Thursday, August 28, 2008

Embarrassing

It is hard to be a Dodger fan right now.  As I type this, they are down 8-2 in the eighth inning.  To the Nationals.  Who are about to sweep the Dodgers.  Yes.  Read that again.  I'll wait.

Got it?  I'm not going to recap what happened last night or tonight.  The Dodgers lost.  They have now made sure that, even with a sweep of the Diamondbacks this weekend (ha!), they will not take first place in the west, because they will soon be 3.5 games back.  I don't know about you, but I'm almost hoping Arizona sweeps.  That way, this team can stop teasing us by getting so damn close only to just seem to completely stop trying. And this time, Jeff Kent, you can't blame it on the kids.  You're not showing up, either, my friend.

The Sox, meanwhile, lost to the Yankees in the final game of the series.  That's the worst way to win a series, if you ask me.  If you're going to lose one of the games, lose the first one or the middle one.  That way, you go out on a high note.  Don't lose the last one.  And definitely don't lose it after you get 6.2 innings of one-run baseball from your young pitcher, who has essentially been the ace this season.  And don't lose the game entirely to Jason Giambi, who drove in all three runs, including the game winner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.  Ugh.

Still, though, at least they won the series.  They leave New York and head home, having pretty much dashed New York's playoff hopes.  Now we'll have to see how the Sox play against a legitimate playoff team.  It's one thing to beat up on the Yankees this year; now we have to prove we can have a successful series against a good team.  Get to it, boys.

Hold on.  A two-out single in the top of the eighth for James Loney.  I'm putting on my rally cap.  Correct me on the rules of baseball, though: Casey Blake can drive in seven runs with one swing here, right?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sox Get Some Outfield Depth

J.D. Drew went on the disabled list (shocker) with a bad back on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Red Sox finalized a deal with the Atlanta Braves to get outfielder Mark Kotsay. The Sox gave up a Class A outfield named Luis Sumoza in the deal.

Seems like a good move to me. Kotsay is a decent hitter, though he doesn't have any power (six home runs). I don't know if Drew will be back once he's eligible, so getting Kotsay gives the Sox at least a little bit of insurance. Not much of a downside.

Dodgers Lose (and Suck), Sox Win

Hey, have I mentioned lately that the Dodgers suck? No? Well, they do. And just to prove it further, they lost last night to the Nationals, 2-1. In the process, they left ten men on base. They loaded the bases twice with no one out, and only managed to score one run. And that one run only came because the catcher blanked and didn't tag Nomar after the force was erased when the third baseman gathered the ball and stepped on third.

So, yeah. Good times. And yet, they're still not out of it, because Arizona won't take a gift when it's presented to them on a golden platter. Arizona got beaten up by the Padres last night, 9-2, and their lead remains three games. Assuming the Dodgers can keep it there by beating the Nationals the next two games, or perhaps even shrink it if the Diamondbacks lose again, the Dodgers have a chance because they head to Arizona next. That means a sweep would put them back in a tie for first. I'm not saying it's likely, just that it's possible.

As for the Red Sox, they did just want I wanted them to, and won the first game of the series. For all the Yankee fans looking to sweep, that must have been like a dagger to the heart. Ha. Tonight the Yanks send Ponson to the mound, so their chances of a series win look grim. Ponson could surprise us, though, and with Paul Byrd pitching for the Sox, you never know what could happen. I am not counting my chickens before they're hatched, believe me. Still, though, last night's win felt good.

For those obsessed with my running plan (and, really, who wouldn't be?), you'll notice that the weight loss gauge above has not moved at all. I suppose that's because I haven't really bothered to change my diet much since I started running again, and also because I'm likely building a little bit of muscle while (hopefully) losing the fat. I've run 6.5 miles this week, on my way to 10.75 total. I am, as I mentioned, quite slow. Today I ran 2.25 miles in 29:42. Yesterday I ran two miles in 26:06. Yes, I realize that is roughly a 13:00 mile pace. Did I tell you that the fastest mile I've run in my adult life (or maybe my entire life) is 9:20? And did I mention that after I ran that mile, I threw up? Okay. Now you know what you're dealing with.

I think I've helped myself by running outside this week, instead of on a treadmill. I use this site to plan my route, and then I go. Funny thing, when the Weather Channel says it's only 75 degrees outside, and you think that's a perfect time to go running, you're a little bit wrong. Particularly when it's 75 and sunny. Brutal, L.A.-style sunny. With not a drop of shade to be found. Then things get a little hairy. But, I've been beating my times every day, so I guess I'm doing something right. And this way, I don't have to worry about avoiding my annoying neighbor Amy at the gym, or deal with the smell of the person next to me on the treadmill.

I'm leaving town this weekend for a few weeks, heading out to visit the parents in rainy Seattle. I'll be running up there, too, but I'll have to wait until I get there to figure out my routes. I've only been once, so just looking at a map won't help me very much, as I'll likely end up planning a run on the freeway or something.

Strange that I'll be leaving my Extra Innings package again during the season, this time in the heart of the stretch run, but it is what it is. Hopefully MLB.tv won't fail me the way it did in Chicago, so I'll actually be able to watch all the games.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yes We Can

The above is a scan of a limited edition screen print created by Noel Waggener (in life, it is 20" by 26"). I feel like I can show it here because I bought one of the prints when I was in Marfa, and it will soon be up on my wall.


Well, here I am watching the Red Sox and Yankees play what will likely be the final series between the two at this Yankee Stadium. I find it hard to get nostalgic, since there's nothing wrong with the current stadium, except that it apparently doesn't make the team enough money. So, they'll make a nearly identical one, but put in more of the expensive luxury suites, and charge more for all the seats. If the place was falling apart, that would be one thing. As it is, the nostalgia is forced as a result of a business decision. That doesn't tug on my heart strings.

The game is tied 1-1 right now. The Yankees are looking to sweep to continue to have a chance in the playoff race. So I'm just hoping the Sox win tonight, to shatter the hopes and dreams of millions of asshole Yankee fans. Yes, I hate them. Thank you for asking.

The Dodgers suck, though they are currently closer to the playoffs than the Yankees are, thanks to the less-than-stellar play in the N.L. West. Following a four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies over the weekend, the Dodgers are now in Washington, D.C., to face the Nationals. If the Dodgers do not sweep, the season is pretty much dead. Hell, even with a sweep, the season might be over. But with the Diamondbacks looming after the Nationals, a sweep in D.C. is the only way the Dodgers can head to Arizona with a little bit of confidence.

The Yankees just scored in the second to make it 2-1.

Despite the bad news in my sporting world, I can feel nothing but hope. Why, you ask? Well, because of my last post. And because of that man Michelle Obama married. In 2004 and 2006, before the major elections, I wrote emails to my friends (many of them Republicans), imploring them to vote Democratic so that we might actually see some positive change in this nation. I went over the issues, and explained why the Democrats had the upper hand on most of them. Obviously, those emails worked out well (okay, I guess things turned out okay in 2006).

This time, instead of listing the issues, I'm just going to put it simply. Are you better off than you were eight years ago? Or are you more afraid, and possibly poorer? Do you have fewer rights and civil liberties than you had eight years ago (if you think the answer to that one is "no," you ought to do a Google search with the words "habeas corpus Bush," or even just "Patriot Act Bush")? Do you believe the economy is struggling? Do you worry about the possibility of more wars?

These are legitimate questions, and the thing about McCain is that he doesn't give a crap about any of them. He doesn't believe anything is wrong with this country. He has been quoted as saying he thinks the economy is fine. He follows the Republican manifesto, which says that it's unpatriotic to suggest that maybe America isn't always the greatest place on earth. And a general rule is, if you don't believe there are any problems, you won't do anything to affect change.

Obama loves this country, but he can see its faults. And if you think he's just some glorified speechmaker, consider this: what is a president if not a unifier? His job is to bridge the gap between the parties, to be the man who makes people work together for the greater good. And doing something like that requires a person who is well versed in the art of communication.

(Youkilis just doubled home Ortiz to tie it, 2-2).

He speaks well, but people wonder if he'll be able to turn that into anything concrete. Hard to say, but I find myself believing more and more everyday. (Youkilis just scored on a Bay single. 3-2, Sox). He's done a fair amount as a Senator, and the only way to know if he can accomplish something as the president is to elect him to the office. My thinking is this: even if Obama fails 90% of the time to make things better for this nation, doesn't it make you a little bit hopeful to think about someone trying? Doesn't it make the world seem a little brighter when you consider that there is someone out there working for the best interests of the nation, instead of just closing his eyes and hoping for the best?

You can call it rhetoric if you want, but for the first time in quite a while, I'm feeling hopeful, I'm not cynical about politics, and I believe in the candidate my party has nominated (or is about to). There is something to be said for what Obama has done to many, many people in this country, all before even officially being named the Democratic nominee.

Oh, and as an aside, don't you think these "he's the biggest celebrity in the world" commercials McCain is putting out are ridiculous? Can you see the thinking in the war room for this campaign? It's like they thought, "Oh, I can't believe how popular this candidate is in a nation where we vote for our leaders. Let's harp on that again and again, so people will see how crazy it is for the voters to actually like a candidate for president. That'll show 'em. I mean, yeah, everyone hates our guy, but at least he's..."

And that's where they trailed off, because there's no ending to that sentence. Except for maybe "...old," which isn't what you want to be saying about your guy.

Bottom line: vote for anyone but McCain, or you'll simply be re-electing Bush for a third term.


Here's some fun video. Compare and contrast.


Senior moments (best part might be around 3:45, but at the end, when McCain is yelling for Congress to get back to work, please keep in mind that he is a Senator himself, albeit one who has missed more than four months of work, and 100+ votes):





Answer the question, grandpa:





Now for a little hope (the best part begins at 9:08, and really heats up at 10:52):




Sox are up 6-3 in the fifth as I finish this post.

The Next First Lady

Presented without comment (for a few hours anyway, until I find the time to write about it):



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let California Ring




Golden Girls

I bet you think I wasn't paying attention to women's soccer in the Olympics, since I haven't mentioned it. Well, you're wrong. I've been watching. And I've been amazed.

This team wasn't supposed to do much after Abby Wambach broke her leg about three weeks before the start of the games. And then they lost their first game in pool play against Norway, and things looked bleak. But they fought on, and made it to the semifinals, then on to the gold medal game against Brazil.

Without Wambach, it was hard to see the U.S. winning the gold medal against a tough Brazilian team. But after the first 90 minutes of the game, the U.S. had held off the speedy Brazilians and kept it a 0-0 tie. I taped this whole thing, woke up about an hour after it had ended, and got to watching. I watched the entire first half without fast forwarding, but I couldn't take it in the second half, and I had to speed through it.

Five minutes into the 30-minute extra time (which is not sudden death), some nice footwork at the top of the box from Rodriguez gave Carly Lloyd the ball, and she took advantage, slicing a nice ball to the far post. It went through the hands of the Brazilian goalkeeper, and the U.S. had a 1-0 lead. They held off the Brazilians for the next 25 minutes, and right now I'm watching them accept their goal medals, and listening to Brandi Chastain (one of the commentators) choke up.

I've mentioned before what the women's team meant to be back in 1999 in that incredible World Cup, and it's always a joy to see the success continue. I love to watch, and it's especially exciting to see them kick ass when it's the most unexpected.

Oh, and the Dodgers and Red Sox both lost last night. Buchholz once again performed miserably, and as a result, he was sent back down to Triple-A. I want to feel sorry for the kid, but I just can't. I think it might be that he's so damn creepy looking, and has a creepy Penthouse girlfriend (wonder if she'll stick around now that you're sucking in the big leagues, buddy. I kinda doubt it). I can't think of him as some cute little kid that plays for my team. He also just appears to be a sad sack out there on the mound when things aren't going his way. Suck it up and pitch, Clay. I would hope not to see you back in two weeks with the September call-ups, but I guess that's probably likely.

I'll be leaving the house in about an hour to see the Dodgers try to salvage one game of the series. I'll be trying not to think about the fact that Arizona now has a two-game lead in the west. Arizona seems to know how to win when they need to (they went down 4-0 against Jake Peavy last night, but came back), whereas the Dodgers can't be bothered to beat the teams they should be beating (and committing four errors in a game certainly doesn't help you win). And their reward for that kind of play is a trip to Philadelphia. I wouldn't expect a four-game sweep this time around, boys.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No Rush, Buddy

I know, I know. I haven't written about last night's games. Here you go: the Red Sox won easily, as Matsuzaka continued to be brilliant with runners on base; and the Dodgers lost, unable to overcome an early deficit given to them by Hiroki Kuroda (though he did settle down and pitch relatively well over six innings). Details probably aren't forthcoming, but I'll be back on track with tonight's games.

Meanwhile, given the success of Jed Lowrie in the last month or so, this may be the best news I've heard in a while:

Lugo Suffers Setback During Workout


Take your time, Lugo! Hey, while you're at it, why don't you make a phone call to Juan Pierre and tell him to do exactly what you did to cause that "setback."

Waiting for Change

Yes, that's right. My first political post on the new site.

I've always found it fascinating (read: appalling) that the evangelical right seems to value human life so strongly when that life is in its embryonic stage, but not so much when that life is eighteen or nineteen years old and getting its legs blown off (and much worse) in an illegal war. To paraphrase a quote I once read (wish I could remember where, or who said it), it would appear that pro-lifers want to make sure no fertilized eggs are wasted, because the government will need those eggs so that they can grow up and die later in the name of oil, religion, or whatever other cause the government can find.

Those pro-lifers will vote for a president who lied to get us into a war that has killed more than 4,000 American soldiers and countless Iraqi soldiers and civilians, and they will cheer on that president's claims that the soldiers dying in Iraq are noble and just (the American ones, anyway), and in the same breath they will declare that murder is wrong. That is, when it's committed against something that's inside an American citizen's body, unable to survive on its own (essentially, a parasite, to put it crudely). But a dead Iraqi? "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" Have you forgotten the American way?

Really, though, the question is not whether abortion is murder, but what leads a woman to the point where she has to make the choice. That's what we should be focusing on, and it's what groups like Planned Parenthood try to deal with, but the right wing nuts who protest PP and other organizations seem intent only on stopping the abortions, and not on solving the problems before (and after) the women arrive at those clinics.

Those who are most hardcore about the pro-life movement (and let me just say that I hate that term, since it implies that those of us who believe women ought to be in control of their own bodies are automatically pro-death) don't seem to be doing much about the circumstances that cause women in this country to seek abortions. This is particularly true if those pro-lifers are voting Republican these days (which of course they are). The Republicans are in no hurry at all to make this country livable for anyone but the top 1% moneymakers. And that group is generally not the kind forced to visit Planned Parenthood.

I'm writing this because I read a column at Huffington Post recently, written by a man who is pro-life and was apparently a large part of the movement at some point. But now he supports Obama. Why? Because Obama believes in changing this country, in changing the conditions that lead to the necessity of abortion, while McCain simply wants to continue four (or eight) more years of the status quo. The right wing has convinced the nation that believing this country is flawed makes one unpatriotic, so McCain is sticking to his guns that there's nothing wrong here (at least nothing that another tax break for the rich won't help). That ought to work out just fine, right?

If you are pro-life, and would vote for McCain solely for that reason, please read that column I linked to in the above paragraph. And read the whole thing, preferably with an open mind. You might just walk away thinking there's another, better choice out there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Running Free

So, I've started running again. Well, if you can call what I do out there "running." It's more like really, really slow jogging. I mean, really slow. 14:10 mile slow. That's what I bring to the table.

I've been doing various exercise plans on and off over the years, changing it up whenever I can because I get incredibly bored very easily. Earlier this year I trained so that I could run the breast cancer 5K, and then attended a boot camp workout class for a few weeks before I went to Chicago. I ended up losing about fifteen pounds before heading to Chicago, but, like everyone else apparently does when they get to Chicago, I gained back a little bit of the weight (only about three pounds overall, but I think I lost a lot of muscle mass in the process).

Now, let's make one thing clear--I'm not fat (you've all seen pictures, so I'm hoping you'll agree). I would say I'm about average. That means I'm above average weight for most of the people in Los Angeles, but (well) below average for the nation as a whole. I'm never going to be a size two or four, and I don't want to be. I'm a size eight right now, which is fine. I just need to be a little more toned, and I want to be healthy and fit, hence the running.

The goal is to get in shape, get back my muscles, and lose a little of the fat. Running is the best thing I've found to help me get in shape quickly, even though I get bored, just like with every other exercise. I often pass my time at the gym by looking at everyone around me and determining just how grossed out I would be if I had to give any one of them mouth-to-mouth. Today I was particularly wary of an older gentleman to my right whose collapse seemed imminent.

Anyway, as long as I have a set plan (in this case, six weeks to get me back to being able to run a 5K), I can handle it short term. I like to have goals.

I tell you all this because it's easier to make sure I stick with it. Don't worry--this won't turn into a blog all about my weight loss. I'll just give you a few updates now and then, and keep track of the actual weight loss at the top of the page for a while. I won't be posting any pictures of myself to show the progression. Well, I'll post the normal pictures of me at baseball games and the like, but none of me in just a sports bra and underwear, the way you see on weight loss commercials.  I'm not that brave. But, hell, a woman posting her weight for all the interwebs to see is a little brave, right?

Oh, and the weight listed at the start up there is actually from last Thursday. For all I know, I've already lost some, but I'll only be updating every Friday. If I weigh myself too often, I get a little obsessive and crazy about it.

Once More With Feeling

The Red Sox won 6-3 on Monday, largely thanks to Jason Bay's two home runs and four RBI. Jon Lester pitched seven innings of one-run ball, then Papelbon allowed two inherited runners to score with two outs in the eighth before getting the four-out save.

But the big news of today is happening in Los Angeles. Once again, the Dodgers have traded for Greg Maddux. From the press release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that they have re-acquired right-handed pitcher Greg Maddux and cash considerations from the San Diego Padres for two minor league players to be named later or cash considerations. The announcement was made by Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.

“It’s very rare that you get the opportunity to add a pitcher like Greg even one time, let alone twice,” said Colletti. “He’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time and we’ve already seen what he can add to a team both on the field and in the clubhouse.”

I think I'm more for this deal than I am against it, though we still don't know what it will be costing the Dodgers. If it's just money, great. If it's yet another prospect (keeping in mind we've gotten rid of four big ones in the last month), things might look a little worse. But for now, we should be happy to have Maddux in the clubhouse, where he will certainly influence the young guys like Billingsley and Kershaw. And if Maddux can give us some innings, thereby saving Kershaw's arm, as well as take the spot of Brad Penny (who is not going to be effective this year), then it's hard to be too upset about the potential downside.

No word yet on when Maddux will be making his first start for the Dodgers. I have a ticket for Thursday's game, so maybe I'll be seeing his triumphant return.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Los Angeles Heart Attack Rates On the Rise

Sunday, the Dodgers continued their recent habit of making every game a roller coaster ride. I took a little nap in the seventh inning, when the Dodgers were up 5-1, and woke up after the game was over. When I checked the score, I saw that the Dodgers had won 7-5, and I wondered just what the hell had happened.

Turned out we had another bullpen implosion, as has been the norm for most of the last eight or so games. Don't know what's going on there, but we have to consider that the Dodgers' bullpen has been the best of the best all season, even though most of the time the offense couldn't make the same claim. Now that the team is scoring runs and hitting well, perhaps the bullpen is just a little confused (understandably), and they're working on how to pitch with a lead. I'm going to cut them some slack, and hope that the ship rights itself after a day off today. The Rockies come into town for three games starting Tuesday, and I think our pitching staff can hold those boys down.

Anyway, Sunday. Matt Kemp led off the game with a home run, then Manny Ramirez planted a two-run shot, and the Dodgers had a 3-0 first inning lead. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound for the Dodgers, and though he wasn't totally dominant (he never had a 1-2-3 inning), he kept the Brewers at bay, allowing just one run--a solo shot from Mike Cameron--over his six innings of work.

But, poor Kershaw didn't factor in the decision in this one. After an Ethier home run in the fifth to make it 4-1, and a Ramirez single in the seventh (on which he was thrown out while trying to stretch it into a double) to make it 5-1, the bullpen failed. Jason Johnson pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and left with a man on first in the top of the ninth. Torre apparently felt that Johnson couldn't finish it off, which is a little suspect, since the guy has been starting and acting like a long man from the pen, so he should be able to handle three total innings. But not according to Torre.

So, Chan Ho Park entered from the bullpen. Loney immediately committed an error on a ball from Craig Counsell, which put runners at second and third. Durham came up and singled, and two runs scored, make it a 5-3 game. Hardy grounded out, then Park got two strikes on Ryan Braun, and it looked like the Dodgers might get out of it. But on the 0-2 count, Park hung a curve ball, and Braun knocked it out, tying the game.

But maybe Park was just setting things up for Ethier to be the hero once again. After the game-winning hit on Tuesday night, and a hit thisclose to being a walkoff homer on Saturday night, Ethier once again proved he has what it takes to be a hero. Matt Kemp had a great at-bat and worked a walk, and Ethier took the first pitch he saw and hit it over the wall in right. Dodgers win, 7-5.

If the offense can keep it up, we should see them put on quite a show against the Rockies' pitching staff. Here are the matchups:

Tuesday-- Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 3.94 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 3.88 ERA)

Wednesday-- Jeff Francis (3-8, 5.74 ERA) vs. Chad Billingsley (12-9, 3.10 ERA)

Thursday-- Jorge De La Rosa (6-6, 6.16 ERA) vs. Derek Lowe (9-10, 3.99 ERA)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Fun

Not a good weekend for the Red Sox. Friday night's game was rained out, then they lost 4-1 on Saturday and 15-4 on Sunday. I didn't see either game, so I have no insight. Josh Beckett apparently sucked, since he gave up eight of the runs. The only bright spot was Pedroia's second home run in as many games. The Sox now have only a half-game lead in the wild card, and they are 4.5 games back in the east.

So let's move on to better things, shall we? The Dodgers had a much more productive weekend, winning two of three from the Brewers. Chad Billingsley won on Friday night, though he (as usual) started slowly. After giving up two runs on two hits in the first, then one run on two hits in the second, he settled down and only let the Brewers get one more hit over the next six innings. This gave the Dodgers a chance to get back in the game, and they certainly took the opportunity and ran with it.

Ramirez drove in one on a single in the second, Blake homered in the fourth to tie the game, then Kent singled in the go-ahead run in the fifth. Russell Martin added an insurance run in the eighth to make it 5-3, and the Dodgers won. A three-run lead three weeks ago seemed insurmountable for this team, but no longer.

I was at the game on Saturday, and it was very exciting, though the outcome wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. The Brewers made some amazing defensive plays that changed the outcome of the game, and kept the Dodgers from getting the win. One in particular came in the seventh inning, when Martin hit a sure home run to left field, which would have given the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Kapler went back on the ball, then fell into the stands to make the catch and rob Martin. The craziest part about this is that it happened literally six seats away from me. Every other person in the section was standing up, except for the two people who were nearest to the ball. They didn't move, and did not try for it at all, making it a fairly easy catch for Kapler. Losers. Sons of Steve Garvey were kind enough to get a freeze frame for me, and you can watch the video here.

The yellow arrow points to me. The red arrow points to
the two who just sat there. I know it's small.

So, Martin missed the chance to give the Dodgers a two-run lead. Kuo came in to pitch the eighth inning (after seven strong from Lowe) and gave up a leadoff double. After a fly out, J.J. Hardy homered to left field, and the Brewers had a 3-2 lead. The roller coaster continued in the ninth, when Ethier led off with a walk, Kent reached on an error by Hardy on what should have been a double play, and Ramirez hit a sac fly to right to tie the game. The Dodgers couldn't take the lead, and in the tenth, Broxton came in and got the first two outs before walking Durham, letting him steal second, then giving up a single to Hardy that gave the Brewers the lead.

With one out in the tenth, Kemp singled to center, then Ethier hit a ball deep to center. The ball missed going out by inches, and because he was worried about the ball being caught (which it nearly was), Kemp only advanced to second. Ethier had the world's longest single. Kent lined out, Ramirez struck out, and the game ended with the Brewers winning, 4-3.

I'll write about Sunday's game in the next post, but for now let's look at some pictures (and my first attempt at my own video on this site!) from fireworks night at Dodger Stadium. We were allowed down onto the field to enjoy the show, which was just amazing. After the show, we (meaning me, the girlfriend and another friend, Irec) played a little catch, at one point throwing it around with a little boy (maybe nine years old) who really wanted to play, and then left on a high despite the loss.





The video is a bit long, but I think it's worth it. Ignore the part where I turned the camera on its end. The video is a little darker after the upload than it looked on my camera and on Quicktime, but the finale still looks good. Fifteen seconds in, listen closely and you'll hear me singing along, loudly, with everyone's favorite Lee Greenwood song (I have a better voice than that--singing along there was meant to be slightly ironic). Irec starts the "U.S.A.!" chant.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Sox Shutout Texas, Complete Sweep

The offensive onslaught continued for the Red Sox on Thursday, and, thankfully, the Rangers didn't get in on the fun this time around.

David Ortiz hit another three-run homer (his third in the series), Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis both had multi-hit games, and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched seven strong innings, all en route to a 10-0 victory for the Sox.

All the action came in the second inning, when the Red Sox piled together eight hits (two of them from Youkilis), one walk and a HBP to score nine runs. It looked like this: single, fly out, single, walk, single (run scores), HBP (run scores), fielder's choice (run scores), double (run scores), home run (three runs score), double, single (run scores), pitching change, double (run scores), strikeout. 9-0, Red Sox. They would add another run in the eighth, when Triple-A call-up Jeff Bailey reached on an infield single, scoring Pedroia.

Yikes. And this time, there would be no comeback from the Rangers. They scattered six hits (all singles) over Matsuzaka's seven innings, then none over perfect innings from Delcarmen and Timlin. The Red Sox outscored the 37-21 over the three-game series (18-4 after the 19-16 game on Tuesday), and now lead the season series 7-0, with three left to play in Texas in early September.

Now the Sox look to continue the hitting, and hope it wasn't just a fluke thanks to the Rangers' terrible pitching staff. They'll get a nice test Friday, when Roy Halladay takes the mound for the Blue Jays. Paul Byrd will be making his Red Sox debut.

Dodgers Complete Four-Game Sweep of Phillies

The Dodgers haven't swept a four game since series from any team since July 2004, against the Diamondbacks. They haven't done it at home since 1995. And they haven't done it against the Phillies until 1962. None of those facts really matter to this season, because the sweep would have been impressive without them, but I just thought I'd tell you.

Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound for the Dodgers, and he's had sort of a Jekyl and Hyde thing going on this season, but he's suddenly looking like he's getting it together. In his last three starts, including last night, he's giving up three runs over 22.1 innings. One run in each game. He's giving up fourteen hits, walked two, and struck out seventeen in that same span. I think it's safe to say he's on a little bit of a roll. And the Phillies were no match for him last night, as they managed only two hits in seven innings.

Loney tripled to lead off the second, after the right fielder tried to make a diving catch, and the ball went by him. Russell Martin struck out, then Garciparra grounded out, but brought in the runner to make it 1-0, Dodgers. In the seventh, the Phillies cut it to 2-1, thanks to a Werth double, an Utley groundout, and a Howard sac fly. But that was all they would get, and in the eighth, the Dodgers added to the lead when Martin singled, stole second with two outs, then scored on a Casey Blake single.

Kuo came on to pitch the last two innings, and was possibly even more dominant than Kuroda. Two innings, no hits, one walk, two strikeouts. I personally would have liked to see Kuroda get the complete game, since he was only at 79 pitches through seven innings, but after the Dodgers went up 3-1 and had a runner on second with two outs, Torre thought that Mark Sweeney would be a good choice to get us another run, and so Sweeney came in to pinch hit. He shockingly ended up walking, but then Kemp flied out anyway. No matter. Dodgers win, 3-1.

The Brewers come to town this weekend, but the Dodgers will miraculously miss seeing both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Brewers had an eight-game winning streak going until Thursday, when Jake Peavy put an end to it. The other Brewers' pitchers have been doing very well since the Sabathia trade, so missing the top two on their staff doesn't guarantee victories for the Dodgers. But hopefully the momentum of this series will carry over, and the Dodgers can get another series win.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Think We All Saw This Coming

A day after he only lasted three innings (during which he gave up six runs on three home runs), Brad Penny is headed to the DL. From the press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today placed right-handed pitcher Brad Penny on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The club also placed right-hander Cory Wade on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Saturday, with right shoulder inflammation. To fill their spots on the 25-man roster, the Dodgers recalled left-hander Eric Stults from Triple-A Las Vegas and purchased the contract of right-hander Tanyon Sturtze from Las Vegas. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

So I guess Eric Stults will be taking Penny's spot in the rotation? And Tanyon Sturtze? I don't recall the last time I heard about that guy being in the majors. If you believe ESPN.com, he last pitched a major league game in October 2006. And what do you know? He was a Yankee then. That Joe Torre sure is one loyal S.O.B.

UPDATE: Didn't even notice Cory Wade's name there the first time I read this. Too bad. The guy has been solid for us this season.

UPDATE:  Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness further expounds on why I'm none too pleased with the Sturtze call-up.

Jayson Stark Does Not Like Manny Ramirez

From Stark's column, posted on ESPN.com today:

Hey, we couldn't be happier for those Los Angeles Dodgers, who are selling about 30,000 tickets a day now that they've moved their home games to Planet Manny. But we'd like to ask one little question of all those people in L.A. who are showering their man Manny Ramirez with so much love:

What the heck are you cheering for?

For a man who decided his personal net worth was more important than an entire franchise and all the people who played with him, covered for him, depended on him?

Sheez. How sad is that?

The simple answer to Stark's first question is, "we're cheering for a team that suddenly has life, is fun to watch, and that also is winning a few games."

But I'm sure, based on the fact that the column continues for a while, that Stark was asking the question rhetorically. That simple answer has to mean something, though, right? It's hard to tell the fans to stop cheering here, because it's been a while since it's been this exciting to watch the team play. And Manny's energy brought that here. We're the ones paying his salary (the collective "we," of course, since the Dodgers aren't paying a penny of it this year), so shouldn't we get to decide whether to cheer or not?

Stark seems to be worried that the level of excitement over Manny's arrival in Los Angeles overshadows the behavior that caused him to be traded in the first place. And Stark is very much against that behavior, and wants us all to turn our backs to home plate when Manny bats, just so he'll know that we won't tolerate his antics out here on the left coast. Or something.

Honeslty, after everything that went down when Manny left Boston, you can certainly see Stark's point. If the stories are all true, Boston certainly felt like they needed to get rid of Ramirez as quickly as possible, and they were willing to take whatever they could to do it.

Stark thinks of Manny as the worst kind of athlete: the kind who will only play when it's going to mean more money from him; the kind who will get the big contract and then not be bothered to play hard until it's time for the next contract. I don't know everything that happened, but on the face, Manny certainly fits the description. The Red Sox weren't willing to give Manny the answer he wanted on his 2009 option until after the season, and Manny seemed ready to push the right buttons to change that stance.

He knocked the traveling secretary to the ground, he clearly didn't hustle or try very hard in games leading up to the trading deadline. The question might be why this was the case, and the media is all too ready to blame Manny entirely. Maybe it is his fault. Maybe the Red Sox treated him badly in an effort to make him do exactly what he did. Maybe it was a combination of both.

The Dodgers, of course, haven't experienced any of those problems -- yet. Oh, they had a chuckle-filled Manny Moment the other night, when the ninth inning almost started without their left fielder joining in on the festivities. But other than that, the Dodgers' visit to Planet Manny has been one big happy carnival of line drives, tough at-bats and cha-chinging cash registers.

It's a wonderful little portrait of how much fun it can be to have this guy around when he feels like going with the program. He can be lovable. He can be a good teammate. He's one of the half-dozen greatest right-handed hitters who ever lived. He can even run to first base on days when the constellations line up correctly.

But after what went on in Boston last month, what should we make of it when this Manny shows up in Southern California? Is this the real Manny? Or is this just part of his new hit-the-lottery marketing campaign?

Stark is correct in the sense that this does not set a good precedent for Major League Baseball. More importantly to me--though I am loathe to use the "what about the kids?" argument--is what kind of image this portrays to the children who look up to these athletes. Don't get your way? No problem. Whine about it and someone will give you something even better.

I don't know, though. I'm pretty selfish. I like Manny playing for the Dodgers. And it's not like it's any big news that these men are incredibly self-absorbed prima donnas. Manny just happens to be a little more outspoken about it. But we continue to show up for games, and spend money on concessions and t-shirts. It's hard to tell a man like Frank McCourt that he'd be setting a bad precedent by resigning Manny, since McCourt has been lining his pockets with cash since July 31 (remember--this is the man who has raised parking prices 100% since he bought the team in 2004). For the record, though, I can't see McCourt giving Manny a long-term deal here. I don't expect to see Manny in Dodger Blue next season.

Salaries have been getting progressively higher and more ridiculous for years now. Did Manny really do anything so new and crazy that it will change the game as we know it? After all, he is a pretty rare find. Other guys can try the same thing, but is anyone going to pay as much attention when the player isn't a certain first ballot of Hall of Famer?

This is all over the place, since the column was just posted and my feelings are rather new. What do you think?

Sox Only Score Eight, Still Hold Off Rangers

After Tuesday night's crazy, record-setting 19-16 game, the Red Sox were looking for a strong performance from the starting pitcher on Wednesday, just to ensure that the pitchers in the bullpen still had arms come Thursday morning. Turns out Jon Lester was up to the task.

Youkilis had three doubles, scored three runs and had two RBI. Jason Bay and Jed Lowrie also added two more RBI each, and when Lester walked off the mound with one out in the eighth inning, he had an 8-1 lead. The problem is, he left two men on base, and Francona inexplicably went to Mike Timlin in that situation. I have zero confidence in Timlin, and I just knew things would get a little bit ugly before the night was over.

I was right. Timlin gave up a three-run shot to Milton Bradley, then another double just to make us all antsy, before striking out Boggs (no, not that one) and handing the ball over to Javier Lopez, who got the final out. Too bad for Lester that his line says he gave up three runs in his 7.1 innings. He pitched better than that (seven hits, one walk, six strikeouts), but that's what you expect when Timlin takes the mound this season.

The thing about this Rangers offense is that you just can't ever count them out. We learned that on Tuesday night, and they tried to remind us again on Wednesday. Justin Masterson came in to pitch the ninth, and allowed the first two men to reach base before inducing a double play, then getting Michael Young to foul out to end the game. Sox win, 8-4.

Tampa Bay won, which means the lead remains three games in the east. Boston is still on top of the wild card, 2.5 games ahead of Minnesota (who I will go back to rooting against now that they're done beating up on the Yankees).

The final game of this Texas series is tonight, with Matsuzaka facing some guy named Hunter, who apparently has two major league starts to his name. In those starts, he's given up eleven runs in 9.1 innings. Hopefully the hit parade will continue, but just not for the Rangers.

Another Walkoff Win

I was chatting in the game thread at Sons of Steve Garvey during this one, and at 7:59 pm, with the score still 6-1, Phillies, I wrote this:
It's strange, but I feel like we still have a chance. If Penny can just settle down for a few innings, I think we can get to Blanton. We just have to do it quickly, before they can bring in any of their solid relievers.

Well, turns out I was (mostly) right. The Dodgers did manage the comeback, but they only had to do part of it against the starter, Joe Blanton.

Brad Penny sucked. Let's just be honest. He was no good. He lasted only three innings, which was his shortest outing in almost two years. In those three innings, he gave up three two-run home runs. Three! That's insane! His ERA shot up to 6.05, but thanks to some amazing work from the bullpen, not to mention some help from the offense, he didn't take the loss. Now he just has to figure out what the hell is wrong with him.

Down 6-1 in the third, Jeff Kent led off the inning with a double, and Manny Ramirez followed with his fifth home run as a Dodger, cutting the lead to 6-3 (thirteen minutes after my bold prediction). In the fourth, Andre Ethier added a solo shot to make it 6-4. In case you're wondering, Juan Pierre's last home run was September 18, 2006. Just putting that out there.

Now, Pierre did contribute to this one, so I'll give credit where it's due. In the bottom of the eighth, after three innings where the Dodgers did absolutely nothing, Chad Durbin took the mound for the Phillies. Durbin was the one pitching on Tuesday night, also in the eighth inning, when the Dodgers tied that game. Martin led off with a single, then Durbin walked Pierre. Things were looking promising, but Kemp lined out to center and Ethier grounded out to first, though he did advance the runners to second and third.

And then Jeff Kent came up and hit a line drive down the line that hit the third baseman's glove and went all the way to the corner. I had a half-second of panic when the third baseman jumped, thinking for sure he would catch it. But he didn't, and Martin and Pierre both scored to tie the game. Excellent.

Condrey came in to pitch for the Phillies in the ninth. Casey Blake swung at the first pitch he saw and flied out to center, bringing Nomar Garciaparra to the plate. Nomar uncharacteristically took the first three pitches, then hit a low line drive that barely cleared the bullpen fence. Dodgers win, 7-6.


The bullpen deserves a ton of credit. Jason Johnson, Chan Ho Park, Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton combined for six innings. They gave up one hit and walked four, allowing no one to cross the plate.

Two walkoff wins in a row, and a series win against the Phillies, with the potential for a sweep on Thursday. I wonder if Drunk Philly Phan is crying in his beer somewhere.

I know I said I'd be avoiding long game recaps, but I just can't help it with these games. They're so exciting!


Photo by John Soo Hoo/Dodgers

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kevin Youkilis Is Your New Third Baseman

From the Boston Globe:

Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an oblique injury suffered during last night's game.

Righthander pitcher David Pauley has been recalled from Pawtucket to take Lowell's spot on the roster.

Lowell struck out looking in the seventh inning after having strained his right oblique during the at-bat.

I presume Sean Casey will be getting time at first base, and Youkilis will move over to third for the time being. The Sox are probably wishing the Brian Giles thing had worked out, but Lowell has been slumping for a while now, so maybe this time off will help him get healthy and ready for September.

Unrelated, but in honor of the westside pride I showed in an earlier post, I must show you this video. Thanks to reader quadsevens for directing me to the link.


Fun With Drunks

So, at the Phillies/Dodgers game on Tuesday night, there was a little activity in my section (field level 45) that was mostly unrelated to what happened on the field. All game, there had been this group of Phillies' fans sitting two rows in front of me. There were about seven or eight of them, but one guy really stood out, because in the first inning, I looked at him and said to my friends, "Geez, look how drunk this guy is already."

Every time I looked over, the guy had a new beer in his hand. I don't remember ever seeing him leave, so I guess someone was providing him with his sustenance. He had plenty of alcohol in him all night, believe me. He had trouble staying in his seat, meaning that people had to yell at him to sit down at various times. He kept chanting (mostly to himself), "What do we think about Manny? He's a bum!" No one was really bothered by him for most of the game, since all he was doing was providing entertainment.

But at some point, things turned. He started to get louder and more abrasive, and he was wearing on people's last nerves. I have no problem with the fans of the opposing teams coming and cheering at Dodger Stadium. It makes things more interesting, and no one should be berated or pelted with objects just because they happen to not be rooting for the Dodgers. But this guy was going above and beyond. A beach ball came into our section, and a few people took the opportunity to take aim at Drunk Philly Phan. He welcomed it, and hit the ball back. A few peanuts were thrown, and he kept asking for more.

At one point, a few guys in the next section over (Drunk Philly Phan's reach was quite impressive) started a "Shut up, stupid" chant, and the guy just continued to love it. He then inexplicably dumped his own beer on his head, then had his girlfriend and some other girl with him take pictures of it. I assumed it was so he could show his friends later what the asshole Dodger fans had done to him. One guy near me picked up his cup of nacho cheese to throw it, but his girlfriend stopped him before he let it fly. Too bad. I was ready to take a little splatter if that guy could ensure a hit on Drunk Philly Phan. That's how annoying this dude was.

And then came the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed at Dodger Stadium. Picture this: bottom of the ninth inning. Martin has just been hit by a pitch and advanced to second by James Loney. Andre Ethier has stepped to the plate. Just as he does, a few gentleman in uniform stop by our section.

I documented it in all its glory, and I am presenting it to you here. Just enjoy (and remember to click to make the pictures larger).


An Engaging Evening

Who knew that a random Tuesday in August would prove to be such an exciting baseball night?

First things first. I got engaged at Dodger Stadium. Yeah, it's true. I asked, she said yes. I did not get down on one knee. I simply put the message up on the first and third base scoreboards (I guess they call them "ribbon boards") at the stadium (anyone can do it), and got the ring I knew she wanted. To get her to pay attention at the right moment, I had told her that the boys at Sons of Steve Garvey had put something funny up on the board, so we had to see what it was. So, when my proposal came up, she didn't know it was for her until I opened my baseball glove to show her the ring box (it was the easiest hiding place I could think of, and it worked).



Then she was just silent for a while because she didn't know what to think. It wasn't your traditional proposal (obviously, what with the two girls involved) where I had to wait for an answer. We've unofficially been married for four years now, at least in our minds, but I just wanted to make it official. So she finally put the ring on and said yes. Good stuff.


Before I left for the game, I watched the Red Sox take a 10-0 lead over the Rangers in the first inning in Boston. Seemed like the deal was sealed in that game, but I continued to listen to the game on the radio on the way to Dodger Stadium, and things started to go badly. I think the score was 12-10, Red Sox, when I got out of my car in the parking lot. By the time I saw the score from my seat at the Dodger game, it was 15-14, Rangers. Then 16-14, Rangers. Insanity. Finally, though, in the eighth, I saw the score change to 16-16, then 19-16, Sox, and the world was spinning correctly on its axis again.

The first four hitters in Boston's lineup (Drew, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youkilis) went 12-19 with fourteen RBI and fourteen runs scored. Ortiz hit two three-run home runs in the first inning. Youkilis struck out twice in the first, but then hit two homers in the game, including the three-run blast in the eighth that put the Sox on top 19-16. Papelbon gave up an unearned run in the ninth (thanks to an error from Youk, who was playing third because Mike Lowell hurt himself swinging in the seventh) to make it 19-17, but that was all the Rangers would get. Just seventeen runs. What a wacky game. Thank god we won it, though. Losing after going up 10-0, and then 12-2, would have just been devastating. Particularly on a night when Tampa Bay lost. Their lead is now three games.


As for the Dodgers, they were involved in a much lower scoring affair, but an exciting one nonetheless (and look how gorgeous it was at the stadium). This will be a longer game recap, because I was there and because it was exciting. Clayton Kershaw gave up a run in each of the first three innings, then settled down to go six, striking out eight along the way. In his last four starts, he's gone 25 innings, given up four runs (three of which came last night, obviously), striking out 23, walking eight, and allowing seventeen hits. Not bad at all. I think he's coming along nicely, don't you?

The Dodgers answered with one run off Cole Hamels in the first to tie the game (Blake singled after Kemp doubled and Ramirez was intentionally walked with two outs), before going down 3-1 after the third. In the sixth, with Hamels still in the game, Pierre bunted for a single, Kemp singled to left (he had his third consecutive three-hit game), then Kent flied out. Ramirez singled to drive in a run and make it a one-run deficit. Guys, you should hear the crowd every time Manny does anything. The place goes batshit crazy. He caught a routine fly ball to end an inning, and you'd think he had just made some spectacular diving catch. It's insane, but so fun. And McCourt is making money hand over fist on those Manny wig-hats, considering how many I saw on people's heads at this game.

Apparently, the Phillies have the second-best bullpen in all of baseball (the Dodgers were once first--are they still?). I'm glad I didn't know that before the game, or I would have been very nervous. Chad Durbin came in to pitch the eighth, and promptly gave up a single to Kemp, walked Kent, then hit Ramirez with a pitch. Casey Blake hit a sac fly, and the game was tied. Nomar, in his first game back after his trip to the DL, hit into double play. Nice to see you back, Nomar. And yes, that is me standing with him, on Sunday, August 3, at his Carne Asada Sunday charity event. I love him, but that doesn't mean I'm happy with the way he's played as a Dodger.

The bottom of the ninth rolled around, and Russell Martin led off. J.C. Romero's first pitch hit Martin on the back foot, and the winning run was on base. Loney grounded out, advancing the runner, and Ethier (who didn't start the game) came up to bat. There were some shenanigans going on in my section when Ethier came up, which meant that for a while, I thought Mark Sweeney had driven in the game-winning run, but I'll detail those in the next post (which will be above this one). Ethier had a six-pitch at-bat, and I'm pretty sure I only saw the last pitch, but that was the one that mattered. Ethier singled to right, and Martin hustled around from second, just beating the throw home. Dodgers win. Pandemonium. It felt like a playoff game, and I hope that's a sign of things to come.

I'm trying a new thing, doing a slideshow using Picasa, instead of posting all the photos from the game here individually. There are some good ones, so I suggest you take a look, then let me know how you like that setup (click to see them larger, and to read the captions).


Ethier Saves the Day

Don't worry, Sweeney. You can strike out tomorrow night.



Photo courtesy of Jill Weisleder at Dodgers.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Can Haz Cheezburger?

From a Dodgers' press release (yes, I do get those):

The Los Angeles Dodgers today placed outfielder Andruw Jones on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Sunday) with patellar tendinitis in his left knee, and reinstated infielder Nomar Garciaparra from the 15-day DL. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

Yeah, I just bet his knee is injured. Seems like they should have put the description of his injury in quotes, since when I read it, I made air quotes in my mind. Whatever it takes to get rid of him, I guess.

I told my girlfriend Andruw Jones was placed on the DL. Her response: "Forever?"

If only.

West Side Story

I think I'm going to avoid writing individual game recaps on this new site. It's a little boring, so I'll just keep it simple and give you the basics, without the inning-by-inning details. We'll try a paragraph for each game. How's that?

Both teams won yesterday. The Dodgers picked up a half-game on the idle Diamondbacks, meaning that now just one game separates the two. They benefited from a six-run inning, all runs coming off of Kyle Kendrick, then added two more runs and held off the Philadelphia offense (barely, thanks to another harrowing inning from Jonathan Broxton) to win, 8-6. I'll be at tonight's game, so I hope the hitters didn't use it all up last night, because I'd like to see a few runs scored for Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers will be facing Cole Hamels.

Boston didn't have a hit through one out in seventh inning, but they scored two runs in that inning, then added three more in the ninth to win, 5-1. Kevin Youkilis hit a one-run single in the seventh, Mike Lowell walked, then J.D. Drew doubled to score two runs and give the Sox the lead for good. Beckett was dominant, throwing eight innings, striking out eight and giving up one run on seven hits. He didn't walk anybody, and definitely deserved the win after that performance.

In an effort to shore up the rotation during Wakefield's stint on the DL, the Sox cut a deal with the Indians to pick up Paul Byrd, in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Byrd's ERA and WHIP aren't particularly great, but he's done well since the break, so maybe he'll be dependable for the stretch run. I don't know enough about him to even speculate, so I won't. I do know that, with his crazy windup, he looks like he should be pitching in the 1920s or something. That's sort of cool.

Tonight's Sox game will feature a knuckleballer, though his name won't be Tim Wakefield. Instead, the Sox have called up Charlie Zink to pitch against the Rangers. Should be interesting.

In other news, I was at Subway today and watched the paparazzi chase Lindsay Lohan out of the Bagel Broker, which is (presumably) a bagel shop next to my Subway.

Also, I witnessed a UPS truck driver stop to allow a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier cross the street in front of him. I love America.

Finally, I told you I went on the tour of Dodger Stadium on Sunday. Well, I have the pictures to prove it. Enjoy!

1981 World Series trophy.


Door to the Dodgers' clubhouse.


View from the Dodger dugout.

View from the top deck. How gorgeous is that?


Me in the dugout, showing my pride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Fresh Start

Well hello, and welcome to Robots Took My Medicine. Glad you could find it. If you're slightly confused, please click on the Beantown West logo to the right for the explanation of that site's demise, and then follow the link under "Robots?" to understand the meaning behind the new site.

So, here's the deal. Anything of mine that I wrote on Beantown West in 2008 is listed in the archives to the right. In order to archive, I've had to copy and paste each individual post and redo it here, so it's taking me a lot of time. Every picture had to be uploaded again, but some of them no longer exist, so I tried to explain that in the older posts if it happened. If you want to find something I wrote in 2007, the stuff from March, April and May is up, but I'm still working on the rest of it. Remember the Pierre-O-Meter? Well, you'll have to rely on that memory, because I don't have the file anymore.

Let's move on to the real meat of this site, which, at the moment, is quite depressing. Did you see what the Red Sox and Dodgers did this weekend? I don't even really want to talk about it, and because I'm starting fresh today, I don't really have to do.

The bottom line is that the Red Sox are still holding onto a playoff spot, but things just feel like they're slipping away. Maybe I'm crazy. Anyone else feeling this? Wakefield is on the DL, Buchholz is just sucking lately, and the offense isn't exactly inspiring confidence. I'm going to throw up if the stupid Yankees make the playoffs and the Red Sox do not, so the Sox need to get it together.

And the Dodgers, man, I don't know. Two games in a row against the Giants, the bullpen blew a lead in either extra innings or the bottom of the ninth. It was hard to watch, and the Dodger defense didn't do the bullpen any favors, either. This should have been a sweep for the Dodgers, plain and simple, but instead they lost two of three, and find themselves 1.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. We've been saying it all year, but it's about time the Dodgers buckle down and show what they can do. And if all they can do is what we just saw this weekend, well, let's not expect any playoff action for this team.

Yesterday I went on a tour of Dodger Stadium. I'd never done that before, and it was pretty damn cool. I'll be putting up some pictures in my next post.

My girlfriend drew the robot for the site, and then created a thing of beauty that made me laugh so hard that I had to show it here. Enjoy.

Click the image to see it a little larger.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Last Word

Here's why you're reading my work on a new site:

The guy who ran the Blogs by Fans network (who will henceforth be known only as "Douche," but I suppose you can figure out his true identity if you know anything about the network) wrote a post on his blog a while back (which I will not link to), in which he called Papelbon a "sissy" for "whining" to the press about his treatment during the All-Star Game Parade. When I wrote about that game in my post, I mentioned that I didn't think Papelbon was a sissy. Douche insisted Papelbon was. In the comments of my post, he continued his assault on Papelbon, and so I linked to an ESPN column written by a guy who had driven Papelbon's truck during the parade, trying to show that maybe it really was as bad as Papelbon made it seem.


Douche's response was that he found it "shocking" that an ESPN employee would be driving the truck, and then have the nerve to write a "BS" column defending Papelbon's "sissy behavior." I thought that was a strange response, so I wrote the ESPN columnist, Michael Philbrick, to ask how he came about getting that job. This is the post I wrote after I got a response to my email (the two comments on the post are the only ones I can find in the cache, which is the only way I could find any piece of this post--explanation on that below):


After [Douche] found it "shocking" that an ESPN employee would be driving Jonathan Papelbon's truck in the All-Star Parade, and then have the audacity to write about it, my first thought was, why is it shocking that a writer is covering an event from a first-hand perspective? After all, isn't that what every blogger does every time he/she goes to a game and writes about his/her experience there? Isn't that what makes my loyal reader Bruce Paine love me so much?


So, I sent off an email to Michael Philbrick, the man who drove the truck and wrote the column, directed him to my post on this issue, and asked him how he happened to find himself in the parade. I assumed that it wasn't because he's friends with Papelbon, but I didn't want to write that until I was certain. Turns out I was right. Philbrick's response:

The MLB PR dept. sought me out to cover the parade by riding with a player. They asked who I would want to ride with – I said someone on the Sox or a Hall of Famer. Papelbon agreed to it (and we barely got to talk, I wrote about the experience of the parade, not the time with Papelbon). Still, none of this matters. If any writer went out there to tell the truth, the piece wouldn’t have been different. It wouldn’t matter if an Astros fan wrote it.

These are the sorts of things fans like to know about, even if there isn't a bit of controversy attached. What's it like to be in the middle of the All-Star Parade? The MLB PR department obviously knew that, and so they pursued writers to tell that side of the story. The unfortunate thing is that the experience was a negative one for a few people. Do you think Philbrick would have just forgotten about writing a column if nothing untoward had happened during the parade? Doubtful. He was there to write the story of what happened, and what happened was a bunch of shenanigans from a small group of Yankee fans.

For the record, if the situation had been reversed, you can bet your ass I would be all over Red Sox fans who did the same thing. There's no justification for the behavior, and to call someone a "sissy" because he reacts in the only way he really can (please tell me you think every Yankee fan wouldn't be all over Papelbon for being a "sissy" if he had gone to the police, as [Douche] had suggested, or if Papelbon had done something about it himself, which was the other suggestion), which is answering questions from the press who saw what was going on and questioned him about it. It certainly doesn't seem as though Papelbon got to Philbrick after the parade and said, "make sure you write all about this, because I'm a sissy who can't handle things myself."
And now, for fun, the rest of Philbrick's email:


If he [Douche] wants to be upset, be disgusted at how Papelbon was treated by his fellow fans and how the Daily News covered the story … which caused the WHOLE problem. If all Papelbon said was “I’m the closer, not Mo,” don’t you think the Post, Star Ledger, Newsday and Times would have run with it, too? And yes, if the parade was in Boston the morons up there would boo the Yankees – I still don’t see how that would ever excuse yelling insults at a pregnant woman. Sorry ESPN covers the Red Sox, and sorry they’ve won 2 titles in four years. I believe the Yankees had their fair share of coverage when they weren’t fighting for third place.


COMMENTS:


AUTHOR: Douche

My mistake, I can only hope that everyone working for ESPN is a bastion of objectivity like Michael. That's a quality editorial organization they're running there. Although I guess judging the entire organization on one glorified copy editor isn't quite fair. (michael.w.philbrick@espn3.com how low on the totem pole do you have to be to get an espn3.com e-mail address?)

And my point is, either the threats were really something that caused fear in Papelbon, and he should've done something about that (police, or otherwise), or they were just riled up idiots taunting him and he should've kept his sissy mouth shut. Either way, he's a sissy.


One more thing. If this was an MLB assignment, why did he write his story for ESPN.com? I would like to congratulate him for getting his work on ESPN's Page 2, though, that's quite a step up from espn3.com.


Posted on: July 21, 2008 5:20 PM



AUTHOR: Cobra

(and I enter from the shadows...)


[Douche],
MLB looks for publicity from many MSM media outlets besides MLB.com. Professional organizations like publicity and ESPN is one of the best (at times) to get it from.

Next, ripping on the guy because of his email addy is....I'm not even sure what the word is for it. It's not something that he has control over and I'm fairly certain that the IT guys who gave it to him aren't the one's who decide how high people are on the totem pole.


Finally, are there any Red Sox players that aren't sissy's in your book? I've already heard about Youkilis and Papelbon but I'm guessing there are at least 23 others (not counting the coaching staff) that you call the same.


In my opinion, it doesn't make Papelbon any less of a man to be worried that his wife is scared/worried while she's pregnant. If anything, it makes him a better dude.


Going after the people saying things would have been a)not smart financially for him, b) would have ruined the MLB All-Star Game, C) turned him into Ron Artest/Stephen Jackson, and/or D)been nearly impossible for him to pick out who exactly was doing what.


I understand the whole Yankees/Red Sox deal but come on, relax a little bit.


Posted on: July 21, 2008 6:07 PM



The comments went on from there, with Douche getting more and more harsh and unnecessarily rude, particularly to the ESPN writer who had done nothing but respond to my email. After Douche said the same thing at least three times, I decided I was finished with it. I posted a comment that said I was not interested in him using my blog as a platform. He was welcome to his conspiracy theories about ESPN and the Red Sox, and to his opinions of what a "real man" should be, but he would not be showcasing those opinions on my site any longer. And I wrote that if he tried to post another comment, I would delete it.

Well, he tried. And I deleted it. He tried five times, in fact, to leave the exact same comment, and I deleted it each time. Two hours later, I received this email:

Erin,

You are the arbiter of what comments appear on your blog, just as I am the arbiter of what blogs appear on my network. I pay for everything involved in this network and dedicate a good deal of my free time to its upkeep.

You wrote two posts essentially attacking a post I wrote, going so far as to interview the writer of a story at ESPN. I have no problem with this at all. It's something that's happened time and time again on the network and I think it leads to a lively debate. In this case, however, you crossed a line when you decided to cut off the debate. You can't open a can of worms like that then cut one of the participants out arbitrarily. To cut me, or anyone for that matter, off halfway through a discussion on a post that was written as an attack on me is unacceptable.

Your account has been disabled, your site has been taken down. I wish you luck if you continue blogging elsewhere. If you do decide to continue blogging, I can provide you with a file containing your archives so you can upload them to your new service.

[Douche]

Interesting how he thought I was "attacking" him initially after his original claims of Papelbon's sissyhood (which started this whole thing), but then thought his comments on my blog were actually just part of a "lively debate" (which they most certainly were not). In the first post, which I cannot show you because it does not exist, I wrote about the All-Star Game in general, and happened to mention that I didn't agree with some people's opinion that Papelbon was a sissy. I did not link to Douche's page, nor did I mention he was the one who said this. In the second post, which you can see above, I merely responded to claims he made on my original post about the ESPN writer. I thought it was only fair to allow the writer to explain the situation, so I got his quotes and reported on them.

Later he let me know that I had tried to "make him look like a fool," which I think really sheds some light on his problem here. I did not try to make him look like a fool. That was never my intention. But because he was proven wrong, he felt like a fool, and acted like the big sore loser that he obviously is. And that's why Beantown West no longer exists.


He did send me the file with all my posts, minus the one about the All-Star Game, and the one I have pasted above (which, again, I could only find by searching Google's cache). I wish I could show you all of this, but, again, it's not in my hands. Douche said this when I asked for those two posts: "If you had them, they'd only tell the story as you wanted it told anyway, so go ahead and fabricate it from scratch if you want to, you'll get essentially the same thing."

Just screams "logical," doesn't it?

I realize this is a very long post, but I just wanted to get it all off my chest before I start anew. If something in here is confusing or not explained properly, please let me know in the comments.