Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hello and Good Riddance

Further Thoughts on Baseball.

  • Was that really a World Series? Four straight years of boring baseball to wrap things up. Three sweeps and a five game series. And to rub salt in the wound, it was the Sawks. I rooted for them last time, just to get rid of the damned curse. But they seemed like lovable underdogs then. Now, they're just as Evil as the Yankees -- minus the warm fuzzies I get from being a Yankees fan since the days of my youth. And without those childhood fuzzies....they really just make me want to throw up real bad.

  • So Joe Girardi is in, and Don Mattingly is out. As much as it pains me to admit it (I'd follow Donnie Baseball to the ends of the earth), Girardi is the right guy, both for the immediate future and for the long term prospects of the Yankees. Joe Torre was never a baseball genius, he just knew how to manage a ballclub full of New York-sized egos. And he knew how to do it well. However, he never quite got the hang of how to handle a bullpen (Rivera was a gimme); And he's had difficulty plugging younger players into the All-Star Yankee teams of the past few seasons. (Though the blame in that respect also weighs heavily on the Yankee front office.) Girardi's past experience as a big league catcher, and as the manager of a young Florida Marlins club, ought to serve him well.

  • As rumors fly about Torre accepting a job in Dodger-land (he's from Brooklyn originally, as are the Boys in Blue), Grady Little quits and Mattingly muses about following Torre wherever he ends up next. I like this scenario: For one, there's not much to root for the in NL right now, and the Dodgers have been my No. 2 team in the Senior Circuit (after the Brewers) since the first meeting of The Society of Young Gentlemen for a Yankees-Dodgers World Series. In fact, a Torre-led Dodger club would only serve to further public support for S.Y.G.Y.D.W.S. In addition, Mattingly eventually deserves a shot at managing a team, and having him coach for a club not named the New York Yankees can only help his chances in the future. Let's see this happen.

  • A-Rod is a douche. I defended this guy last year, when all of New York was eating him alive, but the timing of his announcement and his failure to even entertain an offer from the Yankees before he hit the free agent market is an all-time low for a Yankee great. (At least, as far as free-agency is concerned. Guys like Bernie and Donnie retired rather than play for another organization. Caveat though -- A-Rod can still hit.) And considering Mike Lowell's performance in the post-season this year, maybe we'd be better off with him at the hot corner anyway.

  • Speaking of....Yes, Mike Lowell is a free agent. Yes, he's a product of the Yankees farm system. Yes, the Yankees need a third baseman. No, he will not replace A-Rod's bat over the course of 162 games next year. Yes, he can actually hit in October. This (and a boatload of pitching) is just what the Yanks need.

  • Geoff Jenkins is done as a Brewer. It makes sense -- you don't pick up a $9 mil option on a guy who hits 21 HRs and bats .255 -- but it's still hard to see a Brewer vet like Jenkins go. Yet with guys like Tony Gywnn, Jr. waiting in the wings....2008 ought to be an exciting year for the Brew Crew.

  • And finally, Dusty Baker just might kill the Reds pitching staff....and any chance they have a returning to the post-season. Note to Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey: learn to say "no" to this guy before he ruins your respective careers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stephen Colbert and Nacho Cheese Goodness

Did you hear? Stephen Colbert is running for President...but only in South Carolina. However, his campaign is already running afoul of the law and the dirty dirty lawyers who have no sense of humor whatsoever. What downers!

Watch Colbert parse the legalese, all the while telling funny jokes. Warning! Possible Blackberry commercials ahead! This ain't YouTube, folks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just in time for Halloween!

It's all over Blog City! Harry Potter is Jesus and Dumbledoor likes dudes!

Blog City was abuzz this week with news from J.K. Rowling's world book tour. Firstly, she finally came clean about how the Potter Boy was basically a Christ-figure, and that she'd been hesitant to point out the parallels for fear of giving away the end to Book 7. Oops, spoiler alert! Harry dies! Harry comes back to life! Harry marries the Weasley girl! Just like Jesus!

And secondly (also, apparently just like Jesus), Albus Dumbledore is very much gay. Just when she might finally have the evangelicals on her side, Rowling springs this on 'em. I don't know how much Dumbledore's sexual preference really matters, other than to say that his character was terribly miscast in the films now. Yes, Sir Ian McKellen, you were robbed.

You were robbed!

The End

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

21 of 22

They might have the worst color scheme in Major League Baseball, but by-God, the Colorado Rockies are going to the World Series. And to think: there was mid-season talk of trading this guy.

Now let's go Tribe!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Compromise and moderation are like lima beans....

On why the far Left (and the far Right, for that matter) doesn't understand how a representative democracy actually works:

Liberal Base Proves Trying to Democrats (NY Times)

“There is a tendency in American politics for the people who feel most passionately about an issue, particularly ones that focus on a single issue, to be unrealistic in what a democratic political system can deliver,” Mr. Frank said, “and that can be self-defeating.”

Permanent change is nearly always incremental. If the 2oth Century has taught us anything, it's that revolutions don't always have staying power. Instead, take an inch, take an inch, take an inch. Though the inches might be few and far between, pretty soon, you'll get to where you're going.

Maybe it's not perfect, but what would you rather have? Guillotines?

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's like that plane ride back home from Seattle...

12 Years

That's a long time for a ball club to stick with one manager. Especially if you're the manager of the New York Yankees. It's hard to believe it was 12 years ago that Buck Showalter lost his job when Randy Johnson pitched three scoreless innings in relief on two days rest, allowing the Mariners to beat the Yanks in 11. Tonight was a completely different situation, but still, everyone realizes that it's the end of an era, just like they did 12 years ago on that plane ride back from Seattle. 1995 was the end of the Mattingly era for the Yanks. And now 2007 looks to be the end of the Torre era.

It's a big deal that the Yankees clawed back from a terrible first half. They were the only playoff team this year who made also made the playoffs last season. Seven new playoff teams. A different World Series winner every year for the last seven. And we're guaranteed an 8th this year, too. In light of that, the fact that the Bombers made the playoffs every year under Torre's 12 year term -- playing in 6 World Series, and winning 4 of them -- is an amazing run. But after being bounced from the first round in three straight series, and without a Worlds Series win since 2000, Steinbrenner's new-found patience has finally worn thin. Averaging 98 wins a season over 12 years just doesn't cut it in New York.

Changes come.

"This has been a great 12 years, whatever the hell happens from here on out," Torre said after the loss. "I'll look back on these 12 years with great pleasures based on the fact I'm a kid who had never been to the World Series ... to have been in six World Series, I can tell you it never gets old."

"The 12 years just felt like they were 10 minutes long, to be honest with you."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Have you seen this?

Tim Burton is basically teh hotness, and not just because he's married to Helena Bonham Carter.

Though that definitely helps.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Chicago: "Saul Bellow is a rascist!"

Bellow's remarks on race haunt legacy in Hyde Park (Chicago Tribune)

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle refuses to name a city-something after the very much dead Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago author, and declines to tell the Trib why.

Somewhere on Lake Michigan, Sufjan Stevens is crying himself to sleep.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Future Is Now

ABC News Expands Foreign Bureaus (Washington Post)

Due to an explosion in hand-held digital technology, ABC News is opening seven new news bureaus overseas, to be staffed by only a single person equipped with a DV camera and laptop. The reporter/producers will shoot and edit their own pieces, with long-distance help from ABC News offices, sending in their work via broadband or satellite connections from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

While this type of reporting has become a staple of blogs and independent journalists, it's the first I've heard of one of the major American news-broadcasters joining the fray. And it's good news, too. It used to be a given that a network's news division wasn't going to make much money -- the Big Three (ABC, NBC and CBS) reported anyway because of a strange marriage of journalistic integrity and network branding. The thought was that if people tuned into your nightly news program, they might stick around for Prime Time, too. In recent years, though, this model has been scrapped for a new one emphasizing cost cutting and increased national coverage (at the expense of foreign news bureaus). These seven new bureaus, while tiny in comparison to the old models, are exactly the shot in the arm that Network News needs. Foreign correspondence shouldn't be sacrificed to the bottom line; it needs be streamlined and brought into the 21st Century. Digital technology allows just that.

And it's better than the alternative: Reporting only in the "hot spots" where there is a sizable American interest (i.e., Europe, Israel, Iraq, etc.) while virtually ignoring the rest of the world -- if, for nothing else, to know something about other nations before we invade them.

Just kidding. Sort of.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance

From General George Washington's orders bringing about the Cessation of Hostilities between the United States of America and the King of Great Britain -- Friday, April 18, 1783:

Happy, thrice happy shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this steubendous fabrick of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Indipendency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.
The United States of America, that great Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions, except if you really are poor and oppressed (and from Mexico):