Thursday, November 29, 2007

123 Days

Usually, my baseball restlessness begins much later than this. I don't get out Bull Durham or Field of Dreams until January. This year, however, I am squirming in my seat, and it's not even December!

Seems to me around Reds cyberland, others are feeling the same way, all due, of course, to Mr. Castellini's demonstrated commitment to winning this year with the Cordero and Baker signings. The moves are winning over the national crowd, too, judging from the column by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verdducci proclaiming the Reds to be next season's 2007 Rockies. Seeing this article serves as fuel for the restlessness.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 14 - 77 days from now. The first Spring Training game is February 28 - 91 days from now. And the holy day itself is on March 31 - 123 days from now. That's a lot of life between then and now! Look at everything that must pass before we can see the glorious light of Opening Day, when we can celebrate the praises of the rebirth of everything, when color once again exists and darkness drowns in life!

Nov 30 - International Computer Security Day - I'm not making this up. Also St. Andrew's Day, the patron saint of Scotland. Slainte!
Dec 1 - World AIDS Day - A disease that is wiping out an entire continent is also found in 1 in 20 people in our own nation's capital.
Dec 2 - International Day for the Abolition of Slavery - Yeah, it still exists, and it's actually making a pretty good comeback thanks to global corporatism. This is also the first day of Advent, the official church start of the Christmas season.
Dec 3 - International Day for People with Disability - Though they call it "international," it is only "observed" by people in Australia.
Dec 4 - First day of Chanukkah - I have a little dradle, I made it out of clay, and when its dry and ready, with dradle I shall play, dradle dradle dradle I made you out of clay, dradle dradle dradle with dradle I shall play.
Dec 5 - Day of the Ninja - Yeah, I don't know either.
Dec 6 - St. Nicholas Day - The day that started all of this gift giving madness that has descended upon us. Also, my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday, Jennifer!
Dec 7 - Pearl Harbor Day - A day that will live in infamy.
Dec 8 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception - Contrary to ignorant belief, this is NOT the day Christ was conceived but when Mary was conceived free of sin. How would she have conceived Jesus on the 8th and had him on the 25th? Also: Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (Bikarami). It's a Sikh holiday. I just liked the sound of it.
Dec 9 - Independence Day for Tanzania - Go ride some zebras.
Dec 10 - Human Rights Day - Get out your copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's a good read. Also Nobel Prize Day. Yay, Al!
Dec 11 - Proclamation of the Republic of Burkina Faso. The land of upright people. Seriously, that's what it means. Personally, I like the name Upper Volta better. Kind of sounds like it's full of robots or something. Or at least those people with weird ears and horns and stuff that you see in sci-fi movies.
Dec 12 - Agou - Arroyo (Manga la mer) - Voodoo holiday. Take that, Albert.
Dec 13 - St. Lucy's Day in Sweden - I have no idea who St. Lucy is, but I'd hate to be in Sweden at this time of year.
Dec 14 - Chingshan Wang's Birthday - Taiwan. Happy birthday to Chingshan!
Dec 15 - Bill of Rights Day - Did you know we had a Bill of Rights Day? Can we get off work?
Dec 16 - Boston Tea Party Day - Today they'd be called "terrorists." Also: first day of Posadas, a Mexican festival celebrating Mary and Joseph's journey into Bethlehem - not a certain aged Bankee$ catcher who signed a four year deal today. Also: Kazakhstan Independence Day. You like?
Dec 17 - Special Holiday - Solomon Islands. Real creative name there. Hey, I know - why don't we have a day and just call it Holiday. That would be fun.
Dec 18 - Arafa - Afghanistan, a day when everyone meets in the desert to see each other. At the end of the day they go throw rocks at Satan. So now you know - Satan is in Afghanistan. Personally, I thought he was in Washington.
Dec 19 - Asara B'Tevet - A day when a lot of wonderful dishes go uncooked and there are some hungry Jewish people around. (Oh, what I wouldn't do for a Jewish deli right now...)
Dec 20 - Eid Al Adha - The feast of the sacrifice, a Muslim commemoration of Abraham's sacrifice of his son to God. Lots of dead goats at this time.
Dec 21 - Winter Solstice - Ick. I hate winter. Also Yule, the pagan holiday from where we get our Christmas traditions like trees and such.
Dec 22 - Winter Solstice in Hong Kong - I wonder if there are any hardcore pagans out there who hop on a plane and celebrate the solstice twice?
Dec 23 - Festivus - The Reds really disappointed me this year! The bullpen stunk! Juan Castro, you need to retire! No bagel, no bagel, no bagel!
Dec 24 - Christmas Eve - Almost better than Christmas Day because of the anticipation.
Dec 25 - Christmas Day - Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Milad Mubarak! Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr! Froehliche Weihnachten! Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay. Lots of baseball stuff appears from under my family's tree!
Dec 26 - St. Stephen's Day - The first Christian martyr, revered by the Irish. St. Stephen's Green is a nice park in Dublin. Joyce's Stephen Dedalus is named for him. Also: Boxing Day, which is just a stupid name for the day after Christmas. Also: Kwanzaa, a made up holiday.
Dec 27-30 - That dead few days when a lot of people don't go to work and a lot of people who do go don't actually work.
Dec 31 - Amateur Drunk Night - I would never step foot in a bar on this night.
Jan 1 - New Year's Day - Kind of boring because everything is closed, but at least you get the day off. Eat your pork and sauerkraut for good luck.
Jan 2 - Bridge Day - New Caldonea. I'm sure that one spans across the whole day.
Jan 3 - Revolution Day - People's Uprising - Burkina Faso. Are they sure it isn't the "people's uprighting?" Also: Iowa caucuses. Let the hatred begin.
Jan 4 - Trivia Day - Gansta or Ganster?
Jan 5 - Dia de la Toma - Spain. The anniversary of the capture or taking possession of Granada by the army of Ferdinand and Isabella. Seems to be a lot of bell ringing on this day.
Jan 6 - Epiphany - We three kings and stuff. Traditionally a day when people give their loved ones twelve drummers drumming.
Jan 7 - Orthodox Christmas - The Byzantines just HAD to be different. Also: St. Ivan's Day here in Bulgaria, the patron saint of the country.
Jan 8 - National Takai Day - Niue. I don't know what a Takai is. I don't know where Niue is. But it has to be better than celebrating Elvis' birthday. Also: New Hampshire primary. Is it over yet?
Jan 9 - Al-Hijra - When Muhammed got chased from Mecca to Medina.
Jan 10 - My birthday - Since I am no longer in my twenties, I am no longer protected by the invincibility of youth, so I'll freak out.
Jan 11 - International Thank You Day - No kidding. Because we're all still trying to get our thank you notes written from Christmas.
Jan 12 - National Pharmacist Day - Because we should celebrate people who prey on the health of human beings.
Jan 13 - Defenders of Freedom Day - Lithuania. The name of this day sounds suspiciously like talking points from this administration...
Jan 14 - Ratification Day - Apparently this day exists in America, too.
Jan 15 - Fiesta del Nino Perdido - Huancavelica, Peru. That must have been one bratty child that they celebrate it being lost.
Jan 16 - Prohibition Remembrance Day - The most ridiculous period in the history of America has a remembrance day? Let's go out to our local watering holes and celebrate!
Jan 17 - Birthday of Al Capone - Ironically the day after Prohibition Remembrance Day.
Jan 18 - Maintenance Day - USA. Don't ask, I don't know.
Jan 19 - Ashura - Martyrdom of Imam Hussein - Shia holiday.
Jan 20 - One year until Inauguration Day - Can't come quick enough.
Jan 21 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - If there were more people like Dr. King in the world, maybe it wouldn't be so insane.
Jan 22 - Tu B'Shevat - Jewish New Year for Trees. Sounds more like a New Age holiday to me. Just how many new years do you guys have?
Jan 23 - John Hancock's birthday - Note to self: when signing important, history making documents, write really big for immortality.
Jan 24 - Economic Liberation Day - Togo. I'm sure living in poverty makes you feel economically liberated.
Jan 25 - Burns Night - Scotland. Haggis is disgusting.
Jan 26 - Australia Day - Well, duh. Let's have some shrimp on the barbie. Mmm...shrimp on the barbie...
Jan 27 - National Activity Professionals Day - If you are an activity professional, kindly write me and let me know what it is that you do.
Jan 28 - Democracy Day - Rwanda. Because you're a democracy if you have elections!
Jan 29 - Martyrs Memorial Day - Nepal. My favorite restaurant in DC was a Nepalese place. Oh, was the spinach and potato dish beautiful! It closed down, though, as it was too close to Dupont Circle and all of the chain stores pushed the costs of rent through the roof.
Jan 30 - FDR's birthday - Now there's a guy who changed the course of history.
Jan 31 - Nauru Independence Day - No, I cannot point to Nauru on a map. It's somewhere in the Pacific. Also: Nolan Ryan's birthday.
Feb 1 - Imbolc/Oimelc/Brigid - Some pagan thing. People will probably go out to the woods, light fires, chant some nonsense, drink fake blood, and wear long, flowing dresses and robes that blow in the cold January wind.
Feb 2 - Groundhog Day - Will it be six more weeks until spring or six more weeks of winter? Also, my Uncle Matt's birthday. Happy Birthday! Also: National Change Your Windshield Wipers Day. Seriously, shouldn't you know to do that anyway? Don't answer that.
Feb 3 - Bean Scattering Day - Shinto holiday. Throw those beans! (But not Bean Stringfellow, Cordero's agent.)
Feb 4 - Commencement of the Armed Struggle - Angola. Don't most countries celebrate the ENDS of their wars?
Feb 5 - Mardi Gras! - Fat Tuesday, when people indulge in hedonistic pleasures in a manner that surely would disgust the one who gets the next forty days of their attention. Theoretically, anyway. Also: my mom's birthday. Happy birthday! Also: Super Tuesday - Presidential candidates will be decided.
Feb 6 - Ash Wednesday - When Protestants wonder why some people's foreheads are so dirty. Marks the start of a 40 day period called Lent when Christians make "sacrifices" like giving up chocolate. Also: Bob Marley Day and Waitangi Day.
Feb 7 - Chinese New Year - Oh man, egg rolls sound good right now. I know there's a Chinese restaurant somewhere in this town...
Feb 8 - Boy Scout Day - Are there still Boy Scouts? I thought kids these days sat around playing video games or watching television and not developing bone mass that is going to cause a massive outbreak of osteoporosis fifty years from now?
Feb 9 - Feast of St. Maron - Lebanon. Mmm...feast. Hummus, falafel, babaganoush...
Feb 10 - Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck - Because it's always good to celebrate transportation accidents, right?
Feb 11 - Vasanta Panchami/Saraswati Puja - Hindi holiday. Birthday of the Goddess of Wisdom. Wisdom is good. There's not enough of it in the world.
Feb 12 - Lincoln's birthday - Get rid of pennies!
Feb 13 - Jerry Springer's birthday - What do you get when you cross a black transsexual with a KKK wizard? An ex-mayor of Cincinnati.
Feb 14 - St. Valentine's Day - A holy day ruined by Hallmark. Also: PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING! Also: Winemaker's Day in Bulgaria. See why I like it here?
Feb 15 - National Flag Day of Canada - Thank you, Canada, for Arcade Fire. And for Joey Votto.
Feb 16 - Kim Jong-il's Birthday - How many people will he kill on this day?
Feb 17 - Random Acts of Kindness Day - Because you can't just be nice all year around? Also: National Public Science Day, because science is something you "believe in," right?
Feb 18 - President's Day - Stuffed between Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, I'm not sure what the point of this being a federal holiday except maybe to give people a day off work so they can go to those big mattress sales at those stores where you never see anyone. Why don't we have Congress Day or Supreme Court Justices Day? Maybe we should - one in March and one in August when there are no federal holidays.
Feb 19 - National Flag Day - Turkmenistan. This year, their dictator will finally get around to putting his face on the flag. It's everywhere else in the country.
Feb 20 - Kurt Cobain's birthday - He was murdered, I tell you!
Feb 21 - Lantern Festival - China. I still can't believe Beijing got the Olympics.
Feb 22 - George Washington's birthday - I cannot tell a lie - you can't throw anything across the Potomac.
Feb 23 - Defender of the Fatherland Day - Russia. Who's gonna defend the journalists?
Feb 24 - Día de la Bandera - Mexico. Speaking of Banderas, Antonio's here in Bulgaria shooting a new movie.
Feb 25 - Norriture Rituelle des sources têt d' l'eau - Voodoo. A day when I will pour water over Voodoo Albert's head to drown his baseball skills.
Feb 26 - Liberation Day - Kuwait. The Iraq war that was justified.
Feb 27 - Dominican Republic Independence Day - Our new closer's homeland.
Feb 29 - Leap Day - One of the most bizarre necessities of human civilization. I wonder if Hallmark makes Happy Leap Day cards. Probably. They never miss an opportunity to make a buck or a billion.
Mar 1 - National Pig Day - Oh, I could really, really go for some Burbank's pulled pork right now. Also: St. David's Day, the patron saint of Wales. I don't care, I want the pork!
Mar 2 - Texas Independence Day - Good riddance. I hate the Asstros.
Mar 3 - Casimir Pulaski Day - Chicago holiday real Chub$ fans should know. Like the Sufjan Stevens song. Also: Doll Day in Japan. What if you have pediophobia? Also: a National Day in Bulgaria. Beer will be drunk.
Mar 4 - Town Meeting Day - Vermont. Shouldn't they meet more than once a year to run their towns?
Mar 5 - National Tree Planting Day - Iran. Because Iran really gives a damn about the planet.
Mar 6 - Alamo Day - Traitors!
Mar 7 - Anniversary of Bell's patent for the telephone. If only he could see his invention now. Wonder what his ringtone would be?
Mar 8 - International Women's Day - Because we're people, too!
Mar 9 - Baron Bliss Day - In Belize. I don't know what it is, but it sounds cool!
Mar 10 - Dry Season Celebration - In Myanmar. What happens if it rains on the celebration?
Mar 11 - Anniversary of Gorbachev coming to power. Fools were we to believe Russia would ever become a democratic state.
Mar 12 - Girl Scout Day - Mmm...Thin Mints...
Mar 13 - Revolutionary Attack on the Presidential Palace Day in Cuba - Castro's dead. Get over it.
Mar 14 - World Book Day - Turn off your freaking television! And Harry Potter books are for children! Read about Pi since it's also Pi Day!
Mar 15 - St. Lazarus' Day - Celebrated by Bulgarians. More beer surely involved. Also: Ides of March. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and leads your friends to kill you.
Mar 16 - Palm Sunday - I worship palm trees. I wish I could see them now instead of seeing my breath. Also: Freedom of Information Day. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right.
Mar 17 - Guinness Day - The only commercialized holy day I have no problem with. Except for the Irish bars who charge a cover to get in. Yeah, you, 4 P's. And they raise the price of a pint by $2 to $7! What greedy pigs! This is about my favorite day of the year, but it sucks in DC. I've had the good fortune of being in Dublin twice for the day - awesome! Oh yeah, and that St. Patrick guy? They say he drove the snakes out of Ireland. He also introduced a big snake to the island.
Mar 18 - Recovery Day - Where's the aspirin?
Mar 19 - My grandma's birthday. Happy birthday! Also: St. Joseph's Day.
Mar 20 - Big day for holidays - Purim is celebrated by Jews, Muhammed's birthday is celebrated by Muslims, Petroleum Day is celebrated by Iran, and World Frog Day is celebrated by the whole world. Isn't it?
Mar 21 - VERNAL EQUINOX! SPRING! LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL! - Also: Good Friday and the Persian New Year, among other things.
Mar 22 - North American Wildlife Celebration - I'll pass on meeting a bear in the woods, thank you.
Mar 23 - Easter Sunday - What is supposed to be the holiest day in the Christian year and the reason for Christianity's existence is celebrated with giant rabbits bringing eggs and chocolates. I blame the dental industry, Cadbury, and Hallmark.
Mar 24 - Easter Monday - Lots of aching children's tummies. You know, I really like Cadbury Eggs. They're really about the only sweet things I love.
Mar 25 - Waffle Day - Seriously. In Sweden.
Mar 26 - Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole Day - Hawaii. Do they know how lucky they are?
Mar 27 - Skyscraper Day - Just wow.
Mar 28 - Anniversary of the death of Virginia Woolf. Are you afraid?
Mar 29 - Cy Young's bithday - Holds the MLB record for most losses.
Mar 30 - E$PN extra profits game. Not Opening Day.
Mar 31 - OPENING DAY BEGINS WHEN THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS LOSE TO AARON HARANG AND THE 2008 NL CENTRAL CHAMPION CINCINNATI REDS! Truth be told, I wish they started the season against a more interesting team.

So you see, we still have what seems to be a lifetime between now and our holy day. But hey, at least that gives Wayne some time to trade for one more starting pitcher!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bullpen thoughts

I've been thinking more about the Francisco Cordero deal and I just can't console myself when thinking about how a whole winter stands between us and the new season! I want it to start now!

The Reds converted only 34 of 61 saves (according to Mark Sheldon) last year. Think about that. The league average for blown saves was 14. We had 27. If we had been average, we could have won the same number of games as the Chub$ and perhaps even the division.

Well, we didn't - didn't even come close. But this year, we could win more. A bullpen of Cordero, Weathers, Burton, Bray, and Coutlangus, plus two others (oh, well, I guess Stanton has to be in there. Stupid contract.) would be much more effective.

I wonder, though, about the other spot. Will Coffey be traded? Do we have to put up with Majewski, and if we do, will he bounce back from his suckitude? What about Brad Salmon and Marcus McBeth? And is there a chance that we can get rid of Stanton? So many questions, but the biggest one has been answered.

As terrible as the pen was last year, they really did settle down in the last couple of months. So, things are looking bright, even through my Pete colored lenses.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What? The Reds want to win?

Thank you, Bob. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

That large, gaping hole at the back end of the bullpen? Filled! And by someone GOOD!

Francisco Cordero, welcome to Cincinnati. Be sure to try some Skyline. NL Central, here we come!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Feeling Green

The restlessness is returning. Two months since I was able to attend the last Reds game of the season, I feel an itch to go back to the ballpark. Yet there are still two and a half months until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training! It isn't even winter yet!

I thought being abroad would make me forget it was the off season, but no. With every chill that passes through me, every bit of wind that blows over the Yantra River, every molecule of fog that hides the mountains from my view, a bit of baseball warmth stirs within my soul. I am already imagining that first moment of the new year when you realize the days are starting to get lighter and that time in late winter when you can feel the air getting warmer. Green isn't just the color of the grass; it is a feeling. It is the warmth and the light and rebirth of everything.

As I look out my window, I can see the monument of the Assen Dynasty, which began in the 12th century and was about the last time Bulgaria was a major player in world affairs. The massive monument is black stone, built during the communist years and in the communist style. I think it is supposed to be imposing. It is not. How I would love to be staring out at the statues on Crosley Terrace instead, or perhaps the statue of Bob Feller in Cleveland or the statue of Roberto Clemente in Pittsburgh or the statue of Babe Ruth in Baltimore (yeah, Baltimore, where he was born.) I do find Bulgarian history interesting, but the Assens mean nothing to me. Give me Joe Nuxhall, Ted Kluszewski, and Ernie Lombardi!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Joe's finally reached home

When you were a kid riding around in a car going with your parents to the grocery or to the dentist or to your grandparents' house, you heard a voice you just assumed would be coming over the airwaves for eternity. When there was yard work to be done or house repairs and a game was on, there was the voice coming from a portable radio telling you how the Reds were doing, or, as often was the case, not telling you as the airwaves went silent. He didn't always get the names right, didn't always get the plays right, but by god, when he said, "Get out of here, baseball!" it sure was sweet.

I thought when Marty and Joe were no longer Marty and Joe but Marty and Steve, that the whole baseball world was out of whack. The few games a year over the last two seasons when it was Marty and Joe again made the world seem sane and brought back a piece of childhood. The curse of morality makes us hurt; we have indeed lost a member of our family.

Good night, Joe. See ya on the other side.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Supernova or black hole?

I'm finding the 2007 baseball season to be somewhat of a distant memory if not something unmemorable, if only because the Reds did so poorly this season and much, much worse than I had expected thanks to the stellar bullpen, and by stellar I mean like an imploding star.

If you are familiar with imploding stars - and I'm not, as I had to look up this information because although I find space fascinating, there's so much to know about it that one who is not in the field cannot possibly know but the smallest fraction about it - then you'll know that they can form either a new planet or a black hole. According to some scientists:
When infalling matter from the imploding star's outer layers reaches this neutron core, it bounces back and generates a powerful shockwave that blasts away the star's outer mantle in a stellar explosion called a supernova.

If material cast off from the explosion doesn't have enough velocity to escape the star's gravitational grasp, it will stall and fall back.

"It's like throwing a baseball straight up into the air," said study team-member Deepto Chakrabarty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "Unless you're throwing it really, really fast, it's eventually going to fall back down on you."

This so-called "fallback" material can land back on the neutron star's surface or coalesce into a spinning debris disk around the star.

If the fallback material lands back onto the neutron star, it can cause the star to become a black hole.
Yeah, he really did use the baseball metaphor. But do you know of anyone that can throw it so fast, it doesn't come back down?

We can only hope that the massive disaster of the bullpen this year will create a supernova during the 2008 season, because I don't want to see another season get sucked in by a black hole. Kinda tired of it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

GM meetings

Ah, the GM meetings. What will Wayne bring us? A washed up middle reliever? An overpriced Milton type pitcher? Will he trade a quarter of our offense for garbage? Or will he sit there and do nothing?

Wayne Krivsky takes the fun out of the off season. It'd be better if we didn't have to worry if he will throw away another season before it has even begun. I think I'm sinking into disillusionment.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I've been on some great adventures recently and just found out that the World Series is indeed over. Can't say I'm upset that I didn't watch it.