Monday, August 31, 2009

Dodgers Make Big Moves at Trade Deadline

Surprisingly, today's trade deadline (not to be mistake for the other one a month ago) brought big changes for the Dodgers.

They had been in the rumors about Jon Garland all day, and Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated confirmed on his Twitter page that the Dodgers had won that sweepstakes, over the Yankees and Rockies, who were also rumored to be involved.

But the first announcement the Dodgers made was that Jim Thome of the White Sox had been traded for a player to be named later. That's a big bat to help protect Manny Ramirez, but it's also a guy who has apparently only played 28 innings in the field since 2005. I think we'll take the offense from our first baseman, though, and deal with whatever defense we get. Sorry, Loney. Ladies love the long ball.

Garland was announced later (also traded for a player to be named later), and during the Dodgers broadcast they showed footage of Garland apparently saying goodbye to his Diamondback teammates. It should be noted that the Diamondbacks are playing the Dodgers, so you have to wonder if Garland starting rooting for the L.A. team some time during the seventh inning of the game. He's probably changing uniforms as I write and just walking across the hall to his new clubhouse.

I had actually completely forgotten that Garland is a Diamondback and not a member of the White Sox anymore. His WHIP is pretty high at 1.431, but who's to say a change of scenery won't do him some good?

Meanwhile, it would be nice if Thome could get here from Minnesota (where the White Sox are playing tonight) immediately, as James McDonald has just given up the go-ahead run on a solo homer in the top of the tenth. The Dodgers like to forget to show up for the games they're supposed to win. I hope Garland and Thome know that about their new team.

One of My Favorite People Provides One of the Best Quotes Ever

On Facebook today, a friend wrote a status update about how she is truly terrified for this nation under its current president. On television, at many town hall meetings, news cameras have captured people (largely women) crying for the future of this country they love, dismayed over what it is becoming (ostensibly Socialist, according to them).

I'm incredibly annoyed by people who are choosing now to be angry. Now is not when a president has used political capital after a heinous attack to get us into a war with an "enemy" who had nothing to do with said attack. Now is not when a president is abusing his power by expanding the executive branch of the government more than any time in generations. Now is not when a president is backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Now is not when a president is refusing to admit mistakes committed by either himself or his country, all in the name of American perfection (the best quote from Obama on that subject, sort of: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism").

Instead, now is a time when a president is seeing that there is a big problem with our nation being the only developed one that treats healthcare as a business. There is something wrong with the system in this country, and whatever you think the solution is, acting as though those who would act to solve the problem are Nazi-esque is insulting and ignorant. The idea that the status quo is just perfect is something only a blind man would believe, though he probably went blind when he was unable to get treatment for his glaucoma or cataracts or whatever.

I honestly do not know the solution, but I'm man enough to admit it. Where is that humility among those at the town hall meetings, weeping for their "lost America"? You can't be a member of a party that decries "big government" when it comes to healthcare, but then advocates it when it comes to laws that legislate morality (gay marriage and adoption, for instance); or laws that take control over certain citizens' bodies (abortion rights); or military expenses topping $12 billion in wars on two fronts.

But thinking that healthcare means big government is a fallacy as well. I don't want to hear that the government can't run anything else well, so why should we let them run healthcare. We're all still here in this nation, and though it has its problems, if we couldn't rely on the government for anything, this nation likely would have crumbled years ago. I'm not even saying that I believe that government will do a bang-up job; I don't know how it will do, but I'm willing to at least hear some options before yelling and screaming about Socialism and welfare crack whores and pulling the plug on grandma.

In short, I don't care if you don't want "socialized medicine." That's a fair view to have, I guess, but it's not what this "debate" has been about, by any means. You want to argue healthcare, do so, but don't pretend that everything is just hunky dory the way it is.

My friend Piper wrote a response to my Facebook status (after a few other people had weighed in), and she had this to say, which I found entirely necessary to pass on to all of you:

those crying protesters think "i did nothing wrong, why should i have to pay to help others?" but it's not that they did nothing wrong. it's that they did nothing. every day they do Nothing about a whole host of injustices so regular they're mundane. these people should weep because the country Is changing. when someone says so&so is running for president, you don't even know what the person looks like! they might not be white or male or christian (or straight, some day i hope). this is a hardship for people who've never given a single thought to how the country could be better for everyone else. they wrap themselves up in the warm & fuzzy disconnect between american promise and american reality. they've done nothing wrong by this blanket which shelters them from the unknown. how dare we take it away. it's just not fair.

Emphasis mine, because that's my favorite part.

Guess We Can Count the Giants Out of the Playoff Race

I had also heard the Yankees were interested, so I guess all my most hated teams are vying for the opportunity to see whose pitching staff can suck the most. Either of those scenarios can only benefit me and my teams, so I guess I shouldn't be harping on the Giants too much. So...

Great work, San Francisco! Ooh, Dodger fans everywhere are trembling in anticipation of facing Mr. Penny during the stretch run! You've got us now!

Of course, if the John Smoltz story is any indication, Penny will go to the Giants and pitch like Nolan Ryan, with shutout after shutout, culminating in a no-hitter that knocks the Dodgers out of the playoffs.


Oh, and I'm on Twitter, but only for the sake of my blog. Christine convinced me it would be a good way to get more readers. So, if you're on Twitter and you would like to follow this blog, I heartily encourage you to go to this link. Thank you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Does Someone Not Like Billy Wagner...

...or is it just an innocent typo?

From the article about Paul Byrd's win over the Blue Jays today...

"There was more good news on the pitching front as lefty reliever Billy Wanger, making his first appearance since being acquired from the Mets on Tuesday, struck out the side in the eighth, working around a one-out double from Adam Lind."

Emphasis mine, of course.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

L.A. Is On Fire and I Know Who to Blame

Things That Make Me Mad

Happiness is taking two out of three games in Colorado. Happiness is not watching Manny Ramirez take strike three with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded and his team down by two runs. Swing at the pitch, Manny. I don't care if you miss it (well, I do, but not as much), but you can't be "frozen" on strike three with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Ugh. This team has been unable to get on a roll for a while now, and it's a bit frustrating. They need to beat the teams they're suppose to beat, and that means the Reds. The Dodgers' entire month of September will be spent facing sub-.500 teams, with the exception of two series with the Giants. They've won the games against the harder teams to get themselves into first place, so now how about taking care of business against the dregs of the league? If we don't win this series in Cincinnati, it will be very difficult to understand just what this team is made of, and certainly even more difficult to see them going very far into the playoffs.
My father sent me an article from the Idaho Statesman last week. It's long, but the gist of it is that an Air Force pilot is in the midst of being thrown out of the Air Force under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, all because a dude he had consensual sex with accused him of rape. Turns out the guy who accused him is a bit of whack-job, but the Air Force lieutenant colonel had to admit to the sex or else face all kinds of other troubles.

Let's ignore the fact that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is inherently discriminatory and unconstitutional. Even under that ridiculous policy, this story seems insane. The point of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that military personnel are not allowed to live openly gay, and their colleagues in the military aren't supposed to directly ask them about it. Of course, the law favors the military, not the gay people, so any sort of "suspicious behavior" can be cause for an investigation. Seems like "asking" to me, but what do I know?

The point is, the man in this article, Victor Fehrenbach, did not act openly gay in the military world. He did not exhibit any "suspicious behavior" that his superiors noticed. It was a civilian case that caused his problems, all because the Air Force found out, through the police investigation, that he was accused of rape. So now, it would appear, the "don't tell" part applies to any other human being in the life of someone in the military, and the "don't ask" part is entirely pervasive because the military can get its information from any source. Including a third party who is bent on revenge, and may have done it solely for the purpose of outing an individual and getting him/her discharged. This means that someone could just go around guessing that a soldier, airman, Marine, whatever, is gay, and the military would be obligated to investigate. Odds are, they'll find someone gay amongst them, but at what cost?

If you want just one more example of the complete insanity that this policy creates, consider this: last year, many sources reported that the U.S. Army would begin offering bonuses of up to $150,000 to Arabic linguists who chose to "re-up" and remain in the military. They were (are) having such trouble retaining these linguists, at a time when we're busy fighting a war in a land where people speak Arabic, that they were willing to give them a six-figure bonus to stick around. Meanwhile, men like Lieutenant Dan Choi, who is a West Point educated Arabic linguist who finally outed himself to the Army, has been discharged. And Choi is just one of dozens of Arabic linguists who have met the same fate.

When you try to tell yourselves that this doesn't matter to your life, try to remember the huge power this gives the military to destroy lives and careers, all based on discrimination. Discrimination from, essentially, the federal government. If that doesn't get you, remember that the bonuses are being paid by that same government, which gets its money from you. Your government is wasting money investigating and flushing out these dangerous gays, then turning around and offering more money to the moral, upstanding, straight linguists, all in an attempt to get them to stay put in the military. Because they're needed. Sounds logical, right?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Making Friends Wherever I Go

On Sunday, I took in my fourth Dodger game in five days. If you think I would get sick of Dodger Stadium after that much time spent there, well, you haven't been reading this blog for long, have you?

It was the second day game in a row, which, admittedly, can be a little uncomfortable. On Saturday, I was lucky enough to steal some seats in the shade, and the rightful owners never showed up, so I was golden. Sunday, I was fully prepared to sit in my own seats, which are in full sun for the whole game, but I knew I would be meeting up with Steve Sax of Sons of Steve Garvey, so I was preparing to be flexible.

When I got to the game, I (along with Christine) found some seats in a section close to the Dodger dugout, field level on the third base side. I was sitting in the shade in this section when Sax emailed me to tell me that he was sitting in the section next to me, and only a few rows closer to the field (which meant in the sun). So, I went up and tapped him on the shoulder, met his Cub friend, and sat down behind him.

Thus began my game of musical chairs, as people owning the seats kept showing up, and I kept moving to unoccupied ones. Eventually, Christine and I found seats in the front row of the section, and stayed there for a couple of innings. That is, until four girls showed up in the top of the fifth to claim their seats. We moved back a little bit, but by the sixth the two guys and two kids who had been sitting in front of Sax were ready to call it a day, so we took their seats and stayed there for the rest of the game.

Sax has already written a glowing post about hanging out with me at the game, but I was fully intending to write one of my own, so now I'll just shorten it. As Sax said, I certainly never expected to make friends, online or otherwise, by starting this blog. But writing this blog meant I got invited to Blogger Night last season, which means I was introduced to several of the Sons, and that I could develop a bit of a relationship with them by commenting on their blog (and vice versa) over the last year and a half. I was lucky enough to meet some guys who are pretty cool, knowledgeable about baseball, and kind enough to give respect to another blog that gets maybe one-tenth of the hits they get (I'm referring to myself there, of course).

To make this long story short, I had a great time at the game, giving shit (and getting it back) from Sax's Cub fan friend, and discussing the team and our lives with Sax. It's certainly true that you can't trust every person you meet online, but I somehow managed to find a few good ones, and it's worked out quite nicely for me. Oh, and I finally bought Sax that beer I've owed him since last April.

Sax said it all much better (and I didn't know about the Spider-Man/Human Torch friendship, but I like the reference anyway, because it makes me a superhero), so let me just see if this will do as a response to his post: ditto.
When I was in the press box on Thursday night, Christine watched the game by herself in the stands, and ended up meeting a woman, Emma, who writes her own Dodgers blog. I stopped by today just to check it out, and I found this video, which is just plain awesome:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Woke Up Early, So Here You Go

So, I didn't write yesterday. But to be fair, that's only because I had a busy day of actually being at a baseball game, and I'd rather be at the game than at home writing about it. That makes sense, right?

I also spent my evening seeing "Inglourious Basterds." I really enjoyed it, which is surprising because I didn't want to see it in the first place. I'm not a fan of movies that are violent for no reason. As a result, I have sort of held a grudge against Tarantino films. But "IB" was funny, well-paced, and even poignant. I had a good time watching the movie, and I highly recommend it.

As for Saturday's game, well, it was a good one. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I missed the first four innings of the game. This was the first time something like that has ever happened to me, and it felt very strange to just show up in the fifth inning. I know the knock against L.A. fans is that they arrive in the third and leave in the seventh, but I'm not one of those, so there was sort of a surreal quality to the game. I missed all the scoring, which came on solo home runs from Kemp in the second and Blake in the fourth, though I did hear the crowd's reaction to Blake's home run as I was walking up to the gate.

No matter. I still got to see three innings of work from Charlie Haeger, the knuckleballer who continued to impress. Yes, he lost his first start, but he was still good. Two home runs shouldn't have been his downfall, but his team could only muster up two runs. Saturday, his team still only gave him two runs, but he (and Broxton and Sherrill) managed to hold the Cubs to zero. There is some talk about Torre using Broxton in the eighth and Sherrill in the ninth, but I agree with the "stat-heads" or whatever out there who feel like a manager should use his best reliever when he really needs him, no matter the inning. The heart of the order was up in the eighth, and the Dodgers had a two-run lead. The mainstream media will likely make this out to be a case of Torre sending Broxton a message that he doesn't trust JB for the ninth, but from my viewpoint, this was a compliment. Torre really needed Broxton in the eighth, so he used him.

Today the boys face Ryan Dempster (or Ryan "Dumpster," as Christine calls him), who hasn't been too spectacular for the Cubs this season. In theory, the Dodgers can score some runs. But I'm a little worried because the Cubs have only scored three runs in the three games this series, so I'm hoping this won't be a breakout day for them offensively.

I will be at the game again today, and this time I'm meeting up with Steve Sax from Sons of Steve Garvey. We have not seen each other since last season when we (along with another Son, Alex Cora) sat together for an inning or two while the Dodgers played the Astros. I owe Sax a beer, so I'll be paying up today. Hopefully we'll get to see the Dodgers complete the four-game sweep.

Oh, and the Red Sox and Yankees are playing quite a series as well, huh? The Sox got pummeled on Friday night, losing 20-11. So how did they respond? By coming out on Saturday and beating down A.J. Burnett and the Yanks to the tune of 14-1. Not too shabby. Today is Sabathia vs. Beckett, which is likely to be a low-scoring affair. I don't know if the Sox will win, but I am glad to see that they didn't just roll over after the shellacking on Friday night. And if they can pull out a win today, they guarantee themselves the season series victory over the Yankees, with one more series to go, in Yankee Stadium, at the end of September. Doesn't mean much, but every little bit counts in this feud.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photos from Dodger Stadium--08/20/2009

Just a few pictures from Thursday night. I took some on the field before the game, and Christine took a few more from her (stolen) seat during the game.

Joe Torre holds court with the press before the game.

Matt Kemp waits for his turn during batting practice.

Andre Ethier does an interview with that guy from PrimeTicket.

Andre Ethier in the on-deck circle.

Matt Kemp at the plate.

Manny Ramirez bats.

It's time for the "Think Cure" RadioTeleWebethon (yes, they're calling it that), which raises money for the Dodgers' cancer charity. The sign normally reads "Think Blue," except during this time of the year. They've also painted the field with the "Think Cure" logo. It got me thinking that I know of a surefire way for Frank McCourt to get every Dodger fan to donate $15 to the charity. What if, on one night during this big charity weekend, McCourt put all parking proceeds toward Think Cure? We all know that parking money is pure profit anyway, so why not put it toward a good cause? It's just one night, and asking for donations from a fan base that's already spending a fortune just to go to a game--and almost making them feel guilty by plastering the logo all over the field and in the hills behind the stadium--seems a little uncool.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quotes from Torre's Pre-Game Conference

I'll just do this sort of the way Orel at Sons of Steve Garvey does, because it seems to be the best way. I didn't record the conference because I was too far away to pick anything up, so these are the short quotes I could write down.

On the Dodgers forgetting their recent troubles:

"You can't live off what you did yesterday in this game"

On Martin's poor throw to second on the Pujols steal in the ninth:

Martin didn't have "much hope" to throw out Pujols. His poor throws could be "all tied to the not hitting."

When asked if his team, which holds the best record in the NL, feels like the best team:

"Not right now."

On whether Manny affects the whole game:

"Last year we played our game around where he was in the lineup. This year that's not the case. I don't think we count on him as much as we did last year."

On the guys maybe trying too hard:

"It's natural to press a little bit when you have to win games."

On whether he's sensing any panic from the team:


On whether the guys are just tired:

"I don't think it's fatigue. If you're in a race, you're not tired."

On Furcal's struggles:

He "gets frustrated because he's an emotional guy."

On what this team can handle:

The "pressure cooker" in San Francisco didn't bother them. "That part of the team's demeanor makes me feel good."

Broxton isn't available tonight, and McDonald probably isn't, either. Sherrill will be the closer.

Matt Kemp Loves Me

Once again, I find it hard to see why I need to walk all the way into the clubhouse and mill around the center, though several people told me that I can. I know I can; I just don't know why I would. I feel like an intruder as it is, and I don't have a specific reason to be standing in the middle of it all. So I'll just hang out by the door, thank you very much.

That just happens to be where Matt Kemp's locker is, and if I hadn't been standing there, could we have had several conversations that centered around him believing me to be a liar? I think not.

It started with Kemp talking to the clubhouse attendants about parental discipline, and how he sees parents leading kids around with monkey backpacks that are essentially leashes. He thinks they're crazy. He looked at me after this little rant and said, "you probably have a cousin or something who has one, right?" I told him no, but that I'd probably consider getting one if I ever have a kid. He said his parents never would have needed one because he knew to listen when they told him to stick close. I agreed, and said the same was true for my parents.

Later, Kemp was getting on Josh Rawitch (my gracious host) about the fact that Kemp's walk-up song only played during his first at-bat last night. Rawitch kept saying he was "working on it," which Kemp took to mean that Rawitch was just placating him. I asked Kemp what his ideal walk-up song would be, one that didn't include curse words. He said, "What makes you think I like music that has curse words?"

And it's funny, because I was actually just telling Christine the other day how I love songs that have curse words in them. I love to sing and curse. I don't know why. I just love it. So my ideal walk-up song in a perfect world would probably be something vulgar. And I wouldn't doubt it if Kemp is the same way. But I felt like a douche for phrasing my question that way anyway. I told him that I like music with cursing, and he said, "Like what kind of music?" And when I told him I listen to rap, he did not believe me and demanded I name who I listen to that qualifies as rap.

Here's where I froze. I couldn't think of a single artist I listen to in the rap genre. Not one. So I looked like the stupid girl who was just trying to get on his good side, which is just not true! I worship at the feet of Tupac, T.I., Lil' Wayne, and a bunch of others. But I couldn't think of any of those damn names. So I said Kanye. Now, it's true that I like Kanye, but I also know that he's a bit of a bubblegum rapper. Which instantly obliterated any credibility I might have had. Kemp groaned when I said Kanye, and then I told him about the new song by Kid Cudi (which I pronounced "Cutie" until he corrected me and told me it was "Cutty." Embarrassing? You bet.) called "Make Her Say," which is a current obsession of mine. Here is the link to the YouTube video, but I'm telling you right now, Dad, that you better not watch. You won't enjoy it. Oh, and it's definitely not safe for work.

Kemp got into a mini interview with a reporter, but after he was done with that, he sat for a moment and then sang a little: "I make her say, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh..." And I jumped in with, "when I..." He chose not to continue the song, but I believe we bonded in that moment.

During this conversation, Christine was busy finding her way to Dodger Stadium via a Los Angeles city bus. I was telling her that I was standing in the clubhouse and Kemp was talking to me, and she said, "Oh, well, I'm on public transit. For the other end of the spectrum."

The Kemp story ends on the field during batting practice, when I walked past him and said, "I listen to T.I. and Lil' Wayne, too." It was going to kill me if I couldn't redeem myself a little. But Kemp refused to believe that I listen to those two. I told him I would show him on my iPod, but it was in the car. He, ever doubtful, said, "Just because it's on your iPod doesn't mean you listen to 'em." And I said, "Well, I have 16,000 songs on my iPod, so I don't listen every day." He was impressed with that number, but then Jim Hill came up and interrupted, without saying "excuse me," I might add.

In non-Erin-related Matt Kemp news, he seems to have a fun feud going on with T.J. Simers, the L.A. Times reporter. James McDonald was getting Kemp to sign a bobblehead for McDonald's mom (I think), and Simers asked to see it and asked what Kemp was doing in the pose. Kemp told him he had just hit a home run, and Simers said, "Oh really? When was that?" Kemp took it all in stride, and when they went out on the field he asked Simers if Simers had ever written anything bad about him. Simers said that he had, and when Kemp asked what, Simers said he called Kemp lazy at some point. Kemp walked out to go do stretching as an ABC reporter tried to ask him a question. Kemp joked that he was now "avoiding the media," but then yelled back to the dugout, "that's my boy," purportedly referring to Simers.

Kemp also wasn't happy when a reporter (seemingly of Japanese descent, since she said, "konnichiwa" to Manny when he walked up to hug her) informed him that Vicente Padilla had swine flu a few weeks ago. He was joking (sort of) when he asked someone to move Padilla's locker somewhere else.

And finally, when Casey Blake came in, Matt Kemp went to greet him, saying, "Casey Blake, I'm back. I am back." We'll see how that translates on the field tonight.

So, to wrap up: Matt Kemp doesn't like monkey backpacks or swine flu, knows how to pronounce "Kid Cudi," tolerates T.J. Simers, and doesn't think I look like the type to listen to any gangsta rap. Oh, and he plays a mean center field.

I Am the Most Awesome Person You Know

And not just because I'm currently sitting in the Dodger Stadium press box before the game.

No, I'm the most awesome because, in order to get to the press box, I had to take the elevator down from the top deck. I got on the elevator with a reporter and the elevator attendant, and after we went one floor, the elevator stopped to let someone get on with us.

And that someone was Manny "Being Manny" Ramirez.

Yes, that's right. The man himself. The elevator attendant said hello to him as he said a very enthusiastic, "hi everybody!" back to us. I would have avoided speaking to him if she hadn't, because I don't know the rules on such things (Madonna, for instance, would have kicked me off the elevator just for making eye contact; and that's not just a rumor). But the attendant made me feel comfortable enough to say, "Hi Manny!" in a tone just two or three octaves higher than my normal voice. She bypassed our floor to take him directly down to the clubhouse level, and when he got off, he said goodbye to us. I said, "Have a good game." I'm 99% positive that he said, "thank you," but my heart was beating so loudly in my ears that I can't be sure of anything.

So, yeah. Maybe he's a child, a cheater, and not as good an all-around player as Albert Pujols, but it's still Manny Ramirez! We just breathed the same air!

Off to the clubhouse and field for a little pre-game reporting. More later.

Dog Days

I'll tell you what, last night sucked. We waited for the Dodgers to get a hit, which didn't happen until the sixth inning, and then we waited some more for them to score runs to attempt to overcome a two-run deficit. That came in the seventh, with a solo home run from Andre Ethier, and then one from Casey Blake to tie the game. Things were looking up, and the atmosphere at the stadium was electric. I turned to Christine early in the game and said, "This feels like a playoff game." That's likely because it was a sellout, thanks to the Matt Kemp Bobblehead giveaway, but whatever the reason, it was.

Now, the crowd settled down after a few innings of watching the Dodgers go down in order, but we were just waiting for our moment, which came in the seventh with those two homers. Kuo held the Cardinals down in the eighth, and when Broxton came in for the ninth, you could just feel the crowd urging him to snap out of whatever the hell has been ailing him lately. We were begging, really, but in my section anyway, it was optimistic begging. I really, really thought this would be the night where he just reverted to his norm and shut down the heart of the Cardinals' order.

No such luck. He got Pujols down 0-2, then walked him on four straight pitches. Broxton then paid no attention to Pujols, so El Hombre just took off for second. Martin made a terrible throw, but Hudson probably should have been able to catch it anyway, but it ended up in center field. When the dust settled, Pujols was on third with no outs, and a sac fly from Holliday was all it took to give the Cardinals the game. The Dodgers put the tying run at second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to score, and they lost, 3-2.


Tonight, I will be in the press box as the Dodgers play the Cubs. I have no idea what my angle will be when I report to you from the game, but I feel like the "holy crap, I'm in the press box" story has been told. So maybe I'll just behave like a real reporter. Probably no live blog, but we'll see.

Two more things. One, here is my new Dodgers shirt, which I love even if I don't understand it. FYI, the deer is smoking a real cigarette, not a marijuana cigarette. It has a filter. I don't know why he's smoking. I got the shirt because of his antlers.

Second, I had tickets for the night of Manny's bobblehead, but I was in Arizona, so I missed the game. My fiancé and my friend Peg were there, and Peg captured the big grand slam on her iPhone. I uploaded the video to YouTube, so now you can see what they saw. You have to look closely to see the batter, but the crowd reaction is the best part anyway.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Change Will Do You Good

Tomorrow night, I venture into the press box at Dodger Stadium for the second time. My last time as a "real" reporter was on June 17, and I've written all of ten posts since then, so I guess I should count myself lucky that they're letting me in.

Hiroki Kuroda takes a liner off the head, the Dodgers are in the midst of an August funk that has seen their lead in the division drop to 4.5 games, our closer is in a funk of his own, the offense can't seem to get anything going, etc. These are stories that should interest me, and they do, but just not enough to get me into writing about them every day. Particularly not when there are so many out there doing it so much better.

There is no question that I love to write. I started this blog because I saw an ad once for someone needing a Dodger blogger for his network. I have since left that network and forged ahead on my own, and for a while there I was really chugging along. But at some point the idea of regurgitating things that most of you could find on ESPN and/or other Dodger blogs just lost its luster.

So I think I have to work on taking this blog in a slightly new direction. When I started I wrote daily recaps of every Dodgers and Red Sox game, but that fell by the wayside as I realized how unbelievably tedious that was to do (and I'm sure it was just as tedious to read). I have since dropped a lot of my Red Sox coverage, simply due to practicality. Change is nothing new to this blog.

But don't be afraid. This is not a goodbye letter by any means. I want to write, I have an outlet to do it, and I even have the occasional reader, so I have no excuses. I've made promises in the past and failed to keep them, but that doesn't mean I can't give it another shot, right? I am not going to stop covering the Dodgers, but I am going to start writing more about the other things that matter to me.

I have to set a goal, and now seems like as good a time as any, so here it goes. We'll start small. Today is August 19. I hereby vow to write something on this blog every day until the end of August. The posts may be heavy on the baseball for the next few days, since I will be at Dodger Stadium four of the next five days. But after that, we'll likely get a little political. The healthcare "debate" is making me crazy, and there are always gay rights issues to rant about, so I don't think I'll lack for material. I talk a lot, and I think a lot, and now it's just time I started getting it into the blogosphere.

To those of you who have only been coming because of what I have to say about the Dodgers and/or baseball, I hope you'll stick around. It could get interesting.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Trying to Get Pumped

I'm about to watch the first of a four-game set between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and despite what I've said about my Red Sox fandom in the past (in fact, the last time I posted), I can still get up for a Sox/Yanks series. I can actually get up for most every Sox game, but I do hate those stupid Yankees, so I'm excited about this series.

I spent the last few weeks out of town, first in Arizona to visit family and friends, then up to Idaho to visit more family. I had a great time in Arizona, and actually spent some time sewing and crafting, which is not exactly my thing, but it was still a good time. I also got the chance to see some of my cousins, whom I hadn't seen in quite a few years. And they became the second and third (of seventeen) cousins on my dad's side to meet Christine. So, quite the accomplishment for them, I'm sure.

Then it was off to Idaho, where I spent every day in my grandparents' pool, hanging with my cousins and their kids (are those my second cousins? I don't know. I just call them my cousins, too), who are all adorable. There are six great-grandkids in the family, and at one point all of them were at my grandparents' house at one time this summer (one of them lives in Alaska now, so this was a big deal), which was very cool.

If you've been waiting for the chance to see me in a dress and/or bikini, look no further. This link, and this one, will give you exactly what you crave.

I've been to one Dodger game since I got back, and thankfully it was the 17-4 blowout of the Brewers on Tuesday night. I would not have liked to be there for the two losses to the Brewers. Now it's time to hope they can turn it around against the Braves. The Dodgers took two of three in Atlanta, and my Uncle Bob was not pleased about that. That's him with me in the picture at the top of the page**. So now it's time to put him in an even worse mood and win the series at Dodger Stadium.

If you sense a lack of enthusiasm in this post, you're not wrong. I'm having a hard time getting excited about blogging (or, really, even reading blogs) these days. Not sure what's up with me, but it's probably just a funk. We'll see.

**Okay, okay. That's not Uncle Bob. That's just Brad Pitt's head Photoshopped onto his body, per Bob's request. The real picture can be found somewhere in the two albums I linked to in this post.