Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The view from inside the moment...

By my expert estimation, I'd say approximately 456 million people are currently logging on to their various blogs and message boards to write about something that happened thirty minutes ago on national TV. Not an every day something, not an unexpected something, but a once-in-a-lifetime something that will change a sport and the nation that calls it a past time.

Twenty years from now, I will tell my children that I was sitting on my Wal-Mart futon in my PJs talking sports with my roommate when the crack of a bat and the flicker of a thousand flashbulbs marked the moment of history being made. The funny thing is, my roommate Alicia and I were talking about how, for all the controversy surrounding it, we wanted to see the moment when it happened. We wanted to be in it, in the drowning pull and the skew of the lights that makes what's already bigger so dangerously close to immortal. And then it happened.

To be honest, I don't know how I feel about Barry. I want to hate him. I want to hate what he has done to my favorite sport. I want to hate the way he plays this game. But I can't. Because as a rational human being, I just can't make a case against him. The truth is, he hasn't done anything to the sport--or at least not anymore that each of us fans has done. By tuning into the Giants games for the last two nights, just like I tuned in to every Cardinals and Cubs game a few years ago, I am playing a role in propagating this thing that I want to loathe for making a beautifully crafted game of patience and practice into a circus spectacle.

I think what we have to accept as fans, is that just like everything else in the world we live in, the sports we love are going to grow and change with the times. I do believe Barry did steroids, just like Jose, Mark, Sammy, and a long list of other popular players. They did it because they were trying to keep up. Because like it or not, this sport that I love is their job, and just like everyone else they want to do their job the best they can--even if it means doing something they know is wrong.

Could you honestly tell me that if you, John Smith the accountant, were falling behind at work while your co-workers Dick and Jane just zoomed through their daily routines and got praise from the boss every day, that you wouldn't accept a little pill that would help you keep up with them and increase the longevity and performance you can sustain in your career? We live in a competitive world as it is, but the sports realm only amplifies that competitiveness because it's the sole element of the game. You have to get the edge up on your opponents, or stand to lose everything.

I will say this--the one thing that sticks in my craw about Barry is the same thing that sticks in my craw about T.O. and Kobe and every other athlete who wants to act like he is bigger than the sport. No matter how great an athlete you are, you will never equal the size of the game. Long after you are gone and the last memories of your existence are framed in some Hall of Fame, the game will still be played. Someone else will break your records. Someone else will become the next you, just like you were the next somebody else.

So don't act like you own it all, and don't draw the media to your side just to tell them how miserable they have made your life. You wouldn't be who you are or do what you do if somebody wasn't there to watch it. Besides, can you really say that a paycheck with eight or more zeros doesn't cover the hassle of the media circus? It is one thing for one of the most popular athletes in the world to be followed ceaselessly by the press, it would be another if the aforementioned John Smith had to leave his office every day with his $30,000 a year paycheck in his pocket only to deal with a crowd of flashbulbs and tape recorders asking him how he could have missed that transaction last month that left one of his accounts unbalanced or how he plans to replace the Excell document that his computer mysteriously destroyed while he was eating his $6 cheese sandwich in the company cafeteria. John Smith doesn't get paid enough to deal with that, but athletes do. If they wanted to take a major salary cut and act like their job is more like everyone else's job, they could be treated accordingly. Until then, suck it up.

I'm glad I saw Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. I'm even glad I witnessed the near deaths of a hundred plus people scrambling for a piece of leather and lace, and then the ten-minute interruption in the game for an impromptu (but very well-orchestrated) ceremony that brought a tear to everyone's eye--particularly the eyes of the Washington Nationals whose faces seemed to express the sadness that can only come from knowing that losing this game would be the highlight of their season.

Many people will wax eloquent about tonight's events, from now until eternity. Who knows exactly what it will do to this sport, but I sincerely hope that it will help bring baseball back into the forefront of the nation's attention as it deserves. And maybe if it does, the devil horns on Barry's head will turn into tiny support posts for an itsy-bitsy, almost invisible, rusted out and 'roided up halo.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Smell the #9

Okay folks, I need you to be with me at this moment. It's the bottom of the ninth and the Braves, in true Atlanta fashion, have choked their lead and are now tied at 9 at home against the Astros.

Also--Barry Bonds is at bat with the potential to hit his 755th career home run. You may have heard about this, it's kind of a big deal.

Okay over in the Braves side of the split screen we've got Brian McCann trying to pull out the win. Jeff Francouer's on deck. Oh great, 6-3, goodbye Brian. Here comes Jeff.

Barry's still up on a 3-2 count, he was walked his last at-bat. Oh what do you know, base hit to left, guess tonight's not the night.

OH! Francouer got on with a fumbled ball in the infield--I didn't see the exact play on account of Barry. Maybe I should hold a press conference to cry about how he's interrupting my life and disrupting my family.

Kelly Johnson, it's all on you. He's 0-2 and just swung for the fences on a sinker. Great job, Kel. Way to watch the ball.

Super, Chuck James. In case you don't know this kids, a little tip for t-ball, you always want your pitcher at the plate in a two-outs, bottom of the ninth, tie ballgame situation. That's great. Oh he took a lighthouse round on a sinker, too. How 'bout you keep your bat on your shoulder idito? Qualis is on the mound for the Astros by the way...

We're 1-2. Check hit a liner to short and the Braves are going to extras. Great. You're going to stick around and keep me sane right? RIGHT? Sure you are. What choice do you have?

Commercial break: Rush Hour 3. I think it's a bad sign for a movie that when I first saw the trailer I thought "...there was a Rush Hour 2?" Incidentally, it should be illegal for Jackie Chan to make sequels. Chuck Norris on the otherhand--why hasn't he capitalized on the cult Chuck Norris is badass movement? Have you seen the Chuck Norris fact generators? They're hysterical. Of course, part of what makes it funny is that Chuck Norris clearly takes himself so seriously, so if he started playing into it, it might not be so funny.

Okay we've got Ron Mahay on the mound. Who the hell is he? He's 2-0 with 28 game appearances, that's okay, I guess. Can't say I've heard of him, but so far he's up in the count 1-2. Ty Wittington is at bat. Ooh, struck out looking. Ta-ta Ty.

This Mahay guy has a rugged, Robert Redford in The Natural handsome thing going on. Yes let's talk about my new favorite Brave, Mark Teixiera. More on how I feel about that trade later.

Count is 2-2 on someone. Not sure who. The announcers are, ever so helpfully, talking about how Bobby Cox is anti-music in the clubhouse. Flyout to Jeff, sorry whomever that was. Oh he's the DB who hit the grand slam off Soriano that got us here (or as the announcers are calling him "Grand Slammy") Mark Lamb. Two outs.

Come on Mahay, so far so good. Mark is 3 for 5 against Ron (I like to use first names, makes it more personal). Through the five spot up the middle to center, runner on first. I don't much care for Mr. Mark Lamb.

Ooh Brad Ausmus. Hot, but I hold a grudge for the yellow-line edging homer in the playoffs two years ago that lead to that excrutiatingly long extras game that the Braves lost (of course). Biggio is on deck. Shit. Come on Mahay. Way outside, 2-1.

4-3, we're going to the top of the Braves' order for the bottom of the tenth. Oh look, a commercial for Shanghai Noon. Is Jackie Chan personally sponsoring this game? What the hell?

How are we feeling on the new Cuba Gooding, Jr./Michael Jordan Haines commercials? I think it would have been great in say, 1995. You could have thrown in a couple of "show me the underwear" lines and it would have been a Super Bowl favorite. But now? Were Larry Bird and Dennis Franz not available?

Oh a standing ovation for Biggio. That's nice. See what good sports we are in Atlanta? Or maybe we just appreciate genuine athletes who make all their noise on the field (I'm looking at you, Barry).

Willie Harris at the plate. He falls behind 1-2 immediately. Qualls is still on the mound. Houston should really change the lettering on the back of their jerseys, it's hard to read. BLOOPER INTO RIGHT, Harris on first. Oh snap, it's on bitches.

I love the chop. Have I mentioned that before? I love having a racially insensitive gesture that's applicable to both my favorite teams. It makes me feel really good about myself and where I stand on political correctness.

My boy Matty Diaz is up now. One of only two players to ever play for my favorite teams (the Noles and Braves). Bet he loves the chop, too. He's trying to bunt and doing a crappy job of it. Come on Matty. I think it's the goatee. 0-1. Qualls is repeatedly checking Willie, who admitedly stands a good chance of burning them any second now. Okay three times in a row is enough Qualls, move on.

Another shitty pathetic bunt attempt from Matt. The announcers say he's not accustumed to bunting. Well he should be. The only members of this team who are excused from knowing how to bunt are Chipper, Mark, Andruw, and Brian. The rest of you need to know how to get some kind of hit even if it's a bunt.

Fouled away, 0-2. REPRESENT FOR THE POLITCALLY INCORRECT INDIAN SPIRIT HERE, MATTY! Way outside--Ausmus was getting ready to throw on Harris but he didn't go. Or maybe it was a wild pitch. Either way we're at 1-2. Another check on Willie.

Aaand that's the third Brave to fan a sinker. I'm thinking he's using that on most of his 2 strike counts, maybe we shouldn't swing. Chipper just hit into a double play on his first pitch, hello eleventh inning.

I really wasn't anticipating this when I started writing, but now I'm in it. Don't you hate that about extra inning games? You start out just wanting to check the score, maybe just catch an inning or two, but you get sucked in. I'm now fully invested in this game--it could go twenty innings and I'd still be here, writing the world's longest, most pointless blog. But who cares? What else do I have to do? Do you like how I ask questions as though my screen is going to answer me? Maybe I have social problems.

So far, no more Jackie Chan commercials. I consider this a good sign.

Oh shit I forgot Biggio is up. Son of a bitch. Yes, yes thank you announcers for versing us in how Biggio likes to hook the first pitch down the line. Apparently Ron was aware of this too, he put his first throw in the basement. Okay and his second. Alright, come up Ron, he ain't swinging. Liner to third, thrown out at first. Nice toss by Willie. Peace out Craig.

Burke's up. We're 1-1 after a near plate-crossing bunt. Hit it back to the pitcher, we're at two outs. Oh great. Chipper's hand got clipped on the last pitch when Qualls came inside. CHIPPER YOU CANNOT GET HURT AGAIN! It's going to take you and Teixiera just to balance out Andruw's patheticness this season. At least he's still in the game.

Okay apparently Chipper's alright. He just snatched a ball at short and with a toss to Mark put us into the bottom of the eleventh. Great.

When did we start calling TV shows Television Events? How do we always come up with these new terms for old things? Five years from now will we be calling them Television Occurences? Another Rush Hour 3 commercial. Super. How many people do you think Chris Tucker has killed for getting in his face and screaming "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?" I'm guessing at least 10.

We've got Trever Miller on the mound now for the 'Stros. He looks like the adult child of Randy Johnson and Harry Potter. Come on Teixeira. Thank you for not swinging at three consecutive ankle balls. And another. A four-pitch walk. What a concept. No other Brave could stand there and take that. Jeff Francouer would have swung for the Fulton County line on ever one of those.

Andruw's up. It's sad to say that's almost completely irrelevant. I am loving the positioning of Mark between Chipper and Andruw though, very good move. No one's skipping over Chip to get to Andruw now (although they might be skipping Mark for the same reason, but at least we have another power hitter to back it up). We're 2-2. You think he's going to fan a low ball? I do. Oh guess what? He just did. Stevie Wonder saw that one coming.

Brian's back up, we've now been through the order since I started this blog approximately eight hours ago. No strikeouts for McCann tonight. We're at 2-0. Randy Potter's not that good. He thought they'd swing at him like they did Qualls but obviously he's not fooling anybody. We're now at 3-0. Thanks Brian, for paying attention to Mark's at-bat. Good news for Randy Potter though, Jeff's on deck. Anyone else think Brian McCann looks like Turtle? I'd be willing to bet he's heard that nickname--and Jeff's his Vince.

Just that quick we're at a full count. Don't swing. Oh but he did. Hello out number two. I'm sorry, I spoke to soon about Randy Potter. Apparently he did have some magic up his sleeve. Jeff's going down in four pitches, I call it now. Let's see.

Pitch One: Ball (no swing, nice Jeff).
Pitch Two: Fouled back.
Pitch Three: Strike over the outside edge of the plate.
Pitch Four: OH NO HE DID NOT. Jeff just got hit. Guess who's joining Alex Fernandez in the pantheon of pitchers who have hit my favorite Braves' players? RANDY POTTER. He hit him hard, too, in the left hand. Oh no. Oh Jeff. If I were there I promise I'd kiss it and make it better. He's staying in the game on first.

On the positive side, I was right about it taking four pitches (but he didn't go down, well except literally-speaking in pain). Wow they said the pitcher's name (Miller) and I actually didn't know who they were talking about because he's now assumed the name Randy Potter in my head.

Kelly Johnson at bat, two on. Let's go Kelly. Aaand we're behind 0-1. Randy Potter comes in and Kelly defensively fouls it off. Shit. Tipped and caught, here we come twelfth inning. Great. We just blew our best opportunity. I now hate Randy Potter.

If someone is actually reading this, mad props to you. Please comment for me just so I'll know you exist.

Ron's still up for the Braves. We've got, it looks like Lance Berkman--yes I'm finally getting confirmation here, Lance Berkman already behind 0-1. Line drive is Harris, makes the throw with two hours to spare (Lance, you should think about eating the Krispy Kreme *after* you pick up few miles on the treadmill).

Thank you Mark Teixeira for telling Mahay to lay off a ball rolling foul. What do you think is going through Mark's head since the trade? He's got to feel a little bit like he just got shipped out on the short bus.

Lee's got a left field hit for a single. The announcers are still discussing whether or not Kelly Johnson tipped the last pitch of the eleventh. Let's move forward fellas. Shit. Base hit, Lee's running for all he's worth, arms flailing at all. He's on third (Lance Berkman, take notes). Barry's up to bat again, we're on split screen. How about we do small picture-in-picture so I can see the game I really care about?

Double shit. Sacrifice fly to center to score Lee, we're now down 10-9 (and Barry popped out, of course). Great. You know what's going to happen right? The Braves are going to scrounge up another run in the bottom of the 12th to keep this going. They haven't tortured me enough to choke yet. They've got to drag it out a little longer.

Lamb's up again. Runner on second. Brian McCann just fumbled a catch. Super. Kelly Johnson channels Bill Buckner for a single up the middle and another run for the Astros. Fan-tastic. Did TBS turn the game off and switch to the umpteenth showing Major League or what? Bobby, hey Bobby, do you have anyone warming up? Why is Mahay pitching his third inning? Have I mentioned that I hate Mark Lamb?

Brad Ausmus (or if you're the announcers, Brad Lidge) is at bat again. We've got two outs. Can we please end this now? Come on Ron, you've got to have something left. Bobby's not gonna do shit now. He's probably taking a nap in the dugout as we speak, it's way past his bedtime. He's not even going to be able to stay up long enough to see Wheel of Fortune on TiVo tonight, he'll have to watch it over breakfast in the morning.

2-2 on Ausmus. Oh there's Bobby, scratching his head. Do you think you ever get too old to care? You're like "Yeah I'm just doing this because I don't have many career options at sixty-two and I'm not quite ready to retire." Oh great, Mahay walked Ausmus. We've got two on. CAN ANYONE ON THIS TEAM GET ONE MORE BLEEPING OUT SO WE CAN ALL MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES?

Mahay's not channeling Robert Redford so much anymore. More like Kevin Costner right after the table saw accident. The announcers are telling us not to count out the Braves' offense. Um, I think I counted them out back in the eighth after the grand slam tied the game. I'm just being honest.

It's now 11:40, by the way. I have to work at nine in the morning, in case you're wondering. Munson's at the plate watching Mahay play dodge-the-plate. Uh-oh, swing and a miss. Now let's see what Mahay has at the plate--oh wait, unlike he does on defense, Bobby doesn't hesitate to yank his pitchers in an offensive situation. He's probably had a pinch hitter warming up for six innings.

Another Shanghai Noon commercial If you're keeping track at home, my "Dead to Me" list now includes: Jackie Chan, Randy Potter, and Mark Lamb. Just putting that out there.

Excuse me, why is there a Pamprin commercial in the middle of a baseball game? Apparently their marketing people don't believe in demographics research, that's great.

Did I not tell you this was going to turn into the world's longest, most pointless blog? I don't care, I'm posting it anyway. No one reads my stuff anyway. I'm just keeping myself awake here.

Here's the real Brad Lidge, now on the mound with his 2-1 record. We've got the Brad-Brad show now between the mound and the plate. Let's finish them off. Oh what a surprise! Bobby's put the last available position player at the plate for Mahay. He looks like a chubby Billy Ray Cyrus. I've got high hopes. He just got lucky with a blooper over Lidge that Burke couldn't come up with. I told you they weren't done torturing me yet. Did they just say Chubby Billy Ray's name is Corky?

Willie Harris up now. We're 1-1 on Willie. The score is 11-9, in case you missed that. Lidge is in the dirt. The Astros like the low stuff. Maybe because we swing at it almost every time. I'd like to see a stat after this game on how many sinkers we swung on. I'd wager a guess that, percentage-wise, it's probably 75-80%. We're 2-2. Splitter, swing, strike.

Matty Diaz again. He looks about as confident as Paris walking into jail the second time. Fouled off the first pitch. Yes announcers, I'm sure Matt would like to atone for his previous at-bat, but he won't. When the Braves suck, they suck. They hate me.


What the HELL did I tell you people? WHAT DID I SAY? I told you they wouldn't let it go this easily. MATTY! MATTY! I LOVE YOU! POLITICALLY INCORRECT INDIAN MASCOTS ROCK!

Man I really hate this team. Why can't they just go out in peace? I'm telling you, they will lose this game. They do this to me everytime. I count them out, they come back. They pull me along until I'm so into it I'm ready to crawl through the screen and sweep the plate clean myself. It's freaking ridiculous. Why do I let them do this to me? It's like an abusive relationship, I can't walk away. They have like, fifty of my CDs.

Chipper's up, full count. Walk. He-llo Mark Teixeira. Man I am so involved in this now. I'm going to cry when they lose. Are you catching the reverse psychology attempts? Mark you will be my favorite Brave forever and always if you drive in this run and end this now. COME ON MARK.

Ball one. Mark's like the new and improved Javy Lopez. And by that I mean he's vaguely Hispanic and attractive. And he plays for the Braves. But you get my drift. It's 11:54. If we win this game I will do a victory lap around my house. Teixeira retires on a high fly to left.

Great, Andruw. Do we have any pitchers who can pinch for him? I mean really, I'd take Bob Wickman at the plate over Andruw at this point. I'm sorry to say it, but is he even hitting .250? Oh now we're hearing that our last pitcher is Villareal and he pitched two last night. Jesus. They're talking about throwing in Tim or John.

We're 1-0 on Andruw. Make that 1-1 as Andruw practically drools on himself as the ball whizzes through the strikezone. And again. Andruw, are you really going to argue that? Does it really matter? We all know how this at-bat is going to end. Tipped with a bounce back to the net. We're locked at 1-2. Has Andruw regained all the weight he lost before last season? It appears so.

Wild pitch, Chipper to second. OKAY ANDRUW, A HIT WINS THIS GAME AND WE ALL GET TO GO HOME. YOU CAN GO GET DRUNK, GORGE YOURSELF AT THE VARSITY, WHATEVER YOU WANT. He's going to split you again, WATCH IT. Or swing and take us to the thirteenth. Son of a bitch.

It's now midnight. Nine o'clock is going to come awfully early in the morning. I'm going to finish this and Google is going to tell me this blog is too long to post and I'm going to cry. I'm fighting the urge to dig out my Braves hat and put it on. In my past experience, that tends to be the kiss of death. I mean, I feel certain they're going to lose anyway, but I don't want to help things along.

I'm calling Alicia. As much solace as I'm getting from writing this, it's getting to the point that I need really human interaction. She's telling me that I shouldn't be surprised, this happens every time I watch. It's sad because she's right. Bobby appears to be nodding off in the dugout. What do you think it would take for him to tell someone to just swing at everything so they can end this and go home? I'd say another inning.

We're 3-1 on somebody. Oh and he just walked. Great way to start off, Oscar. Do you realize we have NO eligible players left? Short of sending in John or Tim to pinch hit, which I'm not sure is even legal. I don't care Oscar, put it down the pipe so we can end this. With every pitch I feel another piece of my soul dying.

It's funny that my favorite thing about baseball is also my least favorite thing about baseball. I love not havin ga time limit because it lends the sense of possibility to everything. You can be down by five in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and still have a chance (though a small one) of winning. Whereas in timed sports like football and basketball, if you're down by ten with seconds on the clock it's pretty much over.

A good bunt (take notes Matty) puts a runner on first, now we're intentionally walking Berkman to put two on for Lee. Lee pops out to center, two outs. Ty Wiggington is coming back up. I feel like I'm stuck in purgatory.

Wiggington snaps the first pitch to Harris for a quick out and we're going to the bottom of the thirteenth. I've got ten bucks on seeing Jackie Chan's face in the next two minutes.

Mad props to all the fans who are still at the game. At least I'm in my air conditioned room in my PJs. Mark McLemore is now pitching for the 'Stros. Brian McCann at the plate. Ball one. Brian is batting .265? But we traded our back-up catcher? Really? I mean it's not that I don't like Teixeira, but...sinking line drive sends Brian back to the dugout. Bobby's up from his nap.

Jeffrey. Strike one. I'm saying five pitches this time. Swing and a miss. Did I say five? I meant three. He's not swinging on this one, I call it. True story, he stayed still on the sinker, 1-2. Called on the outside corner, excuse me I don't think so. That was not a strike, sir. That was low and out. My view from my desk chair is very clear. Jeff and Bobby are not happy.

Kelly Johnson is up. Two outs. And a "flare" into left center. Do you think the announcers have a list of adjectives ready to use on every hit? Oscar is up, what with no one on the bench to take his place. Great. This is a great situation. Barry should be coming back up soon, I'm sure we'll switch over there again.

I love when games go into extras and the announcers run out of things to talk about--BASE HIT OSCAR! Way to go! Didn't see that coming. We've got runners on first and second with Willie coming up. Man he had ugly form on that hit, but whatever works. He looked more surprised than anyone. Oh we're full into the chop now.

COME ON WILLIE! END THIS! END IT I SAY! Do you think pitchers take it especially bad when other pitchers get a hit off them? It seems like that would burn you up more than anything. Oh and Willie struck out. We're headed to fourteen. Cheese and rice this is ridiculous. And we're playing Midnight Train to Georgia. Do they keep that on cue especially for late games? How appropriate.

It's 12:17 by the way. I'm looking at seven hours of sleep tops at this point. Guess who's eating their cereal at work in the morning? *Points at self* I think I'm losing my mind. Is there a Guiness Record for longest blog? Seriously, I'm going to look it up. Hold please.

I love the internet. Thirty seconds and I've got my answer--Guiness has not yet started using any blog-related categories. It's only a matter of time though, and I'm telling you, this one's going in there.

Oh boy, it's Barry time again! That means the Braves are going to do something crappy. They're showing Eddie Perez in the bullpen like maybe we can activate him if we hit fifteen. How long do you think we'll go on with this for Barry? Wouldn't it be torturous if he went into a slump and never hit 755? I think it would be God's way of making a statement on the steroids issue. Sacrifice bunt puts Lane (?) on second with one out. Barry popped out again. I'm telling you, the Bambino put his heavenly hot dogs down just long enough to put a curse on that big-headed man. He's not going to hit shit for a while.

Ausmus again. In the interest of keeping you as up to date as possible with my current situation, I feel I need to inform you that my butt has now officially fallen asleep. Ausmus swings at a third strike and we're at two outs. Here's how I would like this to end: Oscar gets another K, we hit the bottom with Chipper at bat first, he gets a base hit, Teixeira hits a homer, and we all walk around saying "Salta-who?" for the rest of the season.

Ball one on somebody. Really, who cares at this point. The Astros all look alike. This is my observation for the night. They're not a very racially diverse team. That's all I'm going to say about that. We're at 2-1. Base hit, the 'Stros are up 12-11. Can we give up now? Tank it like the Celtics and save some energy for tomorrow.

What upsets me the most about this, is that I can almost gurauntee that this game will not matter in the long run of this season. The Braves will come back and at least take the Wild Card if not the east pennant. Then they will choke in the first round of the playoffs--but not in three games, no. They will win the first one, lose the next two, win the fourth, force a fifth and then choke in extra innings after blowing a huge lead.

Out three, we're heading to the bottom. Diaz, Jones, Teixeira coming up. More Shanghai Noon commercials. I hate Jackie Chan. Have I said this? Let me say it again. I HATE JACKIE CHAN. And Cuba and Jordan. When did Jerry Maguire come out? IMDB says 1996, well I was close with my '95 reference. My bad.

Moehler out for Houston. Diaz at bat. Moehler has no career saves. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Base hit, Matt Diaz. If they tie this up, I'm going to give out. Please either lose it or win it right here. Chipper at bat. Hit a homer. Hit a homer. HIT A HOMER. PLEASE! Stee-rike. Or not.

From a removed, baseball-loving perspective, this is actually a really good game. As a Braves fan, not so much. Oh look, Chipper not only didn't hit a homer, he hit a double play. Why would you even take that chance? At least get under it and leave the runner on, damn. You're not going to catch the same hole as Matty did.

It's on Mark's shoulders. He wins it or loses it right here. Personally I'm at the point of not caring which, I just want it to be over so I can get ready for bed. I'm looking at less than seven hours of sleep now. That doesn't make me happy. Good news is, it is a half-day, so my bed and I will hopefully be reunited for a blissful nap in the late afternoon.

Even count at 2. Come on Teixeira. Learn how to be a Brave and just strike out. Full count. Well it doesn't matter, even if he gets on, Andruw is a mortal lock to put this baby to bed. Oh wait, Teixeira just struck out.

Did I not tell you that would happen? I knew from the beginning that they would lose after torturing me mercilessly. I feel like I just went through five hours at Guantanamo. But I let them do it to me, I guess it's part of being a fan.

Alright enough of all this. Thanks for sticking with me and goodnight.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kick Off

I've had this blog set up for several months now and have yet to actually write anything on it. I'm not sure why--I could generate a list of excuses, but what does it matter? The point I finally realized yesterday is that I should just go ahead and put something up because (a) There are 100-1 odds no one will ever read it and (b) There are a million other people on the world wide web who generate blogs full of pointless rants and writings every day (myself included) so why obsess over one blog like it's a column in The Mag?

So here goes nothing...

I maxed out my allotted votes for the MLB All-Star line-up today. I'd been meaning to do it for a while, but it wasn't until I saw the prompt on during my daily website rounds that I finally got around to it (because really, without a job, school, or any sports that I'm interested in on TV, what else do I have to do?).

The funny thing about voting for me, is that I don't keep up with the daily stats of any players that don't wear an Atlanta Braves uniform. I'm sure this is probably the case for most people--if you have a favorite team, of course you're going to vote party lines. It's ironic, because I think it's what most people also do when it comes to voting for less important things like, you know, politicians and whatnot.

Side tangent:
This is especially true for me, because I'm registered to vote in my parents' home county instead of the one I actually live in, so I could not possibly care less who the town elects for mayor, sheriff, mosquito control board, etc. (By the way, my hometown really does elect a mosquito control board and if you live in Florida, you know how serious the mosquito problem is and therefore understand the necessity for such a panel). So I just go down the line and vote for the democrats.

So anyway, that's basically what I did today--at least for the NL ballot. Picking my eligible Braves (Scott, Kelly, Edgar, Chipper, Brian, Jeff, Matt, and Andruw) was like picking a date between Matt Damon and Joakim Noah. Or really, Joakim Noah and anyone (Ted Bundy and Charles Manson included). Admittedly during my 25 votes I may have thrown a few in the direction of Stephen Drew, but only because of my faithfulness to Florida State (see criteria below).

On the AL side, it was really a free-for-all. I had to bring order to the situation by developing an extremely complex criteria system (finally putting my Future Problem Solving skills to use) that went something like this:

Criteria #1: Plays for the Braves
Criteria #2: Played for Florida State
Criteria #3: Is hot

Obviously Criteria#1 is out, in the case of the AL (hence the dilemma). Criteria #2 only applied to JD Drew (and in the NL of course, Stephen). That left me needing to use Criteria #3.

Side tangent #2:
By the way, if you're sitting there thinking I could have just not voted, you're wrong. Voting in any form is my God-given right as an American and therefore I feel like I have to use it whether I need to or not, just because I can. That's just the American Way (you know, doing something completely unnecessary for no reason at all).

Now, my third criteria could have been batting averages or slugging percentages--any kind of statistic really--but that would have taken a chunk of time from my day I could have otherwise spent napping or watching the NBA draft (which is, brain activity-wise, maybe one step away from napping).

I could also have chosen veteran players I know to be generally good, but I have to assume everyone else will vote for those people (this could also be called the Sanjaya Principle--voting for someone you assume no one else will vote for--if applied in this situation by too many people, it could lead to the Rangers flushing the AL line-up).

But instead I chose something more simple and obvious for my third criteria--The Hot Factor. As I have said before, "You can take the sports fan out of the girl, but you can't take the girl out of the sports fan" (and before you say it, that is not meant to be a double entendre).

At any rate, this criteria lead me to select Joe Mauer, Grady Sizemore, and Alex Gordon (had he not conflicted with Mauer, Jason Varitek would have made the list as well). I also threw in a vote for Nick Swisher in the spirit of Moneyball (it's not a criteria, just a cause).

For the remaining slots left unfilled (because I wasn't familiar enough with the players to know who was hot or not) I went with the old stand-by, vote for the Red Sox because it pisses Yankee fans off (this is not a criteria, it's a fact of life).

So there you have it, my all-star ballot. I feel comfortable that it will have little to no affect on the actual team selection--most likely none of the Braves will wind up as starters--but it's okay. I tried, just like I try to watch my team whenever they're on TV--only to wind up babbling to myself like a crazy person because Bobby leaves his pitchers in too long (insert glaring eye gesture at Will Cormier) and Andruw is back to his old habits (read: swinging at every ball whether it's over the plate or over the state line) and Bob Wickman looks like the iceberg that sank the Titanic (though he does sink a few batters from time to time).

But I digress.