" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fuckstick Of The Week: Double Dippin'


Back on the horse next week.

This is Duncan Hunter, a first-term Republican Representative from the San Diego area. Mr. Hunter believes that the children of illegal immigrants that were born in the United States, protected by the 14th Amendment by guaranteeing them U.S. citizenship, should also be deported.

All under the guise of children needing to stay with their parents (said at a Tea Party rally. Natch.).

Now, of course this is a complex question about legal guardianship being available if a child's parents are deported.

But I have a question. If we can subvert the 14th amendment, a 150-year tradition that cleared up citizenship rights, why not other amendments? Right to bear arms? Pfft. Different time. Due Process? More complex world now. How about the 10th amendment? States' rights is overrated and wildly abused. Let's change that.

And this wasn't a misspoken moment for Mr. Hunter. He thought the Arizona law was "a fantastic start," and supports a bill in the House that eliminates citizenship rights to children of undocumented immigrants.

Anybody else think we're going to look back 20 years from now on this time in history as something that remarkably trumps even the Red Scare? Golly. We're really pushing ourselves to the top of the reactionary scale.

But I would like to thank Republicans for mobilizing the Latino vote. November is becoming much more interesting.


Our second Fuckstick Of The Week comes from the sporting world of baseball.

Chris Perez, fill-in closer for the Indians, gave up a game-winning bunt hit to Howie Kendrick on Wednesday. And Mr. Perez didn't like the manliness of it all:
“It was a bad baseball play that happened to work out,” Perez told the press. “I don't want to say it was bush league. But you never see that.

“Ninety-nine percent of hitters in that situation would rather win the game with a hit, not a bunt.”
My sophomore year in high school, we played Davenport North in a doubleheader, a team featuring Tyler Williams. Mr. Williams was the most heavily-scouted prospect in our area at the time and Tyler really liked himself. I got hit by a pitch that grazed my stomach and trotted to first, the position Williams was playing at the time. He snorted at me and said, "You okay? Geesh. I would have been a man and stayed at the plate."

Like Mr. Williams, Mr. Perez thinks "being a man" is important. Valbuena and Branyan were playing way too deep and Perez has a weird follow-through that doesn't put him in a great fielding position. It was a smart baseball move that won the game. Personally, I'd rather be a woman-winner than a man-loser.

I've known plenty of man-losers in my life. They're "fun".

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A New Developement



This just in to the BRE,


Juan Pierre has been traded from the White Sox for a gas can and ball of twine....

We'll see if this move can kick start the top of that Sox lineup...

There's also rumors of Carlos Quentin being replaced in right field by a dead rat. We'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mate's Musings


Hey, Tea Party assholes! You can't decry the "tyranny of the federal government" when it comes to health care or taxes and then in turn be in favor of the new Draconian Notatallracistinanyway Law in Arizona...It's called "being a fucking hypocrite".
Not a bunch of bigots at all. Christo and I didn't grow up next to about 500 of these guys. No, not racist at all. Never said stuff like "they breed like rabbits" or "I have nothing against the Blacks but...."
Never happened.
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You ever rent a movie solely on the idea that it's received so bad of reviews that it's almost necessary to view it? Well, i did it with "Couples Retreat". Oh.My.God. When something that you have the lowest of expectations going in somehow reaches below that, you know it's something truly special in it's awfulness. And it has a spot reserved for it in the T of A August Edition.
I'm now convinced that Americans will watch Vince Vaughan shout into a cup.
Made 100 million bucks, BTW....
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Holy Crap! Think he could see the writing on the wall? I really don't follow Iowa State basketball. Hell, I've barely have followed Iowa in the last few years but this is in the same stratosphere of narcissistic bullshit that Alford slung at us when he left for the greener pastures of New Mexico.
I have spent way too much time thinking about goddamn basketball lately. No more until December.
Apparently the Bulls are out of it.
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Can we please round up anyone who calls him or herself a "relationship expert" and beat them with sticks?
Holy Lord. What a load of garbage these assholes are selling. I think I'll start with Dr. Drew.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Next One Goes In Lake Michigan

My neck is as stiff as a board today due to a recurring injury that just won't go the fuck away. I love being able to only move my head 45 degrees in either direction. It makes for a fun afternoon.
What caused the reinjury do you ask? Well, the wife and I decided to refurbish an old swinging porch chair (I made the mistake of typing in swing chair into Google yesterday looking for an image...Um...try it once. It's NOT what I was looking for!) and after sanding it (Shoot me), then painting it, I had to "put it back together" yesterday. Sounds easy. A factory manufactured swing.
Make a long story short-- something that should've taken an hour took 7 and I wrenched my neck while spending an hour trying to get one of the planks to fit onto the frame.
What I took away from it is this. A bit of an enlightenment. I've always thought I hated most aspects of manual labor. Somewhat out of laziness but mostly out of my disdain for drudgery. It's all something you have to do at points in your life. Nobody really likes to clean the garage or dig up old tree roots. But I have come to the conclusion that I don't really hate doing hard, sweaty work in the house, yard, etc. Busting your ass for 4 hours to get a job done is not a big deal. It's really just something that needs to get done, I do it and while it may be unpleasant or hot or tiring, it gets done and then you can stop.
What I hate is a motherfucking project! Something like this fucking bench that takes 5 days to sand because the previous owner put so much goddamn varnish on it that I'm surprised it didn't turn to steel, a whole day to paint and dry and then an entire afternoon to put back together! Jesus I hate doing shit like that. It probably has something to do with my gnat like attention span and my tendency to rush through and "let's just get this over with" attitude. But I'll mow the lawn, clean the house, dig up weeds, throw bricks into a truck, etc. any day of the week but shit like this? Ugh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ok, This Series Has Officially Jumped the Shark

Really? A trophy? Really?! For a major league baseball game? Professional game by paid players?...Really? Why would..Seriously? A Cup? Like the bronze pig or the wooden axe they do in college football where it has some semblance of history, albeit kinda silly, behind it?

So, they're playing for a cup.....Wow.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Walk-offs Make Everything Better!


It's Andruw Jones Week here at Sox Summary Saturday.

He had a .502 wOBA over the last six games. That's good in a superlatively good sort of way.

In a week when it was reported that Kenny was throwing out feeler calls on Pierzynski with his 10-5 rights vesting in June, Juan Pierre managing to not strike out and not take a walk, Floyd looking just absolutely awful, Peavy rebounding peripherally but still not fooling anybody and the third and fifth hitters (Quentin and A.J.) going a combined 2-33, the walk-off made the week feel...less hair-pullingly abysmal.

This week's recap from Saturday to Friday (2-4, 2-2 at home, 0-2 away):

Offense:

.218/.290/.378 for a .668 OPS (.592 OPS before last night's 4-hr night)

.223 BABIP for the week, .221 for the year, good for dead last BY FAR in all of baseball. This is going to change, people. No team in the last five years has finished lower than .278 (2007 White Sox, of course).

K rate - 15.5% Good sign. This seems to be holding steady. Best rate in baseball for the year.

Walk rate - 8.8% Up a tick for the week but still below average. At least they're not the Astros (3.6% on the year...holy crap!)

Avg. with RISP: .159 (sigh)

The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: Stole 10, caught twice. Allowing two SBs, catching two. Pierre had five of them. Just think how many he would have had if he had an OBP higher than .231 for the week. Just. Think.

Fielding:

The first UZR/150's were released this week. The Sox are the fifth-worst team in baseball early on (-12.1 UZR/150). WAY too early to find anything in these numbers but let's! In the two main position switches on the year, Gordon Beckham at second has been ridiculously good (27.0) while Carlos Quentin in right has been ridiculously bad (-45.8). Teahen's been awful at third (-37.6) while Alexei's been good at short (11.3).

Pitching (Do I have to?):

Overall, worst walk rate in baseball for the week (5.71 walks per game) coupled with the second-best K rate (8.48). It's like they're trying to emulate Jonathan Sanchez as a group. 6.56 ERA with a 4.46 xFIP. Whoa! Those numbers are uncomfortably close to 2007 Jonathan Sanchez when he contributed a 0.1 WAR (that's with a point). Stellar job. That's who you want to be.

Well...Peavy. 5.93 xFIP, good for third-worst in the league behind only Rowland-Smith and the prodigious leader, Rich Harden and his 9.17 walks per nine. Why is Jake so bad? Well...among other reasons, his line drive percentage is sitting at 26.7% (fifth-worst in the league. Bullpen-bound Big Z is a tick worse). That's terrible. He's fooling nobody. And it's not really BABIP. It's at .324 (Big Z at .435. Discuss.). For the year, Peavy's K and walk rates are an identical 6.04. Icky.

Floyd was worse. He's continuing a trend over his career this year, using his fastball less and his curveball more. The problem is that his curveball is seeing less horizontal movement and more drop but he can't locate it. The velocity has been consistent and Floyd's always been streaky. He's kind of like Quentin in a way. Both has a lot (maybe too many) mechanical issues that all have to be in line in order for them to work. No worry right now. Too early.

Danks is quickly becoming one of the best pitchers in the league and is easily the ace of the Sox staff with Buehrle currently creating a new Buehrle trend as he hits his 30s stride - starting hot, gradually losing his stuff but getting through it and then imploding for a month or so.

Santos continues to excel in low-leverage situations, Putz gave up the slam last night to Jose "Look what I hit!" Lopez but three of those runners were Floyd's. Randy Williams continues to be awesome at being bad with Tony Pena a close second in that category. Thorton lost Saturday's game but he's fine and Linebrink continues to be very un-Linebrink-y, meaning quite solid and durable.

On the bullpen, if Kenny picks up Juan Cruz, released by the Royals yesterday, I will have to laugh. Because it will be funny. He is now a hard-throwing ex-Royals reliever, ya know.

Inter Alia

* Another six-game slate this week with Monday off. Two more against Seattle at home and then they go on the road for three against an under-achieving Texas team followed by the start of a Yankee series in the Bronx.

* Garcia is scheduled for two starts (might not happen with rain scheduled for today and tomorrow) after missing his turn last week.

* Pitchers scheduled to start against the Sox: Doug Fister, Jason Vargas, C.J. Wilson, Rich Harden, Scott Feldman and Andy Pettitte.

* Fister threw six shutout innings against the Sox, giving up one hit on August 11 of last year. Alexei hit a three-run shot off Aardsma in the ninth to win it. Rios played his first game the next day and the Sox were two games back in the Central. 'Member that? 'Member?

* Vargas and Wilson have faced the Sox in the past but never in a starting pitcher capacity.

* Anybody else completely dumbfounded how Rios is hitting with his hands so gosh darn low?

* A near-catch by Byrnes last night on Rios' double almost made me really hate him and his divey-grindy-hustle-douche ways. Just for a split-second. I thought he was going to get it and a intense wave of forthcoming hatred started pulsing through my veins.

* Minor League Report: Flowers is hitting .310/.431/.595 in Triple A with three homers and 14 rbi. Not saying it prompted Kenny's calls but it probably didn't hurt. A favorite of Phil Rogers, Brett Morel, has a .663 OPS in Double A. Retherford has a .765 OPS in Triple A and, interestingly, he's playing a few games at third while spending all of 2009 at second. Danks has a .907 OPS in Triple A but is striking out 32% of the time. Viciedo is struggling in Triple A with a .541 OPS, walking exactly one time in 57 at-bats while striking out at a 31% clip. Nobody from a pitching standpoint is ripping it up at the higher levels with Hudson getting knocked around a little (1.50 WHIP and four homers allowed in three starts).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Which Shirtless Hero Does McDaniels Go With?


The rest of the AFC West would like to formally thank Josh McDaniels for being terrible at coaching and trading...and now drafting.

I'd personally like to thank McDaniels for further debunking the dippy clichéd train of thought of a coach building a team that fits his personality.

Let's not confuse activity with achievement. Sometimes, it's just bad.

And this is bad. Quinn AND Tebow. I can hate Denver again!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trying To Understand The Mind Of Crazy People


Bullpen-bound?

I never liked Zambrano - never hated them, though. He has just had some batshit-crazy moments.

Statistically, this is one of the dumbest moves I've seen in long time. To put it in perspective, regardless of his slow start, in Lou's mind, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva are seen as more valuable starting pitchers than a guy that has posted an 3.9 average WAR over the last seven years.

To put THAT in perspective, Mariano Rivera in his best year had a 3.2 WAR.

I'm throwing out a wildly irresponsible prediction. Zambrano has a full no-trade clause. Even though he said he'd waive it during his looney-tunes moment of last year, he eventually wouldn't.

This is the beginning of the end for the Cubs' current make-up. This move forces Zambrano's hand and he'll be dealt, even if the Cubs have to eat a big chunk of the contract.

Aramis Ramirez will follow along with Fukudome.

I predict this because it's the only motivation that even touches the realm of logical!

That payroll is a inflexible mess and this is step one of a long process to fix it.

It's just too bad that Soriano albatross is unmovable.

On another note, Fangraphs released the first UZRs for the year and the Sox are...ugh.

Carlos Quentin has been almost perfectly brutal in right if it was not for Fukudome's blisteringly worse play across town.

Get Your Tickets Now For the Big Red Egg Bowl


The Immaculate Reception? Ice Bowl? Super Bowl III? Pfffft....All pale in comparison to the Clash of the Titans that will take place in Week 2 of the NFL season in Cleveland. Yes, that's when the two juggernauts known as the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns meet. Yes, I can already see the incompetent offenses, the out of position secondaries and glancing eyes of the BRE staff midway through the 3rd quarter when the game becomes a battle of 3 and outs.

Chiefs 2010 Schedule:

Sep 13 SD
Sep 19 @ CLE
Sep 26 SF
Oct 10 @ IND
Oct 17 @ HOU
Oct 24 JAX
Oct 31 BUFF
Nov 7 @ OAK
Nov 14 @ DEN
Nov 21 ARIZ
Nov 28 @ SEA
Dec 5 DEN
Dec 12 @ SD
Dec 19 @ STL
Dec 26 TENN
Jan 2 OAK

I see maybe 5 wins. That January 2nd tilt in KC to end the year against Oakland should be a tough ticket....(Cough)

Browns schedule here....
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My Soxcation went OK last night. Yeah, I tuned in a few times and got to see yet another bases loaded/one out shallow fly ball followed by a ground out in the 4th. It's like a disease. Even the wife knows it's coming. And she may know less about baseball than Mrs. Ney. Ponder that for a second.
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It will be two years Monday since Mate got hitched. In some ways it seems like yesterday and in another way it seems longer. Maybe me living out here in Tattoine has led me to believe that. Seriously, I have maybe one more year down here before the wife and I go batty.
The neighbors decided to once again, light up a fatty in the backyard last night. Now, I don't really care what people do in their house but when your backyard smells like a dorm room at Michigan State, maybe you aren't living next to the brightest bulbs in the pack.
Also. lots and lots of lawn chairs in the middle of the road. What is with hillbillies and lounging in the streets while their retarded offspring throw shit around?
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Larry King getting divorced or not? Who really cares? I just enjoy seeing pictures of him as he morphs into the Crypt Keeper.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earliest Soxcation Ever

April 19th. Mark it down.

Usually I don't get around to doing my annual reprieve from bad baseball until much later in the year. But I can only see so many mediocre pitchers look like Sandy Koufax, runners on 3rd with one out stranded and 0-2 fastballs laced off the left field wall.

So, SOXCATION starts today! Woot!! Woot!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Something Smells Like Vin Mazzaro


This is Mitch Talbot and Ricky Romero.

You can add their names to the Murderer's Row list of pitchers from the first two months of last year that the Sox had never seen and were utterly destroyed by.

Ricky Romero is understandable. Maybe not seven innings of no-hit ball with a career-high in strikeouts (by the fifth inning and in his pro career, not just majors) understandable. But...well...if someone were to do it, Romero isn't an infuriating choice.

Mitch Talbot, on the other hand, is in the Chris Jakubauskas and Josh Outman vein. Career minor-leaguer for the most part, second-round draft pick in 2002, went to Cleveland in the Kelly Shoppach trade (Cleveland wasn't coveting him directly, he was more part of a list to pick from), saw some late-season action in 2008 for Tampa Bay, giving up 12 runs and walking 11 in 9.2 innings of work, and has been, for his career, rather Mitch Talboty.

But Mitch Talbot beat everyone on the Murderer's Row list last night, throwing a complete game, giving six hits and walking none. He induced 17 groundball outs while striking out two. The most hilarious part of the night came when you look back and see that the Sox only saw an average of 3.2 pitches per plate appearance against...Mitch Talbot. Now that's a game plan! Only Kotsay (twice) and Rios saw three-ball counts all night.

"It's all just a little bit of history repeating!" - PropellerHeads

This Week's Recap from Saturday to Friday (3-4, 1-1 at home, 2-3 away):

Offense:

.239/.299/.436 for a .735 OPS (a tick below last year's overall total)

K rate - 15% - Good enough but outside of Romero, they saw a lot of relative soft-tossers in the Scott Baker vein.

Walk Rate - 5.9% - That's craptastic (!) and shockingly close to Juan Pierre's career BB rate.

Avg. with RISP - .293 (take out Wednesday's 11-1 blowout and it's .222)

Stole five bases (caught once) with Sox pitching allowing five stolen bases (no CS) - stolen bases mean little but we'll keep an eye on this as Ozzie's "gonna steal home in the first inning this year."

Pitching:

Good Freddy, bad Freddy: Pitched well Saturday against Twins, pitched not well Thursday against the Blue Jays. Fifth starter. Good enough if everyone else is pitching good-like.

Peavy isn't. 3% more concern crept in with Monday's outing. Average fastball velocity was only around 90 mph (not good) with his change only seeing a 6 mph decrease. He starts today against Cleveland and Westbrook. Progressive Field was the worst park for homers last year. If Peavy is to get back on track early, this would seem to be a good place to right the ship.

Buehrle twice didn't have good control last week. He Buehrle'd through it against the Twins Sunday, settling down and getting the win. Nothing was stopping the Mitch Talbot freight train last night though, and Teahen didn't help the situation. That was some quality Camanche Indians back-pedaling.

Danks looked masterful on Wednesday and Floyd couldn't find his curve (great movement, no strikey) on Tuesday.

Sergio Santos threw twice, giving up absolutely nothing. In fact, he got seven outs on the week, five of which were of the third-strike variety. Thorton was Thorton, Linebrink was oddly effective, Putz hasn't found out how to control that tail on his fastball but he was fine and Randy Williams came in situationally three times, twice not recording an out. Jenks is rivaling Mike Napoli as the primest of the prime trade bait early in the season if things were to go south rather quickly.

Inter Alia

* Donny Lucy is still hitting .500, secured the back-up spot this week and hit a prodigious shot off Dana Eveland. Freedom!!!

* Pierre had a marginally better week, hitting .273/.360/who cares. He drew two walks, both in the same game. Meanwhile, Scott Podsednik is leading the league in average (.436) and OBP (.500). Phil Rogers WILL mention this in today's Whispers. I Guar-an-TEE it!

* Mark Teahen OPSed 1.224 for the week and is tied for the team lead in walks on the year with seven from the nine hole. I'll take it for $3.75 million. He's nothing great but he's not cost-y in the least.

* See! a .300-ish BABIP w/RISP resulted in a league-average-ish average w/ RISP. Weird how that works.

* Scheduled pitchers the Sox will face this week: Westbrook, Carmona, D. Price, Wade Davis, Shields, Rowland-Smith. See if you can guess which pitcher the Sox have never faced.

* With the Bulls-Cavs game simultaneously going on next door to Progressive today, I put the over/under on attendance at 6,000. Should be positively Hawk BB-like.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sure. Go Right Ahead. Make My Ears Bleed.


Crap. I thought we had put Creed to bed, people.



This is the kind of stuff that made me throw up a little in my mouth when I used to watch Baseball Tonight. I gave that up only to see the MLB Network follow suit with more bang-bang highlight reels coupled with a sanitized alt-rock band fronted by a marbly-mouthed warbler oozing some sort of sanitized, second-order angst and cranked up to ten.

Which is worse? NFL broadcasts blaring the Roman gladiator-esque entrance music coupled with the inexplicable dancing robot at every possible opportunity or this?

For me, it's a coin flip.

And listen to the lyrics. "Line drive and triple play..."

Makes me think that Pearl Jam somehow made a shitload of money off that Cubs song. I will be expecting my Royals highlight song from Candlebox by next week. Don't let me down.

And speaking of making my ears bleed, the Sox win 11-1, Danks has a no-hitter into the fifth, they pound out 15 hits, go 6-14 with RISP and Ozzie is talking about what he would do if he got fired.

Cross...climb, Ozzie.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Almost Did This A Month Ago!


Four weeks ago, before the season started, the idea of a game-by-game White Sox blog seemed like a freakin' fantastic idea.

I wanted it to be a true-blue game-by-game analysis, sabermetrically-inclined, a bit of game, week and month perspective with various tidbits and inter alia (Hawk ramblings for one) mixed in.

Didn't happen.

First, I realized that my jobby-job would make that difficult. Seeing all the games seemed important.

Second, I have my head wrapped around sabermetrics but don't, by any means, know all the ins and outs.

Third, it would be a mountain of work that would have eventually bored me to tears.

But now, my lingering regrets over not doing such a thing have been abated!

Erik Manning of Fangraphs is doing a superlatively better job than I ever could. He's a Cardinals fan living near St. Louis who can't get Cardinals games in any form on TV for a mountain of reasons. He does get Cubs and Sox games, though. He hates the Cubs so he's adopted the White Sox as his second team and is doing God's work over at PaleHosePariah.wordpress.com.

Great, Great, Great stuff.

So the next time someone says that Peavy's velocity looked fine last night, you direct him there.

Go there...like...now.

I Feel A Tremor In the Force.....

I made it through the bottom of the 9th last night only to succumb to the Nyquil and Sleepy Time Tea that rushed through my blood. (Feeling much better now, thank you)
I was pleasantly surprised to see that when I arose, the Sox had actually won 8-7. However, Bobby Jenks needs to have a short leash. Yes, he's still, at times, effective but he is shaaaaky. His "save" against Minnesota on Sunday was Thigpenesque and last night's, once again, was walking a tightrope. I just have this feeling he's going to cost the Sox in the long run.
I suppose you can't really have him be demoted until he actually blows a save but we all know that day is coming very soon. My solution? Make Thornton the closer, trade Jenks and move on.
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Coffee commercials in and of themselves are silly and not really worth a blog post but this one from Folgers where the college student daughter wakes up to her father making it makes me want to throw a glass into the window.



What is with the notion of "asking for her hand" from the father? Fuck you. What is this? 1856 England? It didn't even enter my mind to do this. Not once.
It's all macho/middle America bullshit that guys who have no control over anything anymore give themselves so they can feel superior to the "whipper snappers" who are getting hitched.
As my father in law I am obliged to be friendly with you, come over for dinner on the odd Sunday and visit you in the hospital when you're sick. Everything on top of that is gravy.
For the record, I quite like my father in law and this never was brought up. But I know people who have had this be an issue.
I just watched it again while writing this and I had to hold the barf back.
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Jim Cramer said on the "Today" show that the recession is over! Rejoice! The Guru has spoken!
For a reminder on why this maybe should be taken with a grain of salt:


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Yes, Illinois Department of Unemployment I appreciate that you thank me for holding and yes, I am aware that I can visit your goddamn website but can I speak to a fucking HUMAN BEING!!
25 minutes!! 25 fucking minutes!!
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Monday, April 12, 2010

In For Maintenance

It's 74 degrees out and sunny and, naturally, I have a massive head cold. I just sneezed and got so light headed I had to sit down.

So, I leave you with this: Rockin' the mullet and blue tie circa 1979 and then using the "He's a good kid" defense for his bat shit insane son!

Right out of central casting.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sox Summary Saturday - Free Donny Lucy!


This is Donny Lucy.

He's hitting .500 and is on pace to break the single-season batting average record.

The fact that Guillen isn't playing him shows that he's not a good manager.

There. I've taken the White Sox pre-game Score caller and their White Sox Chicken Little mentality to its natural conclusion. Today's highlight - "Whose going to play third cuz Teahen ain't gettin' the job done so far."

Some observations:

Runners In Scoring Position

Every year, we get this tired meme. Over the last ten years, the White Sox, on average, have finished just above the middle of the pack. In 2007, they finished dead last, but that's what you get when Andy Gonzalez, Danny Richar and Jerry Owens see the field. In 2005, they finished 23rd. That seemed to work out well. In 2006, they finished 4th. 90 wins. Check it out.

It's a decent little indicator on success after the fact. Not iron-clad, but decent. More part of a mélange.

BUT WITH QUALIFICATION!

Their BABIP with RISP through four (!) games is .091.

League average for a season is in the .290-.300 range. For an entire team over the course of one season, by-and-large, it's going to hover around that range. Last year's BABIP w/RISP was .292. In 2008, it was .297. In 2007, just an awful team with RISP was .272. The 2006 White Sox, a great team with RISP, had a .316 BABIP. Your World Champion 2005 team's BABIP w/ RISP was .273.

Heck, even a full season of a team's at-bats with RISP is a relatively small sample size. What's that say about four freakin' games?

Geesh! Is Vernon Wells going to hit 162 HRs this year? No. So the Sox won't have an .091 BABIP with RISP this year. Balls will drop, balls will find a hole, things will happen.

But...

"I'm going to suicide squeeze in the second inning."

Really, Ozzie?

We can see and maybe guess on the overall gameplan from Ozzie through four games. And we can maybe do that when, through four games, the Sox saw Lou Marson and Drew Butera behind the plate and they stole a grand total of three bases, getting caught three times. Saw a lot of bunting. Bunting early in the count without even giving the guy on first a chance to feel out a possible swipe of second instead of giving away an out. In the seventh inning.

I can't help but feel like Ozzie thinks his reputation as a good manager was mitigated by the fact that he had a bashing team for most of his tenure (nobody thought that) and now wants to flash his managerial-y chops with this team that doesn't doesn't have superlative bat control and, while they're certainly faster, doesn't have blazing speed top-to-bottom. It's not a square peg in a round hole type of thing, it's more like a slightly oblong peg in a roundy. You can jam it in there but the process isn't going to be the smoothest thing you've seen.

Let's worry about Peavy after one start, shall we?

He looked hittable. His slider had little bite, he wasn't hitting his spots and a few guys, Sizemore and Peralta particularly, seemed to know exactly what was coming or saw what was being offered and could adjust a bit too quickly. He's had bad Aprils before in his career ('06 and '09).

His fastball velocity was down and his horizontal movement wasn't great compared to previous years. But let's give it a few starts before we begin to worry. It's was 40 degrees Wednesday.

Inter Alia

* Teahen's looked terrible but he still has an OBP nearly 100 points higher than Juan Pierre, the guy whose only job is to get on base.

* Not important but something to watch: Tony Pena is only effective if he has a fastball at 95 mph or above and he uses it. In Wednesday's game, he threw 16 pitches and only three were fastballs, averaging 93.8 mph. Not to get all Phil Rogers here, but the trade of Brandon Allen for Pena was curious, especially with Konerko in a contract year. Allen had a .298/.373/.503 line in 2010 in the minors, mostly in Triple-A and, more importantly, struck out only 85 times.

* Going into Saturday, the Sox as a team have walked 24 times while striking out only 23 times. They've looked iffy but that's a good sign and something that could really end up mattering a great deal as they try to find their new type of style.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tales Of Mediocrity


Mediocrity get a bad rap.

Anytime someone set out to accomplish something, it's a good bet they're trying to do something above mediocre.

Work done strictly for the dollars doesn't count. I strived to do exactly mediocre work anytime I did landscaping...and telemarketing...and, well, my entire three years at Square Kitchen - especially brunch shifts where I worked my ass off to do a half-ass job.

But achieving mediocrity takes work and sometimes shouldn't be dismissed with a mere 'meh'.

Like finding the distinction between the absolute best and absolute worst, mediocrity tells us much about what's good and what's bad. When something lands squarely in the middle of the mediocrity scale, it can, on occasion, make you take a pause and reflect on just how perfectly mediocre something is. Hal Hartley, the 90s American avant-garde film director had a line in, I believe, Trust that summed up the reaction to mediocrity perfectly with Adrienne Shelley's seemingly only line repeated over and over in the film, "I have no response to that."

Mediocrity tells us much about the person or persons creating a work as well. It tells us about the limits of their imagination, it tells us about how they experience life and respond to it, it tells us about what they may be afraid to express or haven't found yet in order to express it. And it tells us about a bit about ourselves when we experience the perfection of mediocrity by informing us, sometimes exactly, what we want more of in a particular milieu.

So...let's celebrate near-perfect Mediocrity in Christo's recent entertainment life:

A disclaimer: Most of this is my fault. While the invention of the DVR is a big step forward in TV, it has side effects. It's too easy to put things in the queue and, with the powerful allure of its commercial-freeness, makes me feel like things are less of a commitment. That's a red herring and you only realize it when you add up the impending hours of wildly mediocre TV-watching and find out you have a six-hour commitment of blandness ahead of you this week.

Parenthood

Not a bad show, it's just shocking how there isn't one aspect of the show that even approaches the realm of good. Not even one segment of one episode. It doesn't even set up a subplot that anticipates possible goodness or accidently wanders into the world of marginally provocative. Solidly mediocre job, guys! Without the production values and name actors, the scripts could easily be mistaken for episodes of 7th Heaven without the Christiany-ness. And Erika Christensen can't act.

The Pacific

This one informs us about the relative brilliance of Band Of Brothers...aaaand that's about it. Important work, yes, but it feels more like I have to watch it more than wanting to watch it. Like Ken Burns' The War, I think with the glut of high-quality war-type epic-y, interview-y juxtaposed with fiction-y sort of stuff made in the last ten years, a point of diminishing returns has been hit from an entertainment angle. But that's not really the point with The Pacific. It's...a bit flat. And...a tad jumbled. Private Leckie (James Badge Dale) is the spiritual center of the series but I'm just not getting Dale's depiction of the spiritual center. Or, to say it better, I'm not getting Leckie's lack (see what I did there...) of and confusion about his spiritual center and that's made for an empty emotional core for the series.

Flash Forward

Yep. I'm still watching. It's my crap TV show. My Lost. Flash Forward, more than any show on this list, hooked me primarily because I wanted to see how the writers would work themselves out of the myriad of writing corners they wrote themselves into more than being actually entertained by it. I've been shocked by its non-horribleness. It's not good, but they've successfully avoided becoming laughable and may be the most wonderfully mediocre show I've seen (and stuck with) in a few years.

Justified

I always thought Timothy Olyphant deserved better. He has a niche. Justified's only four episodes in and it borders on "solid", the place just above mediocre. With sparkles of goodness and flashes of interestingness, it tends to pull back, unfortunately, on putting together a coherent, long-form storyline, hoping to allow viewers to come and go as they please. I respect the effort. It's almost if they're trying to learn from another F/X series that became too long-formy and silly, Rescue Me, hoping that they wouldn't have to rely dumb storylines that seemed like a good idea at the time only to realize that it was going to take another eight episodes to write themselves out of the stupidity. Since I can come and go as I please, I will.

The Entire NBC Thursday Night Comedy Lineup

I've spoken about this before in the BRE TOA 5. I work on Thursday nights so, when I come home, there's about three commercial-free hours of TV in the queue. Last night, I was incredibly relieved to see that all of the NBC comedies were reruns. "Thank all that is holy!"
The Office used to be hilariously awkward. Now it's unfunnily awkward. 30 Rock used to be originally funny in kind of a safe, charming way. Now it simply repackages the jokes that worked in the past in (barely) different wrapping paper. Community saves itself by simply staying in the just-above-sophomoric joke range, which is welcome in a Newsradio: The Later Years respect. It stays within itself, which puts them right between mediocre and solid, mostly because it was never great, unlike The Office and 30 Rock. Parks & Recreation has greatly improved its lot by realizing the limits of having Amy Poehler only portray a naive boob and made her into something charming optimistic with flashes of genius. But as a group, what originally was something that made me think, "Hey, this will kill some time in a good way," has become a somewhat of a task to get through.

I think it's time to pare down the TV watching choices that I've thrust upon myself. I have seen Mediocrity and their names are these. They rarely approach bad (well...except Parenthood) and even more rarely ever approach good. They're the Hershey's bar or Shasta of TV.

Treme, the new series from David Simon of The Wire fame, starts Sunday. I have hope for the return of good TV watching that helps me avoid something stupid like going for a bike ride down the lake or (gasp) picking up a book.

Meet the New Sox, Same As the Old Sox....

(Deep sigh) So, it's gonna be this shit again? I always thought the reason for the Sox comically bad ability to get runners in with less than 2 outs was due to the waving home run or nothing sticks of Thome and Dye but I guess ,early on anyway, we're going to have to sit through more really bad situational hitting. Again.
God, we're 3 games in and I'm frustrated. Good sign.
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I am a contributing blogger for CFN. I know, we kinda ripped on them a bit but it's always been a daily visit for me. Yeah, I still think their analysis of the Iowa-Indiana game was silly but they're a damn sight better than reading one of the dunderheaded columnists on the WWL. (Rittenberg excluded).
Anyway, it's just a blurb and I say "backup" too many times but here's my first entry.
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Can you hear the wind swiffing through the ears like two seashells?
It's the Idiot/Bat Shit 2012 Ticket!!!


It really doesn't have anything to do with her politics (although I find them abhorrent) but Sarah Palin's voice makes my spine shake more than when my mom would screech her high pitched scolding at me for not cleaning the windows right.
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That Was Just Smashing....

That was pretty much a perfect first game. It's one game. It means very little but it was fun to watch nonetheless.
I haven't had a "this is no way in doubt" viewing of one my teams' games since the 2009 Outback Bowl.
I don't know. I have a feeling about this team. I have since they unloaded Thome and Dye. I like the makeup.
Probably means 89 losses and looking forward to football by June.
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Speaking of enjoyable sports viewing, last night's NCAA Championship game was downright interesting. Not too shabby for a tournament that was turning into a factory of diminishing returns. The first two rounds are exciting but as we go along it gets more predictable and more yawn inducing.
Last night was fun to watch. I don't really like Duke but I don't hate them. I like Krzyzewski quite a bit actually and I think alot of the hate comes from jealousy. Now, their fans are egotistical jackasses but I think the team is just...good.
I have to say that watching Butler run the Todd Lickliter offense to clunky results solidified my favor of letting him go. Butler is pretty meh offensively but lights out on defense. Jesus. Get better at cutting off passing lanes. So, that's what frontcourt pressure looks like?
I found myself rooting for Butler but I didn't really care. I became that annoying fan who just wanted to watch a "good game". It was. Despite Jim Nantz.
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Is every movie coming out based on a book by the guy that wrote 'The Notebook"?
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Pretty close to having a major ass change in my life. No, it's not a kid. Thank God. It may be my springboard to getting out of Chicago ,er, Romeoville and actually, y'know, being near nature and water and wine country. Not gonna be there tomorrow but I can see the horizon.
Remember the "Married With Children" where the aliens visited Al and everyone thought he was crazy? Peg made a crack, he smiled and just went "Come on, boys. Get me outta here." THAT'S me. I've had recent conversations with certain people giving me the "Why don't you try (insert job that I have no experience and/or aptitude and/or interest in)?" You know, people who still think it's 1956 and "Help Wanted" signs are followed by "Here's your apron! Start first thing tomorrow!"
Urge to punch...rising.
Details coming in the near future. Gotta cross the T's and whatnot.
But that gigantic sigh coming from the southwest burbs will be me.
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Heard this at McDonald's yesterday:

Typical 30ish, North Face wearing run of the mill suburbanite wife to her 3 year old: "If you don't finish your food we're not going to go to Mason's birthday party and you won't see Madison, Aurora or Talen."

Talen? Aurora?..Talen???!!!!

I'm naming my kid Phil just to bring back some sanity to child rearing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

About Fucking Time





I can't remember a more excruciatingly long off season. Yes, Iowa basketball's horrendous season and my subsequent mid January check out had alot to do with it. And the coaching search kept me somewhat distracted for a week or so.
But Opening Day is here! Christo and Mate have petitioned the government to make this a federal holiday. Fuck the NCAA Tournament.

"All is fine and good when the game of 9 appears with the Robin" -- Chinese Proverb

"The Heavenly Angles sing in harmony when the ball hits the round wood" -- Lost Bible verse (or bad Fortune Cookie)

"The Pirates are already 6 games out of first place!" - - April 18th headline in Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Friday, April 2, 2010

Off To The Cleve...


Christo will be visiting the Ney house's favorite cheap vacation spot until late next week.

We'll be kickin' Cleveland food style.

In the meantime, another part of the BRE family, Food With Wine, just passed its 50th pairing. Something started as a bit of a lark has turned into a rip-roarin' good time.

Peruse and enjoy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Face Down In Cabo....

Yeah, that's a quote from the song "Cabo Wabo" by Van Halen. A song I loved in 1988 and completely forgot about until I went down there. The minute I listened to it again I immediately grew odd facial hair, ordered a Big Gulp and was completely intimidated by good looking girls.

Anyway, here's a little recap of my trip. I better do it now since it's fairly fresh in my brain and the Hick filled Shantytown I currently live in hasn't erased the bliss from my brain yet.

There was really nothing about the place that i would consider a "con". It's Americanized as hell with a Wal Mart and Costco and such. The riff raff has been sufficiently swept under the carpet and there's a huge mall right on the main dock but I really don't care about that. If you suffer from White Guilt and want true Mexico all you have to do is drive 15 minutes down the road to the "Old Cabo". If you're there to relax, get on the water and drink like a fish, who the fuck cares that there's a Coach store?
We stayed at an all inclusive place and I highly recommend it. Highly. The food was barely above the St. Ambrose Cafeteria level but it was plentiful. Breakfast was good. But do you really go to Cabo San Lucas in March for food? If you do, then you're an idiot. We went to an authentic restaurant one day and it was good but it was nice to not have to worry about where you were going for dinner.

I drank lots of booze and for some reason, when I'm somewhere warm and on the ocean I have to drink Tequila Sunrise. I never drink them anywhere else. I drank around 6,000 of them in our 4 days there.

It was surprisingly quiet for being in the middle of Spring Break. I was told that Cabo doesn't attract the college kids like Cancun or Daytona Beach or whatever. You tend to get some but they are the girls who are looking to get a suntan. There were a few Lunkheads running around but no more than Lincoln Park. They were easily ignored.

Some random stuff:

If you go you're a fool if you don't do a whale watching excursion. It was fantastic.

Snorkeling ain't my thang. I sucked in about 8 tons of sea water. It just didn't take. Yeah, it's cool but I really don't need to see fish that bad.

You can get shit like Ambien and Viagra over the counter. It's Mexico.

European dudes need to stop with the Speedos. Some American tight assness isn't all bad. Cover up your junk with something more than a sheath.

If you do go there IGNORE the guys who are there to "help" you at the airport. They are time share salesman. We made the mistake of asking where our travel agencies cab was and we were directed to a pitchman. Apparently, the Mexican government has sold all the airport terminals to private companies. Just keep walking.

Cabo is one of the few "Touristcentric" places that seems to still have reasonably priced housing. You can get a 2 bedroom condo a mile from the ocean for around 120K. It also has wide swaths of beach that are undeveloped and free of condos and beach houses. This will most likely not be the case ten years from now.

Went to Cabo Wabo..... Meh. We didn't really do the bars as we had free booze at the hotel. To be fair, we were at the place around 7PM. I'm sure it gets packed later in the night. But "packed bar" and Mate are mortal enemies now.

I would certainly go back and hell, if the opportunity arose and I could swing it financially, it's a damn good place to have a vacation home. Crime, unlike a lot of Mexico, is rare. The weather (except Summer where it apparently gets fucking hot) is perfect. Seriously perfect. I know I'm a wimp for not really wanting "grit". I used to like that but quiet time in nice weather is kind of my speed now.

It would also be a fantastic place to go with another couple or two. (Hint.)