up, though, was Jose Canseco. (Why, God, why?) I suppose at the time he was a “future Hall of Famer,” but why didn’t I like McGwire more! I’ll tell you why – it was because Jose was much better looking! I still have the mesh A’s hat I wore around during the Bash Brother days until about 1990, when the Reds went to their first and only World Series in my lifetime. (I was born when the Big Red Machine were still considered World Champs, but they would never be again.)

I still collected in high school, though towards the end I thought I was too old for the cards. I gave away a shoebox full of “commons” to a cousin at a time when it looked like Sammy Sosa would not amount to anything and Joey Belle was going to be the greatest player in Indian’s history, so you could say that my definition of “common” wasn’t entirely accurate. But hey, you know what they say about hindsight, right? It can make foresight see like Ray Charles.

I had already decided to collect only Topps because my best friend’s dad did that and it seemed to make sense in a time when they were starting to make “inserts” made of leather, plastic, and real wood. He was a diehard Reds fan and a baseball coach who knew a bunch of former Reds players. I can remember once spending the weekend at their house when Doug Flynn was staying there, and I tell you what, it was the coolest thing to sit around listening to his tales about The Show.

By my senior year of high school, I had only a handful of 94 Topps cards and can’t even remember what the 95 Topps looked like, but in the late 90s I suffered a renewed interest in the hobby. I went to all sorts of card shows and bought a few cards I had always wanted but never had the money for, but soon I had to choose between the cards and beer, and well, it was college. Since then, I’ve bought a few Reds team sets and a Nats set from the inaugural season, along with a few packs of Topps here and there, but that’s it. The card companies ruined the hobby for me with their greed, and they ruined their industry, too. You know what I want to do with my cards someday, what I’ve wanted to do with them since high school? I want to open a sports bar in Cincinnati, more like a baseball museum, and I want to put them under glass on the tables and on the bar. I knew it would look cool, but I didn’t realize how cool until I went to Red Foley’s Pub in NYC, where he had done the same thing. Only I won’t use staples in my cards.

Hat tip to Red Menace for posting the link on Red Reporter that provided the inspiration.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Free EdE!

Jerry Moron, please do not sit your young stud third baseman on the bench today against the Houston Asstros. His .293/.386/.505 numbers and his 41 RBI are too valuable to waste. If you must get both Richie and Scotty in the lineup, put Richie at short for a game. He was, after all, a star at that position in San Francisco, so he isn't going to hurt you there. And Del Boco Vista Retirement Communinity keeps calling and asking for Hands of Clay back.

Also, Harangutan is pitching tonight. You can keep him out there for 120 pitches if he's not having a bad night. He isn't Eric Milton, so you don't need to "build his confidence." We don't need Tex to blow another one tonight. Give him some rest, some time to get his head sorted out.

Last night I had a beautiful dream that both Mays and Stormy were DFA'd. I can't remember the exact details of the dream, but I remember something bad had happened to me and I was wandering around what I assume was Cincinnati in a dream-warped state. Somehow I ended up in the Reds dugout looking at the lineup card. On it, at the very bottom, were the names "Joe Mays" and "David Weathers" with three big dark blue letters next to them: D-F-A. I woke up with a sweet feeling.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thank you, Mr. Lerner

Thank you for everything. Thank you for the red curly W cap and the red Nationals shirt you gave me this weekend. Thank you for putting the red carpet around the stadium, a sparkling crimson invitation to enjoy baseball at RFK once again. Thank you for getting the players out to shake the hands of those who give them the chance to play a game for a living. Thank you for the flowers outside that are in the form of the curly W, the trees around the park, the newly paved and painted VIP parking lot. Even if we aren't VIPs, it still looks quite nice. Thank you for the new food court, and even though I couldn't afford the $9 margaritas, though they would have tasted wonderful in yesterday's heat, I still am glad that the food court is there for the fans who don't understand that you eat hotdogs at baseball games. (Shoot, my undying cynicism creeps up even in my sincerity.) Indeed, the food court may even bring the casual fan to the game, and more fans always enhances the quality of cheering. Thank you for opening more concession stands so we don't have to miss entire innings just to get a draft beer or a soda. Also, thank you for the kids' zone, where they made balloon designs in the shapes of brooms though the Nationals had only won one game in the series at that point. But most of all, thank you for making a baseball experience at RFK fun again.

I attended both Friday night's grand reopening and Saturday's game, and it was a very good weekend of baseball. I hadn't been that excited about seeing the Nationals all season (and I had been to 11 Nats games prior to Friday.) The magic of baseball was back; I could feel it as soon as I rushed out of the office on Friday at 5pm and headed down to the Metro to go to the park. The train was packed with red at that time; usually people don't stroll into the ballpark until right around or after the first pitch. Everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces, and the train was buzzing with anticipation for that beautiful game we call Baseball. Seas of red flowed out of the Metro stop amidst calls of "Tickets! Anybody need tickets!" and the ringing out of the resident busker's saxophone as the crowd bumbled about the changes that were taking place under the adoptive parents of the bastard team of baseball.

An arousal of the passions that ignite a baseball fan's fantasies swirled around us like a big tent revival for this heavenly game. Outside the stadium was a slice of that melodious joy that baseball can bring, red carpet royal like we actually mattered, brass band playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to a chorus of fans who sang along, sweet laughter of nostalgic innocence, spontaneous cheering, hands clapping, ushers and employees like jukeboxes of thankyous, grateful supporters from zealots to newbies, not a frown on a face. My delighted heart raced as I approached the main gate as enthusiastic as a child, and the whole world ceased to exist for those few glorious hours.

The game itself was a good one. The fans got into it early on account of the scoring but seemed to disappear when the Cubs came back to take the lead. However, in the eighth inning, section 534 was having a blast donning rally caps and screaming as loud as our cheap seat voices could muster. (If you were that guy in section 534 row 11, about seat 8, 9, or 10, please contact me. I was the girl in row 10, seat 18 with the backpack and the World Baseball Classic shirt.)

One of the biggest suprises was the lack of Cubbie blue perverting the stadium. Sure, there were some Cubbie fans, but no more than the number of Reds fans or Phillies fans or Dodgers fans when those teams come into town. The prices for the weekend were jacked up for the Cubbage suckage and my $7 tickets were $12, and since I had already paid for three games for the price of two, I did not go to Sunday's games. If you cheap it, they will come. I'll be getting those new $3 tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday to see Barry and the FIRST PLACE Giants. Woohoo!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Baseball Inferno

Dante and Virgil watch as Don Fehr gnaws on Baseball while Steinbrenner, Boras, and Satan Selig look on.

From Dante And Virgil In Hell (1850) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time...

In case you haven't been to Yard Work, go there. Brilliant baseball satire. But I have to say, this post by "Jim Leyland" today blew me away with its incredible writing. Downright Salingeresque. I could have sworn it was Holden in a baseball uniform speaking. A selection:
Baseball ain’t a kid’s game. It’s a disease. It’s a mindless amoral blight that turns healthy young men into brittle shells of bone and skin. It’s a dirty, sweaty beast with thirsty teeth and coiled haunches, always on the prowl for fresh blood. They can try to cover this up with picnic areas and pavilion seating and free umbrellas, but that’s like trying to hide a corpse with Wet Naps and some Febreze.

Sometimes I love this bastard of a sport. Sometimes the smell of pinetar and cleat-cleaved dirt reminds me of cool early summer breezes and fresh lilacs and girls in sun dresses drinking lemonade on their porch swings. Sometimes I see a kid like Granderson gather a fly ball in his glove, or that beautiful bastard Verlander’s fastball slice past a batter’s stunned eye, and I forget that I’m a broken old man carrying enough tar in his lungs to fill the cracks in every goddamn one-way street in Manhattan.
I can only wish I could write something this goddamn good.

I have this wild theory developing in my warped brain that W.P. Kinsella is actually J.D. Salinger. Sure, Salinger went all crazy and all, but pain like that manifests itself in mysterious ways. No one with any talent for writing has ever stopped writing except in death, whether it be a natural death (which is rare for a great writer,) an alcohol induced death, or death by one's own hand. We all know that Salinger has written things that he suddenly pulled just before publication, but how do we know he isn't publishing under another name? We don't. And who knows, maybe Salinger himself is the brilliant mind behind Yard Work.

Why would my deranged brain come up with something as illogical as W.P. Kinsella being J.D. Salinger? Well, for starters, Salinger is the real writer in Shoeless Joe, the beautiful novel on which Field of Dreams is based. Secondly, the characters in the book are as jaded as Holden Caulfield. And frankly, the style of writing is similar. Read the book again if you don't believe me.

So why would Salinger write about baseball? Simple - baseball heals. There is something magical about the game, something you immediately feel when you enter the seating area from the concourse to a sea of screaming emerald, sun shining brilliantly, forcing the colors to compete for your attention, your passion. The sounds - the sounds make up the game, the leather on wood, the pop of a glove. The collective breathing of tens of thousands of people, holding their breaths as a ball sails towards a fence, sails into the night sky under the incandescent glow of the lights as dusk settles onto your little part of the world. The vendors calling out to your sense of taste, your longing for one of the few constants in this ever-changing world, that taste of a hot dog, some peanuts, ice cream in little helmets, a condensating beer. You think now of the smells, the smells of those hotdogs, of the fresh leather of a baseball, of a glove, of the are transported back into your childhood, when you learned to love the game, love the sensualism before you even understood what senses are. Those senses bring you back to innocence, the reason we love the game. Those memories, they remind us all of what is good in life, what is true, and no matter how much pain we feel, how many problems we have to deal with, it is baseball that takes us from these feelings, from these problems. Yes, baseball heals.

Ok, so it makes no logical sense that Kinsella is Salinger. After all, Kinsella has been interviewed, Kinsella was in a car accident in 1997 that he claims took his concentration and his ability to write. But it all sounds like Salinger to me, and conspiracy theories are fun. And no, it is not madness I have uttered. I just watched Field of Dreams.

Brain delay

Ah, the Banana Phone, the good old BP. Rain delays during Reds games would never be the same without it. The average IQ of callers has to be about 70. Take, for example, this call:

Adam from Milwaukee: Hello, Marty. Marty? Marty, this is Adam. (pause) This is Adam from Milwaukee.

Marty Brennaman: Hey Adam, how you doing?

Adam: I'm good, how are you?

Marty: Good.

Adam: Do you think Scott Hatteberg's a good player?

Marty: Yeah. (long pause) Hello?

Adam: Marty? Marty.

Marty: Yes, Adam from Milwaukee.

Adam: Do you think Scott Hatteberg's a good player?

Marty: Do you think he's a good player?

Adam: I think he's overrated.

Marty: Um, who would you rather see play at first base? I can tell you're a big fan.

Adam: I am. Um, maybe, uh, Luke Stowe?

Marty: That would, you think that he'd be an improvement?

Adam: I think so. Defensively.

Steve: He's a little bit young.

Marty: He's a little bit young, isn't he, Adam?

Adam: (long, dumb pause accompanied by laughter in the booth) Is it still raining in Cincinnati?

Marty: It's just about stopped, Adam.

Adam: Do you have your shirt on?

Marty: Last time I checked, I did. Yes, why?

Adam: Just curious.

Marty: Hey, listen, I'm gonna let you go now because I know that you gotta get your game face on because we gotta get ready to go back on the radio and I know you'll be listening to every word.

Adam: I love it. Have a good one, bro!

The funny thing about this conversation is that "Adam from Milwaukee" is actually Adam Dunn sitting in the Reds clubhouse waiting out the rain. I did not catch it while I listened to it live since so many other halfwits had called in. I just assumed this guy was another moron. Dunner has to be a blast to be around. This conversation is hilarious to listen to if you know it is him.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Good citizens of Redsland, be advised. There is a severe bout of Narronitis going around. Edwin Encarnacion has caught a critical case of it, hence his absence from tonight's lineup.

Symptoms of Narronitis include:

An ability to hit with runners on base and get RBIs
Making some errors peppered with some brilliant plays
Not being considered a veteran
Being young
Not being close to retirement

If you feel you have any of these symptoms, you should immediately sit on the nearest bench.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's just a flesh wound!

Take that, Voodoo Albert!

At least the Reds have retaken the lead for the Wild Card.

The Castle of Aaauuuggghhh...

God: Arthur, King of the Reds-Nats Trade, your Knights of the Round Table shall have a task to make them an example in these dark times.

King Arthur: Good idea, O Lord!

God: 'Course it's a good idea! Behold, Arthur, this is the Holy Grail. Look well, Arthur, for it is your sacred task to seek this Grail. That is your purpose, Arthur, the Quest for the Holy Grail!”

Arthur and his knights travel across several states on their quest. Throughout their search they meet interesting people along the way, though most of the characters die, some by a killer rabbit, others for failing the test on the Bridge of Death, and several are victims of voodoo.

Arthur and his knights finally discover where the Grail is. They encounter guards who try to stop them from retrieving it.

Deadbirds: You don't frighten us, Cincy pig dogs. I blow my nose at you, so-called "Arthur King," you and all your silly Cincy K-nig-hts.

Asstros: Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of silly persons!

Sausages: You don't frighten us with your silly knees-bent running around advancing behavior!

NL West: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

Will our heroes succeed on their quest? Tune in to the rest of the season to find out...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nooooooo, not Austin!

Well, I suppose mine is the most appropriate blog to discuss the big trade today, being the only Reds/Nats blog on the planet.

I am not happy with the loss of Kearns to any team, but I guess if it had to be done, the Nats are the only place I can bear it. I have watched the Dunnandkearns show since the two played with the Dragons, and I wanted them to be in the Reds outfield as old geezers. He's only 26, and it amazes me that some Reds fans say he's never going to reach his potential. He's 26! Above average defense, cannon for an arm, sweet swing, good doubles guy. I guess I can say now there are two Nats I really like (the other being Ryan "Brooks" Zimmerman. I also like Johnson, Livan, Patterson, Vidro, and Soriano, but I don't "really" like them, I just like them.) I hope Chris Denorfia can be a good replacement for the Reds, as we still have another year at least before we see Jay Bruce. Who will be playing center for the Nats? Will Kearns move there? He's definitely not a centerfielder. You can't have Soriano, Guillen, and Kearns without a centerfielder, so who's going - Soriano or Guillen?

Actually, I'm feeling pretty schizo right now, as there are more issues here than I have time to think about. Aside from the loss of Kearns, most of the rest of the trade is great.

Gary Majewski. Yes, it's pronounced Majeski, not MaJEWski, so Reds fans, there you have it. I really didn't think Bowden would give him up, though I have been hoping Krivsky would do this deal for awhile now. In only his second full year in the Majors, the guy has a lot of potential, and despite his horrid numbers this year, he is a marked improvement for the Reds pen. Being on a contending team should do wonders for his performance. Last year, when the Nats were on fire, Majewski was lights out, like he thrived on the energy created from winning. He was the perfect set up guy with Luis Ayala for the Chief, and he'll be a great one for Guardado or Coffey, if one of them emerges as a decent closer. Oh, and Tex will go perfectly with the country boys in Cincy. Excellent Krivskiite.

Bill Bray. Bray, too, has potential, and I thought Bowden would keep him. Kid will fit in with the Reds pen nicely. When the Nats called him up this year, Nats fans were quite excited, myself included. Excellent Krivskiite.

Royce Clayton. Del Boca Vista Retirement Community called. They want their shortstop back.

Brenden Harris. The guy has potential to be a decent utility guy, but I don't think he'll ever be an everyday player. He's made some spectacular plays in his limited time with the Nats, though. But why do the Reds need a utility guy? He's reporting to AAA. I wonder if Krivsky has him in plans for another trade somewhere?

Daryl Thompson. I don't have a clue about this guy. The press release says, "Thompson, 20, was selected by the Expos in the eighth round of the 2003 first-year player draft and entered this season ranked as Washington's 10th-best minor league prospect. This season for Vermont in the Class A New York-Penn League he went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 4 starts."

Ryan Wagner. I can already hear Reds fans screaming about the loss of this guy. He's a headcase; a change of scenery will do him good. Besides, getting Majewski and Bray will more than make up for the loss.

Felipe Lopez. Told you he would go. I've never felt an attachment to the guy I called Flippy for so long. Perhaps it's because he replaced my all-time favorite Reds player, Barry Larkin. Perhaps it was his attitude, his cockiness. Perhaps it's his ability to commit errors in a single bound. Perhaps it was his agent, one of Satan's henchmen, Scott Boras. Regardless, DC can officially say the Guzman experiment is over. The strange thing is that I am really excited about the Nats acquisition of Lopez, though I don't feel upset for the loss of him with the Reds. Schizo.

The extra roster spot on the Nats will be filled by pitcher Roy Corcoran. The loss of Majewski and Bray may or may not be balanced by Corcoran and Wagner, so it's too early to judge this from the Nats side.

Someone must be cut from the Reds, and I'll bet you Stormy Weathers is DFA'd tomorrow. It's a dream of mine, anyway.

The deal was definitely good for the Nats, but I'm not sure that the Reds got enough for Kearns and Lopez. If the Reds make the playoffs this year, I won't second guess the trade, but if they don't, we all can wonder if we could have gotten more for these two. (Can you believe I said, "If the Reds make the playoffs this year..." and we've already passed the All-Star break? Sweet.) Really, I don't think Reds fans should get out their jump to conclusions mats; we just have to wait and see. How many victories were stolen from the Reds this year by their horrendous pen? If we can keep those victories now, it will be enough to stay in contention for the remainder of the season. Yes, this is the Reds we are talking about.

See you next Friday, Austin, at the Grand Reopening of RFK. Kill the Cubbies.

Food for thought

As I sit here eating a gyro from Ollie's Trolley (not the one in Cincy, this DC one has Lebanese owners, hence the Mediterranean food. Pray for Lebanon.), I am reading the latest baseball news (while pretending the real news isn't happening right now), and I've come across this article in the Chicago Sun-Times.
U.S. Cellular Field is more than just home to the World Series champion White Sox.

The South Side stadium also is one of the top 10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks in the nation, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"The Cell" came in ninth on PETA's annual rankings for offerings such as veggie hot dogs, veggie burgers, fruit cups and "corn-off-the-cob," said Dan Shannon, the group's manager of youth campaigns.
This, in the tube meat capital of the world.

The top "ten" (actually eleven):

10. Busch
10. Miller
9. The Cell
8. Arizona
7. Philly
6. Coors
5. Safeco
4. Oakland
3. Petco
2. Tropicana
1. San Fran

Great American does not make the list but is mentioned at the end of PETA's official list as having "solid vegetarian options," those being veggie dogs, smoothies, and vegetarian hoagies. RFK is also mentioned as having "veggie dogs." Do they use stems and roots instead of beaks and hooves?

Give me a four dollar hot dog over vegetarian hoagies any day. That's what baseball is about. And it's about beer, too, given that three stadiums are named after it.

Update on television rights fiasco

According to an article in USA Today, the non-Fox LCS games are still up for grabs. TBS broadcasting all the Division Series is a done deal, but
With Fox showing just one LCS annually in the new deal — it will alternate between the leagues each year — one LCS is still up for grabs. ESPN and TBS are interested, and Fox Sports President Ed Goren says Fox would "be willing to split it in some fashion with another broadcaster."
Conceivably, these games could still be broadcast on network television. Heck, if you show it on ESPN and ABC at the same time, aren't you doubling your advertising revenue? Ha, ha. There is also a possibility MLB would do something about the cable-only division series:
First-round playoff games will only be on TBS. TBS is in about 90 million of the USA's more than 110 million TV homes. Tim Brosnan, MLB executive vice president, says the number of homes without cable TV "shrinks daily" but if MLB "heard enormous backlash" about games being unavailable on free TV, then "we'd go back and adjust."
But non-TV junkies like me are a dying breed, and that fact, coupled with our culture of apathy and "that's just the way it is" attitude, makes a backlash highly unlikely. Throw another shovel full of dirt on our national pastime.

Monopolies suck.

Part 2 of Reds Bloggers Roundtable

Part 2 of Reds Bloggers Roundtable, featuring:

Shawn from Cincinnati Reds Blog, Part 1
Me, from Church of Baseball, Part 2
Doc Scott from Reds and Blues, Part 3
Ashlee from ...and this one belongs to the Reds, Part 4
JD from Red Reporter, Part 5
Jacci from We Heart the Reds, Part 6
JinAZ from On Baseball and the Reds, Part 7
Red Hot Mama, Part 8

Go to their sites to read it all!

Shawn: Hope everyone got the questions beforehand, in the e-mail.

Shawn: We will start with the first one, and give you a minute to think...what is the biggest (pleasant) surprise of the first half?

JinAZ: Starting rotation.

Daedalus: Bronson Arroyo. (if anyone feels the need to buy me a National League Arroyo shirt, feel free. I like the yellow.) :)

Ashlee: I don't need a minute: starting pitching

Jacci: Yeah, starters

JD: The explosive growth of Red Reporter

JD: Or wait, does it have to be about the Reds?

Shawn: Kaboom!

JinAZ: I'd include Elizardo Ramirez and a few decent starts from Milton along with Arroyo's brilliance.

Red Hot Mama: Brandon Phillips. We had nine potential second basemen until he showed up, then all of the sudden we had just one.

Shawn: That the team is above .500 at the All-Star Break is a surprise to me.

JD: Yeah, I second Brandon Phillips, he's probably my new favorite player.

Doc Scott: I'd say Ramirez. Arroyo and Phillips had past indicators that they'd have success, but Ramirez was pretty lightly regarded before the season.

Daedalus: Oh, wait, when did Krivsky get hired? And Castellini - an owner who actually cares about how the team does?

JinAZ: I love Phillips, but the team is where it is because of their starters.

Shawn: Phillips has really taken off, but he had this potential. Arroyo, I never thought could be this good.

Red Hot Mama: Yeah, he looked awesome last night.

Shawn: The Lizard is young. He had breakout potential.

Ashlee: LoL, RHM, give him a break

JinAZ: Positive thoughts RHM. :)

Shawn: Well, I think we can forgive the guy a bad outing.

Red Hot Mama: That tenth win is a toughy, even the fourth time.

Doc Scott: Arroyo said in the Enquirer today that he hasn't felt right the past two starts... could the heavy work from before be catching up with him?

Shawn: I do expect him to "regress to the mean" in the second half.

JD: And some people thought I was irrational about Rich Aurilia ....

Red Hot Mama: lol

JinAZ: I am worried that Arroyo will crash a bit in the second half. He did last year, and his BABIP has been a bit low all year long.

Daedalus: I think it was LaRue - his presence behind the plate caused Arroyo's problems... ;)

Shawn: It's a good excuse.

Red Hot Mama: And Rich Aurilia didn't even leave you sitting up all night

JD: This is true

Ashlee: Arroyo isn't the only one having issues getting #10

Red Hot Mama: I'm impressed with the Lizard. He's so tiny, and yet he's got some skill.

Shawn: I think Phillips is a good bet to stay above .300 all year.

Shawn: But I am even more excited to have as many as three decent starting pitchers.

JinAZ: I love the kid. He's pitched well almost every time out, even if his record doesn't reflect it

JinAZ: Ramirez that is

Red Hot Mama: Yeah, just look how far Milton is from ten...

Daedalus: I'm thinking Harang should be at about 13 wins now. How many of his Ws has the bullpen given away?

Doc Scott: Ross was quite a surprise as well- he'd had power outbursts in the past, like when he first came up with the Dodgers, but when he was acquired people were thinking he'd be sent to the minors

Daedalus: Will Milton even get to ten this year?

Red Hot Mama: home runs? Possibly

Doc Scott: he'd been ditched by three organizations for peanuts

JinAZ: I'm very surprised with Ross. He's always had power, but never has shown this sort of patience

Ashlee: I think he's already there, RHM!

Red Hot Mama: I mean hitting them

Shawn: Ross is having the obligatory journeyman catcher career year.

JinAZ: Probably, but it's fun to watch. :)

JD: I once saw David Ross scissor kick Angela Lansbury. It was beautiful.

Doc Scott: honestly, I wouldn't anoint Ross the next Johnny Bench any more than Bench anointed Chris Gruler the next Tom Seaver

Doc Scott: but who would have thought that ol' rock-solid, best-since-Slaught-and-LaValliere Catching Platoon would be in shambles?

Shawn: I would trade LaRue to keep Ross, if such a thing were possible.

Daedalus: You know what I think the biggest surprise may be? St. Louis being so awful.

Jacci: Yes! I was going to say that too!

Jacci: But then I didn't

Shawn: the catching platoon had a career year last year

Doc Scott: the Cards' pitching staff, especially the starters, has had its own "market correction"

Ashlee: Good Lord, yes. And this far into the season...

Doc Scott: year after year they'd had such incredible luck with health and effectiveness

JinAZ: Valentin's been pretty bad, although I think that LaRue has been insanely unlucky. Hope so anyway.

Shawn: St. Louis being down is helping keep the Reds in the race.

Jacci: And even with the precious Pujols back in action

Daedalus: Yes, so true

Shawn: The Cards are currently Pujols, Rolen, Carpenter, and not much else.

Daedalus: A team one game over .500 shouldn't be in second place.

Doc Scott: The Cards have had a tent-poled lineup for years.

Doc Scott: they've won with it, no problem

JinAZ: A team one game over 0.500 shouldn't win the division, but the Padres were about there last year. :)

Daedalus: What's their farm system like?

Jacci: The Cards or the Padres? Not that I know either way

Daedalus: Yeah, JinAZ, and it looks like they might be there this year, too.

JD: The NL Central is the 2006 version of the 2005 NL West ... or something like that anyway.

Daedalus: Cards

Doc Scott: it's their pitching- Ponson's bag of Ding Dongs ran out, Mulder's hurt, and Marquis is throwing meatballs

Daedalus: But the 2006 NL West is about as bad as the 2005.

Doc Scott: Reds' farm system is probably still better than the Cards'

JinAZ: Sickels rates 8 of the the cardinals prospects as a B- or better

Daedalus: Two best prospects in the minors? Yeah!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baseball shoots itself in the foot again

The deal just signed with Fox only gives them LCS rights for one league at a time. The other LCS will go to TBS, meaning people like me who have no use for cable are not going to get to watch both LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES, you know, the playoffs. Yes, not everyone sits around all the time watching mindless television - there are many, many people in this country who don't pay for cable television, believe it or not.

Screw you, MLB. Screw you Selig. You just keep finding more ways to screw up baseball.

(Yes, I happen to believe that the "national pastime" should be available to everyone in the country. Baseball should be doing everything it can to make the game more popular and reach as many people as possible. And the worst part is I think the Reds can be in there next year and it won't be on network television.)

Oh yeah, and we have to put up with 7 more years of McCarver. That is just torture.

I'm going out on a limb here

And say the NL is going to break the AL's nine game win streak this evening, in spite of A-Rod's arrogant statement today about the AL being the better league. I mean, the AL has Mark Redman. Anyway, three of the four derby finalists were NL, so HA. Although the AL has Scott Kazmir. Ouch, that hurts. Where are you now Chris Gruler? Oh, yeah, Gulf Coast League.

A bit of randomness: I have to say, I love Joe Buck. But how did he get endorsement deals? I wish I could just listen to him tonight and mute McCarver, but McCarver rarely shuts up (about himself, mostly), so I wouldn't have much sound. Can you imagine a broadcast with McCarver and Morgan? There's not enough room for the egos in your television set.

Oh yeah, I'm accepting donations of a yellow #61 Arroyo jersey... ;) Cheers, go NL.


And to think he was a replacement for Thome...Ryan Howard is a monster. He jacked out so many balls into the river during Monday's home run derby that he has me looking forward to a decade of watching him. He is, after all, only 26.

I can't remember the last time I watched a home run derby since I haven't had ESPN in years, but this year, MLB.TV was kind enough to show it online. (And maybe they were last year, too, but I can't even remember what I had for lunch today, let alone last year's derby. Oh, wait, spinach salad. With eggs, carrots, and peas. Mediterranean vinigarette.) And yes, Big Papi's longballs were looooooooooooooooooooooong. He just didn't hit as many as Howard.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I hate when St. Louis and Houston play each other

because one of them has to win. I guess I'll go for the Asstros since the Deadbirds are in first. I feel like the Reds can beat the Braves tonight, given the atrocities I've seen Atlanta commit over the past two games. There was a Dale Murphy era feeling to the quality of play, something I had nearly forgotten about with the 14 years of winning. It's a really nice feeling...

If you didn't see the best player not on the All-Star team, Carl Crawford, steal home against the Red Sox on Wednesday, see it here. Cool.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Who knew?

Mark Redman, who many are saying is the worst All-Star selection in history, just won his sixth consecutive game yesterday. Apparently he has been dominating in the last month. Mr. Krivsky, are you listening?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Being a Reds fan

As a promotion, they should pass out Prozac to the first 20,000 fans in attendence. And put that suicide hotline number up on the scoreboard. Also, they may want to stick a few extra security guards in the bullpen.

At what point do we have the distinction of having the worst pen ever? Why did we allow ourselves to think that the roster moves were going to change anything? The Sausages are .5 games behind us, we're now 2 games above .500. How do you come back from a five run deficit in the ninth inning to tie, only to have your pen blow it in the 10th? Do the relievers have no souls?

Yes, some moves were made. Will it ever be enough? With the fourth and fifth starters we have, we're not going to survive much longer without a pen. Milton is up next, and he seems to have returned to 2005 form. If I don't wake up tomorrow and find out Joe Mays was DFA'd, well, I guess there's nothing I can do about it. Sigh...

Shout out to Redleg Nation for the emoticons.

I should work in baseball

It's all I do at work, anyway. I'm watching the Nats right now in my corner office where people don't bother me. This morning, in between a free breakfast, a meeting, and a free lunch conference, I read everything on the internets about baseball. Very happy about the acquisition of Everyday Eddie and thinking he can only be an improvement over what we have now. (Who's spot on the roster will he take?) Very happy Q-Crapp McSucken was DFA'd. Very angry about Brian "Love" Shackleford's arrest for forcing his "love" on some woman. Hoping he didn't do it. Glad he was optioned to Louisville. Wonder if perhaps the problem with the bullpen are the characters who make it up. Crossing my fingers that Gosling will do well. Trying to keep up with all the roster moves today. Very happy there were so many roster moves. Wishing David Stormy Weathers would be DFA'd. Hoping JD has a very merry birthday. Sticking another pin in Voodoo Albert. Pretending our prezident isn't about to nuke Iran or Korean psycho isn't about to nuke the US. (Oh, wait, that's not baseball.)

Imagine getting paid to watch baseball, to write about baseball, to live and breathe baseball. When the Nats came to town, I seriously thought about applying for a job with the team, but then I thought I might never be able to actually watch a game, that I'd have to sit in an office while the fans roared outside and the smell of hotdogs infiltrated my senses, the glorious sensations of that beautiful game we call baseball. I wonder if the Nats are hiring now...

Sausages make roster changes after sweeping Reds

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinal:
Circumstances and a season-long slump caused the Milwaukee Brewers to make a couple of roster moves after their 13-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night.

The Brewers designated backup catcher Chad Moeller for assignment and sent starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva to Class AAA Nashville. To take their roster spots, the Brewers recalled left-hander Dana Eveland and will purchase the contract of catcher Mike Rivera.
So, let me get this straight: the Reds drop three to the Brew Crew in which the bullpen reeked worse than the Cuyahoga River, and the Brewers are the only ones who've made roster changes? We blow TWO one run leads in the last few innings last night, and the Breweres are the ones who make roster changes? Oh, wait, we made a change - we sent down one of our three good pitchers to make room for an infielder.

Does Selig pay teams to lose? Is that what's going on with Krivsky? Does he need a prince to come in and give him a kiss to wake him up?

OMG - I just noticed for the first time ever that the glove logo of the Brewers is actually an MB. In all of these years, these decades of being a baseball fan, I had never looked that closely at it.

Bullpen bullpen bullpen

Bullpen. Bullpen bullpen bullpen, bullpen bullpen. Bullpen bullpen bullpen, "Bullpen bullpen. Bullpen BULLPEN bullpen." Bullpen bullpen bullpen, bullpen bullpen. Bullpen, bullpen bullpen bullpen.

Bullpen bullpen bullpen; bullpen bullpen. Bullpen bullpen bullpen (bullpen bullpen bullpen bullpen.) Bullpen. Bullpen bullpen, bullpen bullpen bullpen. Bullpen bullpen? Bullpen: bullpen bullpen. Bullpen bullpen [bullpen] bullpen bullpen.

Bullpen bullpen bullpen, bullpen bullpen: bullshit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The New American Heritage Glossary of Baseball Terms

arroyo - 1. A deep gully cut by an intermittent stream; a dry gulch. 2. A brook; a creek. 3. A rock star pitcher who turns bad teams into contenders.

asstro - 1. An awful smell coming out of Texass. 2. Phil Garner ?!? (Freddy Sanchez? Come on!)

austin - 1. A city in Texass. 2. A type of cannon.

boone - 1. American frontiersman, folk hero, and central figure in the settlement of Kentucky. 2. To use a different lineup every night. ex. Jerry Narron booned the lineup for the entire 2006 season.

bowden - 1. A man who built the 1994-1995 Reds, the former who would have gone to the WS and the latter who went to the NLCS. 2. A man who built the 2006 Nationals, a last place team. 3. To trade for a bad and/or broken player. ex. Wayne Krivsky bowdened when he signed Joe Mays.

brennaman - 1. A Hall of Fame broadcaster and voice of the Reds for more than 30 years. 2. To tell it like it is. 3. Something constant in one's life.

bullpen - 1. A place where bulls are kept. 2. In baseball, six or seven pitchers who relieve starting pitchers. 3. Another L in the Reds' loss column.

cardinal - 1. A red North American finch. 2. A high church official, ranking just below the pope. 3. A baseball team that needs to go away.

casey - To give away something for nothing. ex. I caseyed my old computer because I didn't need it anymore.

china - 1. A massive country in Asia. 2. High-quality porcelain or ceramic ware. 3. The country from where I get my ESPN (see intellectual property rights.)

contention - 1. A striving to win in competition; rivalry. 2. A state unfamiliar to Reds fans. 3. Something you can't be in without a bullpen.

cubs fan - 1. One with an infinite amount of patience. 2. A variety of North American mammal, characterized by its blue color and migratory behavior.

disgust - 1. Profound aversion or repugnance excited by something offensive. 2. The feeling a Reds fan has towards the bullpen.

dunn - 1. A city in North Carolina. 2. A projectile resembling a missile that is shot at fans sitting in rightfield seats.

error - 1. A mistake. 2. A daily ritual practiced by ballplayers in Cincinnati.

freel - A type of sparkplug used to ignite a team's offense.

fox - 1. Any of various carnivorous mammals of the genus Vulpes, related to dogs and wolves and characteristically having upright ears, a pointed snout, and a long bushy tail. 2. To have a monopoly on all televised games on Saturday, even the ones you aren't showing.

griffey - The baseball equivalent of James Dean.

groan - 1. An utterance expressing pain or disapproval. 2. The sound a Reds fan makes when a member of the bullpen comes in.

hall - 1. A corridor or passageway in a building. 2. A mediocre Milwaukee baseball player whom the Reds make look like Babe Ruth. 3. The place where Pete Rose should be.

harang - 1. To underrate something. 2. When followed by utan, a type of monkey.

intellectual property rights - 1. A term used by corporations to justify a monopoly on something. 2. Something to protect bloggers from having their ideas stolen.

laa - To change the name of something and call it something incredibly long and pretentious and still not fool anyone.

larue - 1. French for "the street." 2. To cry and complain about a lack of playing time. ex. Jason larued when David Ross got the start.

larue line - (formerly Mendoza line) A .200 batting average.

larussa - 1. A type of demon. 2. The mafia. ex. You'd win, too, if you had larussa threatening to kill you after a loss.

livan - 1. To pitch a million innings in a season. 2. To throw a 65 mph curve ball and watch the batter swing three times before it gets to the plate. 3. Something I wish Hernandez would do more often with baserunners.

lizard - 1. Any of numerous reptiles of the suborder Sauria or Lacertilia, characteristically having a scaly elongated body, movable eyelids, four legs, and a tapering tail. 2. To not score runs for your pitcher. ex. The Reds lizarded Ramirez and handed him his 500th loss after only giving up two runs.

mazzone - 1. To take credit for the pitching performances of your Hall of Fame staff over a long period of time. 2. To nervously rock back and forth hoping no one finds out you don't really know what you're doing.

phillips - 1. A type of lightbulb. 2. A type of lightbulb for the Reds.

play two - It's raining.

rain delay - The signal of the start of an episode of M*A*S*H.

ryan zimmerman - 1. The next Brooks Robinson. 2. My future husband.

selig - A national disgrace.

steinbrenner - Satan

suckiness - 1. The condition of performing awfully. 2. Joe Mays. 3. The Reds bullpen. 4. The Kansas City Royals. 5. Jim Bowden's new contract. 6. Phil Garner's All-Star selection capabilities.

voodoo - The mechanism used to make the Cardinals lose.

womack - A variety of North American mammel characterized by its small size, slippery hands, and inability to swing a bat. Also known for its wandering.

wow - 1. An outstanding success. 2. Dunn's game winning grand slam. 3. Griffey's 17th home run that left the yard.

yankee - 1. A native or inhabitant of a northern U.S. state, especially a Union soldier during the Civil War. 2. An American 3. One of several types of demons known for wearing pinstripes and greatly contributing to the income gap in America. 4. The root of all evil.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Reflections on Liberty

Happy 4th! Welcome to the soapbox!

I have an aversion to large crowds, with a few exceptions, like baseball games, where everyone has their own seat and their own space. Still, my aversion to crowds keeps me at home today instead of down on the Mall with the million other people who are melting in the 100 degree weather, a million people who are wearing red, white, and blue, waving little flags, and celebrating the gift of freedom.

Our country is unique in that it celebrates its Independence Day with picnics and friends and family rather than military parades and government-sanctioned gatherings. We get to watch baseball games (I thought of going to the Nats game, but it is roasting out) and root, root, root for the hometeam if we choose to do so. We can go swimming by clean(er) beaches and read whatever books we want, no matter how offensive to some people. We can take refuge from the heat inside our airconditioned dwellings and not think twice about the electricity going out. Nobody tells us what kind of clothing we can wear - shorts, tank tops, bikinis - those are all fine. We can criticize our government when it screws up. It is, after all, a government of, for, and by the people, not some uncontrollable entity about which we can do nothing. The only way government can control us is if we sit around and don't pay attention. (And tsk, tsk to those of you who don't.)

In the past few years, we've let some of those ideals slip. We've become complacent in giving away some of those freedoms on which this country was founded, all in the name of "security." As Benjamin Franklin, one of the great men who bestowed the gift of freedom upon us, once said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." Today, I hope people will reflect upon the liberty they've been given. Vow never to let it slip away. That flag means everything, but you have to remember that flag isn't just about those who've died for it, it's for the men (and the women behind the men) who created the greatest document every written, the US Constitution (read it!) It's for those who worked to end slavery, who pushed for labor laws, who stood beside MLK to fight for civil rights so that none in America are treated as second class citizens. It's for the inventors, the scientists, the doctors, those who have propelled America to the top of innovation, technology, and progress. It's for the Irish who built America with their labor, the Italians, the Poles, the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Ethiopians, Hispanics, the globe... It's for teachers, farmers, and yes, even baseball players, who provide us with entertainment, for in our prosperous society, we can afford to spend time and money on leisure.

The ideas that this country espouses - liberty, freedom from tyranny, equality of opportunity - these aren't solely American ideas. These are global ideas, human ideas, deserved by each and every person on this Earth who has the good fortune of taking a breath of precious air. These ideas are what made America the dream of so many who wanted to escape tyranny, poverty, who wanted a better life for themselves and their families. We can't forget that. We can't forget that nearly all of us came from somewhere else. We're the lucky ones, not the better ones. We've been blessed with the gift of life in a free and prosperous country, and none of us should ever take that for granted. Celebrate. Celebrate liberty. Celebrate life!

And with that being said, I must watch Germany crush Italy in the world's game.
(Although those Italians are really nice to look at.)


UPDATE: Well, now, there's no one left to root for but France. Germany, it was a heck of a ride.

Uecker has a stalker


Violence is stupid

When draft time came around, I kind of wondered what ever happened to Brien Taylor, the high school kid that got a million and a half dollar signing bonus from the Yankees so many years ago. I don't recall the fight that ruined his career, but New York Daily News has a story on it.

More pathetic than sad.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Dear Mr. Krivsky,

I am not watching another game until you do something about the bullpen. None of those people have any business wearing a Major League uniform.


One pissed off fan.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

One All-Star representative?


Last year at this time

The Nationals had just finished an incredible June in which they only lost six games and were sitting somewhat comfortably atop the NL East. But the bottom fell out this time last year, and they couldn't even salvage enough of their incredible first half to win a wild card, completely losing it in the last two weeks of the season. It was a magical season, improbable as it was, one of the greatest baseball seasons I have ever experienced. I have every ticket stub of the 15+ games I attended, the Opening Day program, the Opening Day medallion, and several photos that one day I will put together and have framed as a daily reminder of that magic.

My, what a difference a year makes. Just a few weeks ago, the Nats had gotten to within four games of .500 and I was irrationally optimistic, like maybe, just maybe, the reverse of last year would happen and they'd end up playing incredible ball in the second half of the year instead of the first. But now, 14 games under .500 and sitting solidly in last place, that optimism has dissipated, and the electricity is all but a glorious memory. But hey, I can devote all of my energy to my FIRST PLACE Reds!

And remember, Nats fans: Jim Bowden is not completely incompetent. He did put together the 1994-1995 Reds, the former who could have won the World Series had there been one that year, and the latter who went to the NLCS. (Stupid Braves.)

Baseball Spin

From today's St. Louis Dispatch:
The "we're-still-in-first-place" Cardinals encountered another (false) bottom Saturday night against the going-nowhere Kansas City Royals.

What might have passed for inspiration instead became another installment of a division leader's six-week slide.
So that's what they've resorted to? Trying to justify their suckiness with a phrase of desperation? They've just lost a series to the Royals! And look what else they have to say to convince themselves they don't suck:
The Cardinals remain percentage points ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central but have retreated to seven games over .500 (43-36) for the first time since May 8.
Um...who cares about the percentage points? At the end of the season, everyone plays the same amount of games. Call it what it is, a virtual TIE FOR FIRST PLACE WITH THE CINCINNATI REDS.

Bwahaaahaaahaaa! Come on KC, sweep the Deadbirds! Here's another pin for Voodoo Albert!

Update: David Stormy Weathers is now officially one full game behind the Deadbirds in the standings.