Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wayne's cousins

Saw this sign on a street here in Veliko Turnovo. Thought it was funny.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hi, still alive

Not liking this Boston winning stuff. Just watched the second game. No good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An American ruined it

I didn't get up at 3am to watch the game last night. A bunch of us went out and I think maybe we got home about that time. I decided I'd watch the game today.

Unfortunately, an American was on the internet and read a recount of the game aloud to his friend, so I know what happens. I have the game on now but it is ruined.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I just found out

I'm very remorseful.

I've decided I'm rooting for the Rockies and will be up at 3am tomorrow to watch it live.

Very sad.

Very sad.

(To cheer me up, though, I've discovered church ads in the google adsense space. Funny stuff, given it's a sports site.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A brief conversation

Last night I ran out of clean clothes and had to war my long sleeved Reds shirt - the kind they wear under their uniforms - to dinner. There was an Aussie, a Scot, two Japanese, a Quebecois, and our two Bulgarian hosts. The Reds shirt has "Reds" on the neck ans was sticking out form my sweater. The Japanese girl asked me about it, because she thought it meant Communists. I really got a kick out of that and explained my love for baseball and the Cincinnati Reds, telling her that the team once did change its name to Redlegs during the red scare. We then began to talk about baseball. She loves Ichiro. Her boyfriend is also a fan of the game and they root for the Yomiuri Giants.

The Quebecois had been a fan of Les Expos, and I talked of having had the season ticket package for the Nationals.

It was nice to talk about baseball.

Go Tribe! (Can't believe they had to go to game 7!)

Friday, October 19, 2007


Sitting at a cafe in this very old imperial city, my very own Left Bank in another century, another millennium, watching the BMWs and the Trabants go by. The table umbrellas say Heineken, the coffee is Italian, and the political flyers on the tables say Bulgarian elections are just around the corner.

My laptop has decided it does not like Bulgaria or something, as it hasn't started in two days, which means I have not been able to watch the rest of the ALCS. I know the Rockies are going to the World Series. I know Cleveland was up 2-1 and I know two games have been played since I last checked. Please don't tell me what happened - I still hope to watch the archived games. Maybe the laptop just needs a little rest - it's not the first time this has happened. The weather here has been so beautiful, so perfect, that I would not have spent time inside on a computer anyway. Besides, isn't one of the reasons I took this trip because I was sick of staring at a computer screen all day long?

Still, baseball is in my heart. I am thinking right now about playoff excitement, the roaring crowds, the crisp autumn air (not Coco), the little white sphere sailing through the October night. I am thinking about that beautiful green only a baseball field provides. My mind is full of the bright colors, the reds and blues (and purples?) of uniforms adorned with brand new LCS or World Series patches glowing under the incandescent stadium lights.

I will watch the World Series. The place I am staying has a computer, so even if mine has gone to the electronics heaven (or hell, which is where mine should go), I'll be getting up at 3am to watch! I just hope the Tribe gets there to make it worth it. I'm sure Fox is doing everything in its power to try to get the Sox to the Series for ratings. To Fox I say, get rid of the extra crap, the excessive commercials, your horrible announcers, your stupid graphics, and your year long pregame shows and people will watch.

Go Tribe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I have never been this apathetic about an NLCS. Go Tribe!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I just had to make a brief comment about the hysterical reaction of so many Reds fans to the hiring of Dusty Baker. GET A GRIP.

That is all. For now.

The Global Bankees

Took this photo at an outdoor exhibit of photos taken from the sky. It made me really happy to see it, even if it is the picture of evil.

The exhibit was awesome. Check out some of the photographer's shots on his website Yann Arthus Bertrand.

What is it, you ask? What could possibly be this green, oh beautiful green?

Here's a closer look.

It's an overhead shot of an outfielder in Yankee Stadium.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Deep Thoughts - by Jack Frost

If the Rockies use a humidor, could the Reds freeze their baseballs to give them a park factor advantage?

If the Tribe doesn't make it to the World Series, I may not make the effort to watch

I'm sitting in an internet cafe (cafe is more bar in Europe than cafe) and finally got my computer to boot (took me over an hour because it does not like to travel). I have last night's Tribe/Sox game online. I've managed to avoid looking at a score, so it doesn't matter if it already happened. My body is so confused about time and date anyway, so it feels like this is happening now, and I am just as excited as if it were happening live.

Although the Red Sox just took a 4-1 lead, so I'm not so happy. 5-1.

You know, I don't even mind watching mostly still framed video because the connection is so slow, because it's baseball! Anyway, I thought I'd write about my limited ability to watch October baseball.

Things I'm not missing:

10. Rockies vs. D'backs. Are these even MLB teams? Further making America forget the National League exists. (And is better.)
9. Drooling over "The Sox" by "Red Sox Nation Est. 2004."
8. The same freaking commercials every 15 minutes.
7. Sabathia's blubber.
6. Yoooooooooooooooooouk!!!!
5. Celebrity interviews on Fox. Yeah, Steven King is scary looking. We get it. Every time you do it. Every game.
4. Cell phone talkers in the stands.
3. Good internet connections that don't give you a bunch of still frames instead of streaming video.
2. Jeanie freaking Zlasko, Gamebreaks, half hour overproduced pregame shows, unnecessary graphics, and all of that other Faux crap they have on their broadcasts.
1. Tim McCarver.

What I miss the most:

10. English
9. The guy with the colored hats at the Jake (when they get there.)
8. Being able to overhear conversations about previous night's game on the street.
7. Not having to hear techno/house/trance/dance/minimal/whateveryouwanttocallit while watching a game at a bar.
6. Bars with heat when it's freaking cold and rainy outside.
5. Grady Sizemore.
4. Shots of Fenway Park.
3. Putting up with shitty Fox broadcasting because I love baseball that much.
2. Watching with family and friends.
1. Live baseball. Duh.

Five benefits of my situation:

5. Very fast games (due to fast forwarding.)
4. No "Red Sox Nation Est. 2004 fans" around.
3. Get to drink really good beer while watching.
2. Fast forwarding through Tim McCarver if I get annoyed.
1. Fast forwarding through commercials.

I love the fact that Bulgarians mind their own business. I've been to several other countries - United States included - where a woman sitting in a bar alone at 8pm on a Saturday night watching a still framed baseball game on a computer would be stared at, even frowned at. Here, people don't look. I suppose it is partially a result of the whole Soviet crap, when you had to mind your own business and kept to yourself because your neighbor would tell on you if you did anything that could be perceived as weird.

Maybe I should not have watched this game, since it is 7-1 in 5. Sabathia gone. 8-1. I groaned loud enough to warrant a stare. How can you be so crappy in Game 1 of the LCS!?!

Ahh...hearing the Reds mentioned in the context of the '76 World Series victory is pleasure...may we soon have another of those. With...Walt Jocketty as Wayne Krivsky's boss?!???? :) I can barely contain my excitement just thinking about it. Imagine - Krivskly's talent for finding offensive diamonds in the rough with Jocketty's ability to put together a bullpen? Can we just start 2008 now?

Of course, Jocketty has to actually be hired first. But the rumors about him coming to the Reds have persisted since late spring, and well, you know, he left the Hated Deadbirds and all...

Go Tribe!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Go Tribe!

A little disappointed that Blogger is in English here in Bulgaria - not like Hungary. Oh well.

I didn't get a chance to watch yesterday's NLCS. Thing is, I just don't care who wins. I suppose I want the Rockies a little more than the D'backs because they've never won, but it all doesn't matter because I am rooting for the Tribe all the way. I am going to try to watch the game tonight - it starts at 1am, so it may be doable.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Greetings from Budapest

I didn't realize Blogger turned into whatever language is spoken in the country you are writing from. Good thing I know where things are, because I certainly wouldn't know that mentes means publish.

So yeah, I've been meaning to write about my plans for awhile, but you know, when you quit your job and go abroad, there is a lot of planning involved, even if you are not a planner.

I got on a plane on Sunday, caught some of the Boston game in Cincy and some of the Cleveland game in Detroit, but it wasn't until just now that I found out that the Tribe was for sure in the playoffs. Thank god. I hate the Bankees and wish I could have seen the dejected looks on their faces.

Anyway, this post is not about baseball. I have to say where I am and what I am doing. I am going to be in Bulgaria for the next two in a half months starting Thursday. Why, you ask? Well, I just had to take a break from office life, with the whole monotony of fluorescent lights and computer screens and all. I'm not going to be doing much except tutoring in English on my own schedule, so it is pretty much a very long vacation. But putting my reasoning aside, I really am excited about being on European soil for the first time in nearly eight years.

I won't get into the reasons I am in Budapest right now, but I am here for another day. Right now I am STILL WAITING ON MY LUGGAGE and am sick of wearing the same clothes I have for two days! This is why I am posting now - that, and I wanted to say I am not abandoning this blog, but posting is going to be sporadic in the next week until I get to Veliko Tarnova, the city I will be in Bulgaria.

(Yay! My bag just arrived! Clean clothes! Woohoo!)

I will be continuing this blog as regularly as I have, as I've said before, and I especially look forward to the off season, which, if our GM is competent, should be a big one. But I invite you to follow my travels at my new blog Bulgariarox. There I will be chronicling all of my adventures and non-adventures as I seek something more than office life, something that can make me feel alive like baseball does. I will upload as many photos as I possibly can and hope you will all visit and enjoy them. I realized today that even as an amateur photographer with a layman's camera, I have a "style" of my own. It certainly was a beautiful day for photos today.

Yeah, I plan on watching the LCSes and the World Series even though I'll have to watch them in the wee hours of the morning. Right now, though, I am so excited to finally be in Europe after such a long absence that it is the only thing on my mind, so good thing the next games aren't for a couple of days!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

TBS reviewed

After four days (Monday's one game playoff between Colorado and San Diego included), I thought I'd write about TBS' coverage of the playoffs. Lucky for me, I am at my parents' house in Ohio for the week, and they have DirectTV. Back in DC, where I didn't buy cable, I would not have been able to watch it, at least not without using a international proxy server to get MLB.TV.

Top ten things I like about TBS' playoff coverage:

10. They aren't Fox or E$PN.
9. TBS has awesome camera shots from around the park and knows exactly when to use them. None of this zeroing in on a particular fan or a guy on the bench - we get to see more of the park and get a sense of what it is like to be there.
8. TBS doesn't dwell on the celebrities in the crowd. Celebrity interviews are quick and to the point. The only reason Steven King was on camera yesterday was because he was sitting behind the kid who caught Manny's foul ball and robbed the Angels' catcher of it. Great kid, funny stuff.
7. I don't know how many people noticed this, but at yesterday's Indians game, there was a guy who was sitting behind the lefthanded batters wearing an Indians cap - only we didn't know it was an Indians cap because someone in the studio kept coloring it with bright fluorescent colors. At first it was bright yellow, and I thought it a terrible distraction but then it changed to orange, red, blue, and pink throughout the game, and my mom and I couldn't stop laughing at it. Apparently the guy doing it got into trouble, because the last few innings just the Indian's cap was atop his head.
6. The announcers calling out LeBron James for being a frontrunner when he showed up with his Bankees cap. And then he didn't show up at all for the next game! Ha!
5. The way they show the scorecard line when a batter comes up to the plate.
4. Chip Caray, Tony Gwynn, and Bob Brenley. Funny when they need to be, don't sit there and talk about things that aren't relevant to the game, don't talk about "whenIplayed," and aren't Tim McCarver or Joe Morgan. The other announcers are good, too. They get that people don't watch baseball to hear them.
3. There aren't commercial breaks between every pitching change and you actually get to see some of what is happening at the game - kinda makes you remember what it's like being AT the game.
2. Their Game Breaks are done BETWEEN innings rather than during them. This is a pet peeve of mine, when Fox goes into their Game Breaks while the game is still going and shows a split screen with the game so tiny you can't see what's going on.
1. They show THE GAME rather than the announcers or interviewees in the booth or talking baseballs or all of that excess crap that Fox and E$PN think people want to see. When they do show the announcers, which is only a couple of times a game, it's only for ten seconds or so before they get back to the game. And when Craig Sagen goes into the crowd, it's very brief, to the point, funny, and you don't miss the game.

And the things I don't like (I couldn't think of ten):

5. TBS is a cable station, limiting the number of people who can watch the games.
4. There's only one October and Dane Cook. The Dane Cook who said that before the Red Sox were the Red Sox they were the Boston Braves and they scouted his dad in 1952. I wonder which store he bought his Red Sox cap from in 2004?
3. Frank TV commercials. Although that impression of Bush distinguishing between home runs and inside the park home runs is pretty funny.
2. Craig Sagen's wardrobe. Although the announcers making fun of it is pretty funny. ("Where'd he get that outfit - from Prince?")
1. The stupid 9 feet arrow graphic they use to show a baserunner's lead. There is no reason for it and it reeks of Fox or E$PN.

Fox and E$PN could really learn something from TBS' producers. I commend them for doing an excellent job.

Go Tribe!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dear Bud

I'm not sure why this is tough for you to understand, but listen up. Baseball is not at the height of its popularity. Those "shattered" attendance records? They have nothing to do with how many people are actually going to the games and everything to do with corporate season tickets. Corporations don't buy season tickets because they like baseball; they buy them to beer and hotdog their clients. In other words, it's something for their clients to do.

Bud, if you counted the actual attendance - you know, the big butts in the seats - you would realize that baseball is not increasing in popularity. It's actually the reverse of that. Americans think baseball is "boring."

I was at a Nationals game this year in which not more than 10,000 people were there, yet the announced attendance was 25K+. I remember this game in particular because there was a strange echo bouncing around the emptiness of the stadium. I went to several other games where actual attendance was about half of what was announced.

Please start living in reality before you destroy baseball. If you don't do something to increase the popularity of the game and change public perception that baseball is a "boring" sport, then twenty or thirty years from now, even season tickets won't be enough to save the game.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Go Tribe!

I attended yesterday's Reds game - it sure was nice to be at GABp, even if the real Reds weren't on the field. I'd post pictures, but my mom has dial-up, and Blogger takes long enough to upload photos with broadband. I actually have to go back to DC this week to pick up some stuff that wouldn't fit in my car but that I didn't want to get rid of, so if I can't find a wireless connection somewhere around Sidney, Ohio, I'll just carry the laptop back to DC and upload there.

So we find ourselves sitting around trying to find surrogate teams to root for in October for the twelfth season in a row, eh? Good thing we have Joey Votto, the hero of yesterday's game. Man, can that kid rake! It is so exciting to have some of the best young talent in all of baseball. Jay Bruce was presented with his Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year trophy before yesterday's game. They said it was the first time a Reds player has ever won it. With all due respect to HOFer Ken Griffey, Jr., next year's outfield should be Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, and Josh Hamilton. Just the thought of that makes me smile. With Votto at first - who was voted International League rookie of the year and presented with that trophy after Bruce's presentation - Brandon Phillips at second (or perhaps short?) - who was presented with a framed 30/30 award and a congrats message from Barry Larkin - and Edwin Encarnacion - who kicked it up a notch after his demotion to AAA, we really have something special on the field. Not that our offense - which was fourth in the league until all of our outfielders got hurt with a week still to play - wasn't already good!

So I'm going to root, root, root for the Tribe this year and hope that a rotation of Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Cueto, and Maloney (or Belisle) and a bullpen of Burton, Bray, Weathers, and a healthy Guardado and Majewski can catapult us into October next year.

Oh, and Mets and Sausage fans, you have my sympathies. I was really disappointed with the Mets losing yesterday - they sure are a fun team to watch.