Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Heh heh

I always liked IBC Root Beer
Hey - I used to be Hunter S. Thompson!

When I first started going to visit's Page 2 - it was a great place. You had David Halberstam, Hunter S. Thompson and of course Bill Simmons the [Boston] Sportsguy. All three on a regular basis.

After 9/11 - Halberstam decided that he should spend his time on more worthy pursuits. Bill Simmons then abandoned his readers and now mails in his columns from Hollywood. When Simmons first took the job with Jimmy Kimmel Live I predicted that his Page 2 stuff would go right to shit. Think about it - when's the last time you saw even a half-decent reader mailbag from Simmons? Did the readers stop emailing him or did he just start using the best material for the show? Come to think of it - when's the last time you saw a reader mailbag from Simmons? Maybe the readers have stopped emailing him because he was just stealing their stuff for the show.

This rant isn't about Simmons though - it's about Hunter S. - a man who is an icon to those of us of a certain age. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a classic book. Thompson has been played on the big screen by both Bill Murray and Johnny Depp. He used to be big. He used to be something.

Now he's not really even good enough for Page 2. Sure they still put his stuff up but it's almost always on the sidebar where the old material goes. His Internet postings have become the equivalent of direct to video movies. Some of the writers who get the prime Page 2 locations couldn't hold Hunter's jock back when he had his fastball. But Hunter doesn't have his fastball anymore - now he mails it in.

Sometimes I wonder if Hunter just takes his betting slips for the week and then dictates who he took with little side stories mixed in for his Page 2 offerings. Fifteen minutes worth of effort? Twenty tops. It's a shame because the guy who posts on's Page 2 used to be Hunter S. Thompson and Hunter S. Thompson used to be must reading.
I Need More Cowbell!

Happy 61st birthday to Christopher Walken. My five favorite Walken movies:

1. The Dead Zone
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Suicide Kings
4. Biloxi Blues
5. The Deer Hunter
NIT - Time to hang it up

Is there anything more meaningless than the NIT? In the "old days" the NIT was on an equal footing to the NCAA tournament but now it's just the losers bracket for post season college basketball. If your team wasn't good enough to make the field of 65 - then just call it a season.

The NIT should reinvent themselves as a pre-season tournament (which they have to some extent) and also maybe a holiday tournament (between Christmas and New Years). The holiday tournament would be a nice trip to NYC for many clubs and there wouldn't be too much sports competition on TV (just early season NBA, NHL and lower tier bowl games).

Whatever they do - they should end the post season tournament. It's time has come and gone already.
Redbird Nation

Very interesting post in Redbird Nation regarding the Cardinals' front office asking bloggers what they thought the Cardinals should be offering to shortstop Edgar Renteria.

The initial conclusion is 5-years at $10 million per year.

The post draws heavily from this post in The Hardball Times (which I was going to link to this morning anyway). The author of the Hardball Times post was Doug Pappas and his Doug's Business of Baseball Blog is one of the blogs I planned to add to my blogroll today.

Getting back to the Redbird Nation post - as a Red Sox fan this interests me because Renteria is our Plan B if Nomar goes free agent and signs elsewhere. Five-years at $10 million per year? The Red Sox would do that or top that in a heartbeat. My guess is that the Cardinals were probably hoping the sabermetric folks would lower the salary expectations to about $9 million per year. The sabermetric folks would be able to both justify what the front office offers and provide them with cover (with sportswriters and fans) in case the $9 million per year was rejected and Renteria signed elsewhere.

Renteria is a free agent at the end of the year and although it makes sense to try and figure out what a player is worth from the front office's perspective - it makes more sense to the player to let the market determine the player's value.

Next off-season the Red Sox will be setting the bar with their offer to Nomar (my guess is $12-13 million per year). Garciappara may see what the Dodgers have to offer - if they trump the Red Sox offer then that puts the Red Sox into the bind of needing to get a replacement like Renteria. (Although the Red Sox may opt to move Pokey Reese to short and then go after a second baseman like Jose Vidro because top prospect Hanley Ramirez is about ready for the big club.) Also don't count the Mariners out of the shortstop bidding.

It will be interesting how this plays out. (Don't you just love baseball? What other sport has you wondering who will be playing where next season even before Opening Day?)
Jim O'Brien

The success of John Carroll and the Boston Celtics has raised the question in my mind whether Jim O'Brien could have taken these same players to the brink of the playoffs like his replacement John Carroll has.

If Jim O'Brien remained as head coach I think the Celtics would have wrapped up a lottery position by now instead of fighting for the 7th or 8th playoff spot. That statement is more an indictment of his coaching philosophy than anything else. His fronting style of defense and resultant slowed down transition game had become an anchor. Teams who faced the Celtics often were able to easily exploit the fronting defense by quickly rotating the ball and taking a jumper (which put the big man who was being fronted into the natural position for the rebound) or quickly swinging the ball and then dumping the ball down to the big man who switched from one side of the baseline to the other (done quickly the player goes from having the defender in front of him to having the defender on his back just feet from the basket).

I see John Carroll having the team play aggressive defense and attacking offense and I wonder if Jim O'Brien could have gotten the players to do this. The up tempo style is exactly what Danny Ainge thought the Celtics needed and I think he was right.

O'Brien was probably the beneficiary of timing more than anything else. When Pitino left - the team was beaten down. Just having Pitino gone was a relief to the players and they responded by playing loose and winning some games. Suddenly O'Brien went from being the interim coach to being the head coach.

When O'Brien quit earlier in the year - most Boston sportswriters had nothing but good things to say about him and they all said he wouldn't be out of work for long. I question whether that's true.

First off - he quit. He couldn't (or wouldn't) do the things his new GM asked him to do - so he quit. He didn't like the personnel changes - so he quit. Second - John Carroll's success in implementing what O'Brien couldn't or wouldn't makes you question O'Brien's initial success as Boston coach as just maybe one of those things. Third - when O'Brien was head coach at Dayton - he wasn't exactly coach of the year material. He may get the job interviews but I wouldn't be surprised if he went a couple of years between jobs and then wound up as either an NBA assistant again or a college head coach at a mid-major.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Happy Birthday Hagrid

OK - I'm a geek. Today is Robbie Coltrane's 54th birthday. Coltrane plays Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies. In fact when Coltrane was trying to figure out the best way to play Hagrid - he asked author JK Rowling how he should play the character - Rowling answered something like, "Just be yourself - I had you in mind when I wrote the character."
Dodger Thoughts

- This was a recent exchange during a Q&A session with 3rd base / outfielder Jason Grabowski at (actually held the day that DePodesta was named GM of the Dodgers):

Question: Do you think Paul DePodesta leaving to go to the Dodgers will have a big impact on the A's immediately?

Grabowski: I haven't heard that Paul has left. If he has, that is a great opportunity for him and he definitely deserves it. I think it will have an impact but not as far as on the field production. If anything it gives Billy another team to trade with! Paul did a lot of things for the organization that nobody will ever know about, so to lose him is like losing Billy. They are both great guys and I will miss Paul. I wish him the best.

Another team to trade with? Well he got that right as Grabowski was traded to DePodesta's Dodgers. Grabowski will be the left handed batter off the bench and I bet the Dodgers hope he develops enough to be insurance in case Adrian Beltre walks as a free agent after this year (or maybe DePodesta thinks Grabowski is developed enough right now to make Beltre and his $5 million contract trade bait).

- Jason Romano has been the best Dodger hitter in spring training BY FAR. The Dodgers need offense more than anything. Can this be the end for light hitting centerfielder Dave Roberts or light hitting 2nd baseman Alex Cora?

- The Dodgers got Jayson Werth in a trade with Toronto today that sent pitcher Jason Frasor to the Blue Jays. The deal makes sense in that Toronto is stacked with outfielders and the Dodgers are stacked with pitchers plus JP Ricchardi gets to break the ice with old friend Paul DePodesta. Werth is out of options - so he will be on the 25 man roster.

- The Jason (Romano), Jayson (Werth) and Jason (Grabowski) developments make me think that DePodesta is just getting started. Adrian Beltre just became expendable (Ventura and Grabowski can play third). Odalis Perez has been on the block all winter. Look for DePodesta to make a move for a big 1st base bat (maybe Adam Dunn and his .379 career OBP or Sean Casey and his contract the Reds wouldn't mind moving) or maybe a big 2nd base bat (Jose Vidro?). Maybe these moves a are a prelude to a monster Beltre and Perez (plus former Met Todd Hundley thrown in to even off the dollars) trade to the Mets for Mike Piazza?

- Why would the Dodgers waste a roster spot on Bubba Trammel? Sure he won't cost much for this year but his AB's would be better spent on Romano or Dave Ross. Dumping Trammel would be a way for DePodesta to show "there's a new sheriff in town" (Trammel was a pick up of former GM Dan Evans). If Trammel does stick on the 25 man roster - I would have to question if maybe some agreement is in place with the Commissioner's office (Trammel's salary will be mostly paid by MLB this year).

This morning I said that Jarome Iginla won the scoring championship last year in the NHL but that was in 2002. Last year - Peter Forsberg won the scoring title.

Thanks to Keith in Toronto for pointing that out!

26 Years Ago Today

In 1978 on this date - the Red Sox traded for Dennis Eckersley who would go on to win 20 games for the Sox. Eckersley and Jim Rice were the stars of the team that year. Not to pour salt on old wounds but what started so promising with the trade for Eckersley ended so badly with the bat of Bucky F****** Dent.

Derek Jeter

Jeter went 0-5 in today's Opening Day game. Isn't it time that Torre dropped Jeter down to 8th or 9th in the order and moved A-Rod over to the shortstop position. Jeter is killing this team!!

Heh heh - just wanted to be the first one of the season to say it.
More Derek Lowe

OK - now I can't stop thinking about Derek Lowe (not in a gay way though - not that there's anything wrong with that).

If Lowe does play elsewhere - Detroit and the Mets would be the best fits. Texas, Colorado and the Yankees would be the worst fits. Lowe is from Michigan so the Tigers would be like coming home and the expectations wouldn't be crushing because it's the Tigers. The Mets would be a good fit because Shea is a pitchers' park and the Mets have a good infield. Texas and Colorado would be mistakes because of the parks. The Yankees would be wrong because he has a career 4.91 ERA at Yankee Stadium and he would become the equivalent of Jeff Weaver and Kenny Rodgers quicker than you could say fifth starter.

The Braves would also be a good fit and they could drop Russ Ortiz next year to pick up Lowe.

When you look at the players most similar and most similar by age via - you come away pretty unimpressed.

Earlier I mentioned Bruce Hurst as a player Lowe may want to think about when making his decision. Another player who Lowe should think about is Chan Ho Park who was another Scott Boras client. Park took the big money to leave the comforting pitcher's womb of Chavez Ravine and now he has become a punch line (but at most he got that money that Boras promised him).

I do hope that the Red Sox can keep Lowe because if he plays half his games at Fenway - he's an almost guaranteed 17 wins per year.
Dead Pool

First Peter Ustinov and now Alistair Cooke - who will fill out the famous person trio? If I was a well known narrarator of documentary films I would be fearing the reaper right about now. I hope David McCullough has life insurance.
Derek Lowe

I know that at this point in time all players going into their free agent year posture for a contract before Opening Day with "threats" of "I'm going to play out the year and then move on" but in the case of Derek Lowe - I hope he gets especially good counsel regarding his future.

My understanding is that the Red Sox have offered a 3-year $27 million contract and that this is unacceptable to Lowe and his agent Scott Boras. I hope that Lowe realizes that the best he'll probably get from the Red Sox is a Andy Pettitte like 3-year $31.5 million hometown discount contract. I also hope that Lowe realizes that there is a reason why his ERA is a run lower at Fenway than on the road.

Two years from now I think Lowe would be happier with the Red Sox than with another team that pays him $1 million more per year than what the Red Sox offered but where he carries and ERA of about 4.50.

Lowe should keep an eye on another Boras client - Kevin Millwood who was offered a Andy Pettitte like contract from the Phillies. This year if Millwood has another barely over .500 season he will be hard pressed to match what the Phillies offered last year. Sometimes the devil you know is much better than the devil you don't.

I hope Bruce Hurst takes the time to talk with Lowe before Lowe makes any decision on his future. Hurst can tell him what it was like to take more money to play elsewhere and how he always regarded it as one of the big mistakes in his life.
100 Years Ago

Many people say that Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Derek Lowe give the Red Sox the best starting rotation in their history. Just for some perspective on how things have changed - 100 years ago the Boston Pilgrims (soon to be the Red Sox) had Cy Young, Bill Dineen and Norwood Gibson as their top three starters. That trio went a combined 66-44 with 106 complete games and 16 shut-outs.

Don't get me wrong - I agree that Pedro, Schilling and Lowe give the Red Sox their best rotation in history. I just wanted to give some perspective on on pitching has changed from 100 years ago.
NHL Image Problem

Quick - can you name the leading scorer in the NHL?

Todd Bertuzzi's name has been etched into our consciousness and that's not a good thing for the NHL. Now that the NHL season is almost over - can you name the leading scorer? When you think of the NHL - what player do you think of?

Many people I believe would answer Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux when asked that question. That's a bad thing for the NHL. Those guys don't play anymore (Mario is really retired like Michael Jordan at this point - he only played 10 games this year). More people now know Todd Bertuzzi than know who the leading scorer is (for those scoring at home - the answer is Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning).

How many people knew that Jarome Iginla was the leading scorer last year?

I blame the NHL for this lack of public awareness. Bettman was brought in because he was supposed to be a marketing genius from the NBA (it wasn't his connection to hockey that got him the job) but the marketing has been awful. More people know Todd Bertuzzi than Martin St. Louis - that's an abject failure on the part of the NHL.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Red Sox Rotation

There is a school of thought that says the Red Sox should use Tim Wakefield in between Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling so that the hitters would see a gamit of different pitching styles. Supposedly this would keep the batters off balance.

I don't agree with this thinking. Maybe in game going from a fireballing Schilling to a soft tossing Wakefield would make sense (and this in part explains why Wakefield had success as a closer) but when the players get to have a full night's sleep before seeing the next starter - I don't think it makes any sense at all or makes any difference.

Making Schilling the number 3 behind Pedro and Wakefield may only keep Schilling from getting his last extra start and I would HATE if the Red Sox finished a single game behind the Yankees just because the management wanted to give the hitters different looks.

Did you know that Gene Hackman was the original choice of the show's producers to play Mr. Brady on The Brady Bunch but the studio insisted on Robert Reed?
Scott's Shots

A regular feature over at is Scott's Shots. It is well worth the read (a couple of the observations are laugh out loud funny).
Caddyshack SPV

Mentioning Caddyshack this morning made me wonder what Star Power Value (SPV) the movie had - so I checked.

Caddyshack - SPV 30 (Chase 6, Dangerfield 3, Knight 1, O'Keefe 2, Murray 13, Holcomb (Maggie) 2, Colomby (D'Annunzio) 3).

I would have thought that the SPV would have been higher. Did you know that Sarah Holcomb who played Maggie also played the underage girl who gets pregnant in Animal House? Did you know that Ted Knight was the narrarator on Super Friends?
Holy Crap

Brendan Donnelly has been hospitalized after losing half the blood in his body due to nosebleeds he started to experience after being hit in the nose by a baseball.

I shouldn't kid about this but I hope that the folks at the hospital also thought to check Donnelly's neck for two small puncture wounds. If Donnelly later demands to only play in night games - I'll be officially scared.

(found via the Baseball Crank)
Victor Davis Hanson

VDH has a new post on his website that describes the difference between Israel and Palestine. My only disagreement with VDH is the fact that he thinks most Americans can see the clear moral difference between the two factions - I'm not so sure.
Give Danny Ainge some credit

Consider the following:

Antoine Walker is 29-years old and has averaged 14.2 points / 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Dallas Mavericks this year while playing 35.3 minutes per game.

Jiri Welsch is 24-years old and has averaged 9.1 points / 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Celtics this year while playing just 26.4 minutes per game.

Antoine also leads Jiri in blocks per game but Jiri leads Walker in almost every other statistical category including steals per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and 3-pointer field goal percentage.

The Celtics traded Walker (and Tony Delk) to Dallas for Raef LaFrenz, Jiri Welsch and also a first round draft pick. Never mind the fact that Walker's contract demands would have crippled the Celtic's ability to improve themselves beyond the point of first round playoff fodder - the talent Ainge got in return is pretty good.

Welsch has improved all year and is now a fan favorite. At this point I don't think it is unreasonable to wonder whether a 24-year old healthy Jiri Welsch was worth a 29-year old creaky knee Antoine Walker straight up. The fact that Ainge got a first round pick and Raef LaFrenz is a bonus.

My Confession

Yup - I watched the entire 2-hour finale to ESPN's Dream Job. I couldn't believe that neither of the two finalists knew that Judge Smails nephew's name was Spaulding. How can you be a sports anchor and not know every detail about Caddyshack?

Was I the only one who thought that if the viewing audience was given the choice of cutting one of the two finalists or keeping the two finalists and cutting Stewart Scott - that Scott would be out of a job today?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Smoking in Ireland

A near complete ban on smoking in pubs and in all workplaces is about to go into effect in Ireland. Let me say for the record that I don't smoke (except for an occasional cigar) and also let me say for the record that this is a huge mistake.

Pub owners will see a decrease in business and instead of having a bartender and a waitress - maybe they just go with a bartender (sorry Sheila - we need to lay you off). The smoking ban won't promote any new tourism from the US (if someone wants to go to Ireland it won't be because Ireland is smoke free and Hawaii isn't) but it will cut down on tourism from other European countries (where smoking is a God given right).

If smoke free pubs were in demand - don't you think someone would have opened one? Instead the Irish will have the government telling folks what is good for them and what they can and cannot do. That is a mistake.

But Chris - what about the second hand smoke? Tell that to Sheila who just lost her job at the pub - I'm sure it will be a consolation to her. And let me get this straight - it is the second hand smoke and not the pints that are the real health hazard? Oh - yeah that's right - the pints are next on the list.
Three cheers for Mayor Lou Merloni

The Indians traded Ricky Gutierrez to the Mets allowing them to keep non-roster invitee Lou Merloni on the opening day roster. Good for Mayor Lou Merloni!

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about - Lou Meroni got the nickname "the Mayor" while he was with the Red Sox because he was from nearby Framingham (and let's face it - Lou was a bit of a politician during his days in Boston). I have always liked Lou because he strikes you as a guy who works his tail off and makes the most of his talent. I hope he has a great season for the Indians (God I hope I didn't just jinx him).
Blogroll Update

Today I'm adding Mark Steyn (because everyone should read him) plus both and the Official Site of the Boston Red Sox (just to make clicking to those sites easier for us baseball junkies).

Just saying

Jeromy Burnitz is listed as a 40-1 shot to lead baseball in HR this season. I think 50 HR will take the crown this year (probably closer to 45 than to 50) and Burnitz could be the long shot guy to do it. He has averaged 30 HR over the past 7 years and now half his at bats will come at Coors Field. Just saying is all....
Fun Game

Orca Slap - my best shot was 83.8 and my top score was 478.

Mark Steyn on Richard Clarke

Read this column by Mark Steyn on Richard Clarke.

The more I think about it - the more I think that if Clarke is found to have lied in his testimony either to Congress in 2002 or last week to the 9/11 Commission then he should face the same sort of charges that Martha Stewart had to face. Stewart's insider trading pales in comparison with what Clarke has alleged and the trouble it has caused.
Atlanta Braves

Last year at this time - people wanted to bury the Braves because they lost Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood. This year many people are making the same mistake because they lost Sheffield, Lopez and Maddux. People seem to forget that last year the Braves ran away with the division and had offense to spare. Sure they lost some offense but they improved their pitching.

Consider - the Braves have 5 guys in their rotation with something to prove:

- Russ Ortiz - contract year - needs to prove he's an Ace

- Mike Hampton - needs to show that he's back as a top starter (he should improve on last year's 14-8 with a 3.84 ERA). Hampton could be the team Ace by the All-Star game.

- John Thomson - need to show that he was a victim of Arlington's launching pad

- Horacio Ramirez - needs to show that he wasn't a fluke last year with his 12 and 4 record and 4.00 ERA. (Dontrelle Willis went 14-6 last year, Brandon Webb went 10-9 last year, and highly touted Rich Harden went 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA - Ramirez must want to prove that he should have been mentioned with these other rookies last year. He was completely overlooked.)

- Paul Byrd - he probably won't start the year as the number 5 but in 2002 he had 17 wins for the Royals. He needs to show that he's back and stonger than ever after missing last year.

So - you have a driven rotation for a team that ran away with their division last year. The Phillies did add some pitching but the Braves still have a better rotation and are still the team to beat.
Field of Dreams

Last night Field of Dreams was on Turner Classic Movies. This gives me the opportunity to both give it a Star Power Value (SPV) ranking and to get two things off my chest about the movie.

Field of Dreams - SPV 38 (Costner 7, Madigan 2, Hoffman 2, Liotta 2, Busfield 3, Jones 10, Lancaster 12) - this means Field of Dreams in now the SPV leader among the films I've looked at (replacing Silverado which had a SPV of 37).

Two things have always bothered me about the movie:

1. The voice shows Ray the field with home plate away from the house but Ray builds it completely opposite from the vision with home plate near the house. The voice didn't say "If you build it completely opposite from the way I show you - he will come."

2. Near the end where Busfield's character threatens to foreclose - why doesn't Terence Mann just say "I'll give you the money Ray"? The guy was supposedly one of the most successful authors of the 60's and also a successful children's software publisher - he had to have money. It makes me wonder if Terence Mann was just a cheap SOB who probably didn't chip in for gas on the trip out from Boston either.

Observation that I probably should keep to myself: If they ever made a Spiderman movie called Bride of the Green Goblin then Amy Madigan has to be cast as the lead opposite Peter Parker.
Fantasy Baseball

I have made my first fantasy baseball trade of the year. I know that there is nothing more boring than reading (or listening) to someone talk about their fantasy baseball team (except maybe listening to someone recreate and describe every shot they had after playing a round of golf). I won't be talking about my fantasy team in this space unless I see a player who has unseen value or conversely a player you should get rid of.

However, since this is my first trade of the year - I thought I'd mention it. I traded Bill Mueller and Jim Edmonds for Mike Lowell and Johnny Damon. Going strictly by rankings - it would seem like I got the worst of this deal but I think both Mueller and Edmonds had career years last year and will be unlikely to reach those levels again. Damon should have an excellent year for the Red Sox - he has altered his approach at the plate (which should result in more hits) and his personal problems from a year ago are behind him. Lowell is an injury risk but so was Edmonds. This deal was made more by gut instinct than by numbers crunching.

Last year my first deal was to trade Vlade Guerrero and Tejada for Manny Ramirez and Nomar. On paper - I definitely got the worst of that deal at the time but I thought Tejada would have a awful start because of his contract situation and that Vlade was due for an off year. I was right on both counts.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Bonanza Lyrics

Click here for the lyrics to the theme song for the TV show Bonanza (because at some point in your life you should have these lyrics stuck in your head on an endless loop).

As a nation - the US is historically challenged. Ask almost anyone if they can name all 43 presidents and you'll get mostly blank stares. Now the History Channel should be a great resource to cure that ill but instead many of the shows they have are garbage.

Let me ask you - what real redeeming value can be found in a show titled Hitler's Women?

The good news is that the History Channel will be showing the series Band of Brothers starting Sunday April 11th. That makes me very happy (but it still doesn't make up for them showing something titled Hitler's Women).

Bufford Pusser and the movie Walking Tall was always a big favorite of mine growing up. Now that the Rock has an updated remake of it - I thought it was important to remember that the movie is actually based on a real man.

Having the Rock play Pusser has a certain symmetry since Bufford was actually a professional wrestler before he went into law enforcement.

(Found via NRO)
Clarke and Stewart

After reading Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo and his criticism of Bill Frist for calling Richard Clarke a liar, I got to thinking - what if Clarke did lie in his 2002 testimony to Congress while under oath? If his accounts to the 9/11 Commission, his 2002 testimony to Congress and what he details in his new book all differ significantly - then isn't it reasonable to infer that in at least one of the accounts Clarke isn't being truthful?

If this is the case - shouldn't the Feds go after Clarke with the same vigor in which they went after Martha Stewart? If Clarke did perjure himself - aren't his lies more harmful than Stewart's (who faces up to 20 years in jail)?
Blogroll Update

Today I'm adding Baseball-Reference because that's a must have reference site for any baseball fan, because that's a must have movie reference site for any movie fan and because even though the college basketball season is almost over - they still remain the best site I've found for college basketball news and views.
1991 Baseball Draft

The Boston Globe had an article on David McCarty today that mentioned that he was taken 3rd by the Twins in the 1991 baseball draft while teammate Manny Ramirez was taken 13th by the Indians. Curiousity got the better of me so I looked up who else was taken in that first round in 1991.

- The first pick was used by the Yankees on HS phenom Brien Taylor

- Of the first 10 picks - only Dmitri Young has spent any significant time in the major leagues

- Manny Ramirez was taken 13th and Cliff Floyd was taken right after him at 14th by the Expos while Shawn Green was taken 16th by the Blue Jays.

- The only other players to make significant contributions at the major league level were Shawn Estes (10th), Doug Glanville (12th - this must kill Cubs fans since Manny was taken with the next pick), Edwardo Perez (17th), Benji Gil (19th), Pokey Reese (20th), and Aaron Sele (23rd).

- That means that over 60% of the first round picks could be charitably characterized as busts. That sounds pretty bad but when you compare it to how NBA teams did in their draft that year (and the NBA talent is supposed to be easier to judge)- it wasn't so horrible.
Rising Sun SPV

Last night Rising Sun was on FX and it made for some interesting channel flipping between the movie, the NCAA men's basketball and Holy Cross taking on North Dakota in NCAA hockey action.

Rising Sun was written by Michael Crichton who is a very interesting man. He graduated from Harvard Medical School only to decide he wanted to be a writer instead. Crichton lived for a time in Japan and the role of John Connor was written specifically with Sean Connery in mind.

As far as Star Power Value (SPV) - the movie ranks surprisingly high.

Rising Sun - SPV 30 (Connery 15, Snipes 3, Keitel 5, Tagawa 1, Mako 3, Carrere 3). The movie would have a SPV of 36 if you wanted to give Steve Buscemi credit as having one of the starring roles but his weasel reporter character was only in a couple of scenes.

PS - I love the fact that Mako is the voice of Aku in Samuri Jack and that Tia Carrere once played a character named Venus Poon.
Heh heh

The Larry Lucchino school of negotiations.
Weak Arms

OK - who has the weakest outfield arm in the AL? I would narrow it down to Johnny Damon on the Red Sox, Bernie Williams on the Yankees and Randy Winn on the Mariners. Am I missing anyone?

Who has the weakest arm?
Off-Season Moves

I know that this has been pointed out by many people on many different occasions but this off-season the Red Sox addressed needs while the Yankees created just as many holes as they filled.

The Red Sox only lost two major parts of their 2003 team - John Burkett and Todd Walker. Burkett has retired to a life of bowling after not getting a major league offer from any MLB team. Todd Walker signed as a free agent with the Cubs after the Red Sox decided to go in a less expensive / more defense oriented direction.

The Red Sox added Keith Foulke as a free agent, traded for Curt Schilling (only giving up flotsam and jetsam in the process), signed Pokey Reese and signed Ellis Burks. The team is definitely better than the team who finished 5 outs from the World Series last year.

The Yankees lost Roger Clemens (they thought he was retiring), Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Nick Johnson (in the Vazquez trade) and Alfonso Soriano. They also lost third baseman Aaron Boone to a basketball knee injury.

The Yankees added Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown (I didn't count Jeff Weaver among those lost because he was really a non-factor to last year's team), Kenny Lofton, Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Felix Heredia, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Clark and Travis Lee. Let me make a couple of observations about these additions:

1. Many people focus on the starting pitching because even with the moves - the Yankees still haven't gotten back to last year's level. It is doubtful that the Vazquez / Brown combination will be able to equal the win total of Clemens / Pettitte from last year and they really haven't replaced David Wells (who was two Rivera blown-saves from having 17 wins last year).

2. The focus on the starting pitching often obscures the fact that the Yankees have really strengthened the bullpen. Gordon, Quantrill and Heredia make the bullpen much stronger and deeper than last year's version. Maybe the stronger bullpen can offset the weaker starting pitching?

3. Do the additions of Tony Clark and Travis Lee offset the loss of Nick Johnson? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

4. The combination of Aaron Boone and Alfonso Soriano made the Yankees a better team than Alex Rodriguez and whoever they trot out at second base. The PR of the deal not withstanding - A-Rod doesn't make them better than last year when the Yankees had A-Sor and Boone.

5. Kenny Lofton should be called 36-year old Kenny Lofton whenever his name appears in print. Also keep in mind that last year at this time Lofton was just signing on to play for the Island of Misfit Players (Pittsburgh). On the bright side - the Yankees did get to add Lofton's sunny disposition to the clubhouse [sarcasm off].

6. Gary Sheffield - last year Sheffield had a career year but even if Sheffield has a big drop of 15% in productivity he would still have .280 BA / 33 HR / 112 RBI - that's still some pretty big numbers there. The only things that could stop Sheffield are age, injury or something say steroid related and what's the probability of that happening?

The case that the Red Sox are better than last year is clear. The case that the Yankees are better than last year's team is not so clear.

Let me aslo point out that this isn't a case of another Red Sox fan having a case of Yankee envy - I only made the above observations because it is always wise to size-up the closest competition (and as returning AL East champs - the Yankees as still the team to beat) plus the Red Sox moves are down-right straightforward and boring when compared to the splash, flash and turmoil of the Yankees moves.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Don King backs Bush

What this story doesn't tell you is that Don King can't vote for President Bush because King is a convicted felon (he went to jail for killing a man).
NCAA Thoughts

- The rash of technicals called in tonight's games made me think of the post Mark Cuban put up on his web log today. I wonder what Rick Barnes would say about Cuban's observations?

- How can you not like Xavier? Who would have thought that the Atlantic 10 would have two teams make the Elite 8 and the Big East just one?

- Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack went to Worcester Academy. If he stays for all four years of college - you would have to think he will be a NBA first round pick. Yeah Worcester!

- Kansas makes the Elite 8 while North Carolina loses in the second round. Doesn't it seem like the Kansas wins the championship the year after Roy Williams moves on story is just about to gather a whole lot of steam? Is Roy Williams destined to become the Phil Michelson of basketball coaches?
What Movie Had the Most Star Power

Have you ever seen a movie and thought to yourself - "wow there's a lot of stars in this ensemble cast"?

Last night Siverado was on Bravo and even though I have seen the movie a few times before - that's what I thought. I also got to thinking about Silverado and its star power vs. The Big Chill and A Fish Called Wanda (mostly because all three had Kevin Kline). In sabermetrics fashion - I decided to give each movie a Star Power Value (SPV). I added up the big movies a major cast member had (no TV movies allowed) and then added that sum together to get the movie's SPV. I only counted the top 7 roles in a movie with the idea that after that a part is mostly a cameo. (I used my judgement on what a "Big" movie was.)

Silverado - SPV - 37 (Kline 5, Glenn 7, Costner 7, Glover 5, Dennehy 7, Arquette 1, Goldblum 5)

The Big Chill - SPV 35 (Berenger 6, Close 8, Kline 5, Goldblum 5, Hurt 7, Place 2, Tilly 2 - Jo Beth Williams just missed the cut for this movie)

A Fish Called Wanda - SPV 20 - (Kline 5, Cleese 5, Curtis 4, Palin 5, Georgeson 1 - the rest of the cast was just bit parts)

So Silverado is the SPV champ so far.
Presidential Election Odds

For what it's worth - George W. Bush is favored to win re-election (-140) while John Kerry is coming in as an even proposition. For those unfamiliar with betting - this means that you would have to wager $140 to win $100 on Bush while betting $100 on Kerry would win you $100 if Kerry wins.

This is the only poll that I pay attention to.
Imagine This

Imagine you are 6'2" and 205 pounds - an athlete in the prime of life. Imagine you were a very successful college baseball player who was not only drafted but in the minor leagues you were also the player of the year for the team that drafted you. Imagine you have had the chance to play parts of the past four years in the major leagues. Imagine that you realize that you will never make it in the major leagues - so at the age of 28 you have to retire. Imagine that you are Adam Piatt who announced that he was retiring today.
This just in - Hitler was a sore loser

The Hitler Cup? We got your Hitler Cup right here buddy!
Victor Davis Hanson Friday

As always - must reading

Quote: Yet we can do far more in this time of war that is also a military, political, ideological, and economic struggle. We must explain to the world that no nation has done more to save Muslims — whether in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Iraq. In the last quarter-century we have given billions in aid to Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians. We are the most tolerant of Western countries to Muslim and Arab immigrants. In Iraq now, we — not Arab intellectuals, not "moderate" Arab governments, and not the Europeans — are bringing consensual government and billions more in aid to the Arab Middle East.

The problem is not "getting the message out," but having the intellectual courage to tell the truth and not to be browbeaten by faux intellectuals who talk monotonously of mythical pipelines and Zionist aggression. The fact is, beneath the hype, Iraqis will soon appreciate American help and idealism far more than French perfidy. It is never wrong to be on the side of freedom — never. End Quote
Misfit Players

Sometimes a thought gets into your head and it won't go away. Recently I got the thought into my head that the Pittsburgh Pirates should rename themselves "The Island of Misfit Players".

GM Dave Littlefield seems to have developed the MO of filling the roster with young kids and cast-off players from other organizations that other teams don't want now but may want around the trading deadline (allowing Littlefield to bring in even more kids). Littlefield should consider that:

Nobody wants a closer that shoots jelly or a right fielder who rides and ostrich.

Pittsburgh management may want to consider that the new name would not just be an honest appraisal of what they are doing - it would also be an opportunity to sell all new merchandise.
Jave Meade

Nice piece on Jave Meade by Phil Kasiecki in Jave Meade ended up his career with Holy Cross as the all-time leader in both assists and steals in the Patriot League and ranks among the top players to ever play for the Crusaders.
NCAA Picks

OK - with Pittsburgh losing now three out of the four Regionals are completely shot. The only team I still have left is Connecticut and at least I picked Connecticut to win it all. I have dropped down to 36th place in my pool and am left with the feeling I get every year that this was a great waste of time and I should have just bet every underdog on the first two days and left it at that.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


I added FARK (which is a must have); Big Stupid Tommy (fun blog with lots of good links) and The Hardball Times to my Blogroll.

The Hardball Times has quickly become THE spot for free baseball analysis (I would have posted it earlier but I used many of their fantasy baseball rankings to help me with my drafts last night).


Tonight I was reading my 5-year old Curious George Learns the Alphabet by H.A. Rey. According to my copy - the book was first published back in 1963. What I found interesting was the fact that the Man in the Yellow Hat used the words "dinosaur" and "dromedary" to teach George the monkey the letter "D".

Compare that to what alphabet books or shows like Seasame Street would use for the letter "D" today (most likely dog or doll). It just seems like we are expecting less of our kids today .

Just out of curiousity - how many of you knew that a dromedary was a one humped camel?
Snapple Fact #117

According to Snapple "Real Fact" #117 - "The starfish is the only animal that can turn its stomach inside out."

Obviously the folks at Snapple have never been out drinking with my friend Tim.
Juan Cruz Trade

The Cubs today traded once highly regarded prospect Juan Cruz to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs sent Cruz and Steve Smyth to Atlanta and recieved lefty AAA starter Andy Pratt and AA infielder Richard Lewis in return.

In 2002 - the big rumor about Cruz was that the Red Sox had offered Shea Hillenbrand straight up for the young fireballer. Now it seems that the Cubs finally gave up on Cruz.
Bill James Interview

Here is an interview of Bill James done by The American Experience.

TAE: More American kids now play soccer than baseball. And on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of June you can, as I found last summer, go looking for baseball on TV and find everything but, from NFL Europe to women's golf. What, if anything, can be done to halt baseball's slide in popularity?

JAMES: I advocate a Constitutional amendment against playing soccer.

Heh heh. Read the whole thing. Bill James has a much better sense of humor than anyone ever really gives him credit for.

(Found via SoSH)
Scary Baseball Thought for the Day

Today the Boston Herald had an article on Mike Greenwell. I hadn't thought about Greenwell for a long time (thankfully) but seeing his name in print reminded me that if MLB ever decided to wipe Jose Canseco's 1988 MVP off the books because of his admitted steroid use - then Greenwell who finished second in the voting might go into the record books as having as many MVP's as Jim Rice or Carl Yastrzemski (and one more than Pedro Martinez or Dwight Evans).

Red Sox Free Agents

Most talk about the Red Sox these days focuses on the group of players who can be free agents at the end of the season. This group includes Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe and David Ortiz.

Everyone has an opinion on what will happen with these players and why should I be any different?

My guess is that the Red Sox have offered Nomar a three year deal in the $39-42 million range. I don't think Nomar will sign because he is still convinced he is worth more on the open market. However, I wouldn't be surprised if he did sign before Opening Day because the market has kinda been set with Chavez in Oakland ($11 million per year) and Tejada in Baltimore ($12 million per year).

The Red Sox have probably made Nomar their first player to negotiate with because they know that Pedro will be signed for more money than Nomar and they don't want to hurt Nomar's ego (yeah I know - but even though everyone says its a business - these things have to be taken into account).

Pedro will be signed because he's the best pitcher in baseball and the Red Sox know that. Consider this - if Pedro had another $16.5 million option for next year - don't you think the Red Sox would exercise that option by Opening Day? My guess is three years $45-50 million signed before Opening day.

The rest of the players will have to play the season in uncertainty. Of the three - David Ortiz is the most likely to get an extension before the season is over.
Holy Cross Hockey

The sixteenth seeded Holy Cross men's hockey team will take on top seeded North Dakota in Colorado Springs tomorrow night in the first round of the Frozen Four. The Crusaders tied a team record in wins this season with 22 (22-9-4) and I would be willing to bet that a secret weapon for their success is the support the team receives from the school administration.

Bill Bellerose is the Assistant Athletic Director and also Athletics Business Manager at the college and is therefore responsible for preparing and administering the budgets for all 27 varsity sports. Bill Bellerose is also a former head coach of the Crusader men's hockey team (from 1988 to 1993). I'm sure that Bill has played a role in making sure that the Crusader hockey program is no longer a red-haired stepsister to the school's basketball or football programs. I am also sure that the program will continue to improve and be something the college can be proud of for many years to come.
Pass it on

If you like what I've been doing with this blog please A: Drop me an email at or B: pass on the URL to some friends. I need to get the daily traffic up to justify investing some money in the site.

The Scotsman and the Dentist

How about starting today off with a joke?

A Scotsman goes to the dentist and asks how much it is for an

"$85 for an extraction sir" was the dentists reply.

"Och huv ye no got anything cheaper", replies the Scotsman getting

"But that's the normal charge for an extraction sir", said the dentist.

"What about if you didn't use any anaesthetic?", asked the Scotsman

"Well it's highly unusual sir, but if that's what you want, I suppose I
can do it for $70", said the dentist.

"Hmmmm, what about if you used one of your dentist trainees and still
without anaesthetic", said the Scotsman,

"Well it's possible but they are only training and I can't guarantee
their level of professionalism and it'll be a lot more painful, but I suppose
in that case we can bring the price down to say $40", said the dentist,

"Och that's still a bit much, how about if you make it a training session
and have your student do the extraction and the other students watching
and learning", said the Scotsman hopefully.

"Hmmmmm, well OK it'll be good for the students I suppose, I'll charge
you only $5 in that case", said the dentist.

"Wonderful, it's a deal" said the Scotsman..."Can you book the wife in
for next Tuesday?"

(found this joke over at The Straight White Guy)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Awesome Photoshop

Check out them all
Big Stupid Tommy

OK - now I've stumbled onto Big Stupid Tommy via The Uncouth Sloth. I read this bit from Big Stupid Tommy and I knew I had to pass it on.

Quote: I went back out to the K-Mart. I was driving back toward Casa de Big Stupid Tommy, when I turned up into the shopping center with the movie theater in it. On a whim, just to see if anything was starting right then. Remembering my Waterboy experiences, I knew I was treading dangerous water, but I said to myself: "Self: We'll only go see a good movie, if it's starting in the next ten minutes."

It was 4:20, and the Passion of the Christ was starting at 4:30.

But before I could see the movie, I had to take a minute to weep for the future. I got behind a group of people roughly my age, who couldn't quite master the pronunciation of the title of the movie they wanted to see.


Now, I know it's not a word you'll run across every day. But it's not like it's that hard to sound out.


They kept trying to buy tickets for something pronounced "Hide-a-go," and the ticket girl wasn't getting what they wanted. The lead of the little group finally got fed up after three tries, and pointed with a huff at theater #3, and said something along the lines of "the one with the horse."

When I got up to the window, I thought about struggling with the pronunciation of Christ, and then asking for the one with the crucifiction. End Quote
The Uncouth Sloth

I literally stumbled over this interesting blog on all things Chicago Cubs. You may want to check it out.
Heh heh

This quick time waster has been around for a while but it is still amusing
Stephen King and the Red Sox

Long time Red Sox fans Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan are going to write a book about the 2004 Red Sox. The writers will attend as many games as they can and take notes. At the end of the season - the notes will be compared and compiled into a book. Here's at least one person hoping that they won't be able to go over the notes until at least November.


I saw this picture while looking through Lileks' Bleat today

The picture was part of government sponsored propaganda meant to keep people from hurting themselves with preventable accidents and thus losing time at work and therefore hurting the wartime cause against the Nazi. (Or is it Nazis - never sure about that - maybe it's Nazii?)

Today government money doesn't need to be spent for helpful photographs. All we need today is a FARK photoshop contest (or in this case a picture from

I call that progress!
Holy Crap!

Quote: Former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, D-Culver City, kicks Zhang Xiao Ju betweent the legs during a demonstration performed by Buddhist monks at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 22, 2004. In their first visit to the United States, a group of Shaolin martial artists from SongShan, China demonstrated acrobatic flips and shows of strength among other things. With the monks urging him on, Wesson made several kicks to the monk who showed no emotion. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) End Quote

Nice Piece on Ken Huckaby

Saw this piece on Ken Huckaby by Scott Millier on (thanks to BYH). Huckaby has nothing to apologize for. When did hustle become a dirty word in baseball?
Baseball Salary Sites

With economics playing such a large role in baseball these days - how much a player makes and how long his contract happens to be often becomes as important as discussing the player's batting average or on base percentage.

Two sites that I find very helpful for contract information are Dugout Dollars and this MLB Contracts site maintained by a UK based Red Sox fan.

These are my additions to my blogroll for today. Soon the blogroll will be the same as my favorites.
Victor Davis Hanson

Read this piece! Hanson is a Democrat who now votes for Republican Presidents and I must say I completely share his views (though he is much more learned and articulate than I).

Quote: But I think there is a deeper pathology involved. The leadership of the American Left is no longer a product of the mill, farm, or shop—and no longer strives for a 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and vigilance about a totalitarian Soviet Union. Here in California, Workers' Compensation fraud, not its absence, has nearly ruined the state; rampant illegal immigration cloaked in cynicism, exploitation, and racial chauvinism, not assimilation and integration of different peoples, is threatening the body politic. Corruption, waste, and fraud of a Democratic governor, not too low income and sales taxes, have bankrupted the state. Massive Medical fraud, not neglect and insensitivity, threaten ample health care to the poor.

Most Democrats we saw this year—Howard Dean, Al Gore, John Kerry, Terry McAuliff, and John Edwards—either grew up in aristocratic bounty or are themselves multimillionaires. Does this matter?—only in the sense of sincerity and consistency. When Republican grandees talk of the glories of the free market you know what you get; when very liberal grandees talk of its evils, you have only the assurance that what they advocate and whom they champion most certainly will have little to do with the lives they themselves will live. And the message is no longer one of guaranteed equality of opportunity but of forced equality of results—as long as we accept that such a utopia applies for everyone else outside the world of corporate Ketchup money, astronomical trial lawyer fees, inherited Kennedy capital, Park-Avenue bond security, Sun Valley, and prep-school privilege. End Quote

Giant Problems

I've said it before - the Giants are heading for a major fall this season. The Giants have 43% of their salary money tied up in just three guys - Barry Bonds, Robb Nen and Jason Schmidt. All three guys have issues. Bonds is getting old and he has the BALCO thing hanging over his head. Nen missed all of last year (after May 7th) and is still experiencing discomfort in his shoulder. Schmidt had a career year last year but needed off-season surgery and now he too has a sore shoulder.

I've said it before - this year the Giants and Rockies fight it out for last place in the NL West.
Mariano Rivera

The Yankees yesterday signed Mariano Rivera to a two year extension worth $21 million that has a option for a third year at $10.5 million. Rivera should be a first ballot Hall of Famer and I'm not arguing that he hasn't earned this money through years of service but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the Red Sox signed Keith Foulke for three years for the same amount the Yankees just extended Rivera for two years.

Rivera is 34 years old while Foulke is 31. It is possible that Rivera will be like the last closer to make the Hall - Dennis Eckersley - and be productive well into his late 30's. It is more likely though that Rivera will suffer the inevitable breakdown of age. Consider that the guy Rivera replaced - John Wettland was basically all-done at age 33 and three other guys who Rivera is similar to (Troy Percival, Tom Henke and Trevor Hoffman) started to have health and arm issues about this age.
Heh heh

87% want the phrase "under God" to remain in the pledge of allegiance.

From the Cosmic Tribune

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Encyclopedia Brown

Here's an Encyclopedia Brown story that might not be quite like you remember them as a kid.

Interesting NCAA News


Quote: Offenders beware: The NCAA has announced plans to collect and publish graduation reports for 2003. The decision was made after the Department of Education decided not to publish the information itself. The objective is to catch schools not educating their athletes, especially those who play football and men’s basketball. According to reports, four schools in this year’s NCAA tournament had a graduation rate of zero, something that would not have been discovered without these plans. End Quote

Let the speculation on who the four are schools begin. What's that you say? Cincinnati? Could be....

Hey did Cadwallader make the tourney?
New Sportsguy Column

Bill Simmons has a new column up over at and in it he has a first - his first slam at ESPN.

Quote: And since I needed something to keep my off my feet -- wink-wink -- I purchased DirecTV's March Madness package. Every minute of every game for the piddling price of $59.95! Yeah, like that bill isn't getting sent right to Bristol this week. I think I'll stick it in the same envelope with my 25,000-word confidential memo, "The Top 50 Ways You Screwed Up 'Dream Job.'" End Quote

Sure it's a mild slam (and it's only directed toward "Dream Job") - but it's the first one he's offered up since taking the Page 2 job. Maybe he'll start slow and then lower the boom with what he really thinks of the folks in Bristol.

Another interesting point:

Quote: So I tried to make up for the losses with Maryland, learning a valuable lesson in the process: Never bet on a team where Darryl Strawberry's son could end up taking the last shot. For God's sake, the '86 World Series happened 18 years ago -- I'm still getting reamed. Fifty years from now, I'll have the Seton Hall women's field hockey team in a four-team parlay and Lee Mazzilli's great-grandaughter will end give up the game-winning goal. End Quote

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Red Sox trading Sparky Lyle to the Yankees - and yes Red Sox fans do think about things like Darryl Strawberry's son and players we gave away decades ago. It's impossible to explain.

Neat History

From the pages of

Quote: Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the transistor radio, which, like the diminutive electronic component it’s named for, was invented in America. Using smaller solid-state devices in place of vacuum tubes, transistor radios could be scaled down considerably, yet the earliest versions sold for sums well out of proportion to their size. Most cost between $50 and $90 at a time when a new car could be had for less than $3,000.

Marketers banked on the portability of the new sets, and the first one from Japan was billed as a shirt-pocket radio when it arrived here in 1957. Sony tried to disguise the fact that the TR-63 was a bit larger than advertised by giving salesmen shirts with oversized pockets expressly tailored for the product.

The most collectible models, from 1963 and earlier, can often be identified by the triangles at 640 and 1240 kHz on their dials. Based on the civil-defense emblem, these symbols indicated the two frequencies that were to be used for emergency broadcasts in the event of a Soviet attack. End Quote

What kind of self respecting blogger would I be if i didn't have InstaPundit in my blogroll?

South Park Lyrics

The other night South Park had a new show that was a riff on both Japanese anime and ultimately on Janet Jackson's Super Bowl fiasco. I found this info via Sports and Bremertonians who found it via's chat board.

Here is a translation of the song the kids on South Park were singing:

subarashii chin chin mono (wonderful pee-pee things)
kintama no ke aru (There is testicle hair)
sono oto ga sarubobo (That sound is a monkey pussy)
iie ninja ga imasu (No, there are Ninjas)
hey hey lets go kenka suru (Hey hey lets go, to fight)
Taisetsuna mono protect my balls (Important things, protect my balls)
boku ga warui so lets fighting (I am bad, so lets fighting)
lets fighting love
lets fighting love

kono uta ha chotto baka (This song is kind of stupid)
wake ga wakaranai (I can't understand the meaning)
eigo ga mechakucha (English is absurd)
daijoubu we do it all the time (It's okay, we do it all the time)

If you saw the show - then the lyrics are pretty funny. If you didn't see the show - you are probably wondering about my sanity.
Playboy BALCO Article

This article from the pages of Playboy is a must read for anyone interested in the backstory behind the BALCO arrests. PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME OF THE POP-UP ADS ARE NSFW.

(hat tip to 21)
Just for the record

If I was riding on a tank in a war zone and I saw this guy out of the corner of my eye - my first thought would have been "Rocket launcher!" too.

Read the article.

Gretzky's Cousin

Last year about this time - Wayne Gretzky got into some hot water for saying that he supported President Bush in Iraq 100%. The Great One also mentioned that he had a cousin over in Iraq. Now that it's a year later - I bet his cousin's tour is up.

If I were an enterprising sports reporter - I would try to track down Gretzky's cousin because I bet it would make a great story.
Ramiro Mendoza

I don't think it is any secret that the Red Sox really don't need Ramiro Mendoza but the problem is - how do you just cut a guy who you'll have to pay $3.6 million to? Mendoza will probably start the season on the DL - which just allows the Red Sox to delay the inevitable. Why not trade Mendoza - I ask? Because nobody wants him - you answer.

Good point but I bet that the Colorado Rockies who will be relying on Denny Stark as their fifth starter would be willing to listen. Mendoza's sinkerball probably could be very effective in a park like Coors Field. If the Red Sox picked up say half of Mendoza's salary - I bet the Rockies could send a AA prospect to Boston.

It's better than eating the entire $3.6 million.
Smiling Bob the Enzyte Guy

No product or commercial is more insulting to your intelligence than Enzyte’s series of Smiling Bob commercials.

If you had never seen an Enzyte commercial and you were shown a picture of Smiling Bob would you think:

A: The guy is smiling because he’s an utter moron
B: The guy is smiling because he’s convinced his penis is growing because of a pill he took
C: The guy is a moron for thinking his penis is growing because of a pill he took

Just ask yourself – what exactly is the natural way to male enhancement? Is taking a pill natural? If there were natural ingredients – wouldn’t men from the dawn of time been gobbling the substance by the handful?

In our ultra politically correct society – I’m surprised nobody has said anything about the Enzyte commercials. Talk about stereotypes.

In the commercial where Bob dives into the pool and loses his shorts – it is the black woman who is most impressed because – well you know – it’s black guys who normally have the biggest penises but the black woman never saw a penis as enhanced as Bob’s before.

How about the commercial of Smiling Bob in Japan where all of the Japanese men are intimidated by “the big wood”? The stereotype is that Japanese men all have small penises (although come to think of it – you never do see any male Japanese porn stars).

And now we have Enzyte NASCAR commercials because – you know – NASCAR fans are just stupid enough to buy “male enhancement” products. Isn’t that the stereotype?

What is funniest about the Enzyte commercials is the offer of a 30-day sample pack. So let me get this straight – a guy is going to measure himself (think of the opening scene from Porky’s) – then take the Enzyte 30-day sample pack and then remeasure himself to see the “enhancement”? Doesn’t it sound more like a SNL skit than a real product?

Now I read where Enzyte is being sued by a man who did not experience any “enhancement” and wants his money back. Is it just me or does this have all the makings of a Jerry Springer show?

Oh and while I’m being so critical – the woman who plays Smiling Bob’s wife is ugly.

Monday, March 22, 2004


Two great sites to just veg out to for a while.

Site 1

Site 2

Seattle Mariners

After looking at Jeremy's blog over at Sports and Bremertons - I got curious and looked over the Mariners roster and what their payroll looks like for the next couple of years. It looks like the Mariners will carry a payroll about $86 million this year and it looks like they only have 6 players tied up til 2006 (Guardardo, Ichiro, Ibanez, Pineiro, Spiezio, and Winn). It occurred to me that Winn and Ibanez need to be traded so that the Mariners can try to field and "all vowel O team" (or maybe Randy Winn can legally change his name to Randy Winneiro - just trade Ibanez though).

It also occurred to me that the Mariners need a big bat in their line-up maybe even worse than the Dodgers do. Jason Kendall's not a HR hitter but he's available. Jim Edmonds would be perfect but will Seattle take on Edmonds contract and do they have something the Cardinals would be interested in? I still say that Ibanez was a bad signing. Matt Stairs will have more HR and RBI's for the Royals this year than Ibanez will have for Seattle and Stairs only cost $1 million.
Heh heh

Check out this cool list over at Tim Blair's blog. It shows some of the celebrities and who they donated money to in the race for President. I just loved the comment that noted "Morgan Fairchild: Dated Kerry, paid Gephardt."
New Gammons Column has a new Peter Gammons column up. Gammons is the best - there is nothing like reading one of his columns (especially for those of us who were weaned on his Sunday Notes columns in the Boston Globe). I do have a couple of thoughts/disagreements with Peter though:

- Gammons tries to make the case that the AL Wild Card may come from the West (and not necessarily guaranteed to go to either the Yankees or Red Sox). Now - I'm on record for saying the Yankees won't make the playoffs this year but I also don't see the Angels putting it together and finishing either first in the West or having a good enough record for the Wild Card. To me the Wild card will come down to either Seattle, Oakland or Toronto (who has a much better team than the Angels).

- Any time you read "Player X is healthy and on a mission" - it is almost guaranteed that player will be out for the year before the All-Star break. Gammons uses that descrirption for Troy Glaus in his column.

- Gammons wrote "The consensus is that the Giants are going to take a fall [in the NL West]." I couldn't agree with this more. I see the Giants fighting it out with the Rockies for last place in the NL West this year.
Happy Birthday Captain Kirk!

Do yourself a favor and download some of Shatner's greatest hits and crack open a cold one to honor his birthday. "Rocketman" is my personal favorite. Yes Mars isn't the kind of place to raise your kid. In fact it's cold as hell.

Ummm...Maybe another analogy would be better

In today's Monday Morning QB - Peter King uses the following analogy regarding the Terrell Owens fiasco, "In the end, Baltimore got a fifth-round pick from Philadelphia, the league's attempt to throw some salve on a gunshot wound. A fifth-round pick buys a backup linebacker, maybe a nice special teams player. It doesn't buy a good wide receiver."

I think I would stay away from gunshot wound analogies when Baltimore, Philadelphia or the NFL in general are involved.
Fantasy Baseball Catcher

There may be only 7 strong well-known picks among catchers this year (Piazza, Javy Lopez, Posada, I-Rod, Varitek, Kendall and Lieberthal) for fantasy purposes. A good lesser known pick in my opinion would be Dave Ross from the Dodgers who should be the starter this year and should get 400-500 AB. Ross has shown great power (a HR every 13 AB last year) and just as significantly he has shown the power to hit HR at Chavez Ravine. By the end of the season - I wouldn't be surprised if Ross has 25+ HR and is among the top 5 catchers statistically in baseball.
Nick Johnson

I am having a hard time deciding how I should value Nick Johnson when it comes to preparing for my fantasy baseball drafts. The most similar batter by age (according to is Travis Lee. When Lee was in his forth season - he got to play full time (555 at bats) and he hit 20 HR with 90 RBI while hitting .258 with a .341 OBP. Johnson will probably have similar numbers (although potentially higher BA and OBP). On the other hand - what if Johnson blossoms the way many people have predicted for him (plus the park in Puerto Rico tends to give up lots of HR)? On the other other hand - there are at least 15 1st basemen who will put up better than 20 HR and 90 RBI. What to do...what to do...
Choosing Sides


The choice seems easy to me

Veterans Stadium

The best column I have ever read on Veterans Stadium was by former stand-up comedian and current columnist John McGurk. I had never been to the Vet but after reading John's piece I felt that I had.
James Lileks' Bleat

Lileks' Bleat is must reading for me every weekday but today it is MUST reading.
Frozen Four

The Hockey version of March Madness is set to begin now that pairings have been announced. It is very strange to see Holy Cross in the field of 16 but not Boston University. (This is almost the equivalent in basketball of Holy Cross getting in but Duke not getting an invite.) Holy Cross got an automatic invitation by winning the Atlantic Hockey conference title. Good luck to the Crusaders - they'll need it as they are matched up in the first round against top ranked North Dakota.
NCAA Picks

Like most of America - my brackets were destroyed by this weekend's upsets. Kentucky was one of my Final Four picks. Now they're gone. Xavier wrecked another of my Final Four picks by knocking off Mississippi State. My Finals matchup of Connecticut vs. Pittsburgh is still alive and that is now my only hope. I've dropped down to 29th place in my pool and its really all over but the crying.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Boston Red Sox Trade Tony Womack for Duffman (Oh Yeah!)

The Boston Red Sox today traded second baseman Tony Womack for right handed pitcher Matt Duff.

I don't know anything about Matt Duff but if I were a reporter the first question I would want to ask is, "How do you feel about everyone calling you Duffman?"
This is just strange

Political correctness for the deaf

Sorry but the first thing I thought of when reading this was Garrett Morris doing the top stories tonight for the deaf on the original Saturday Night Live.
The Benefactor

The next big reality show will probably be The Benefactor. This show will put Mark Cuban in the role of Donald Trump but instead of hiring someone for a job - Cuban's just going to give them a million dollars (because he can).

For information about applying for The Benfactor - click here.
Cosmic Tribune

I'm adding the Cosmic Tribune to my blogroll. If you're not familiar with the site - it basically has most of the major on-line newspapers and magazines in one convenient spot plus breaking news and 99 opinions from 99 people (which sort of sounds like 88 Lines About 44 Women).

Something to think about

This exchange is from Victor Davis Hanson's website:

Question: "The wealth and power that Rome accumulated within a couple of generations, it seems, led to two civil wars and the destruction of the Republic. I feel as though our political situation is becoming as partisan and could very well end in some type of civil strife within another generation. Am I way off base here?"

Hanson: "I can’t quite adjudicate all your comparisons, but I share your worry about polarization and think this next campaign will be the nastiest in some time. I didn’t really dislike personally Bill Clinton, although I felt he weakened the United States abroad. But there were many on the Right who did—and gave him no fair hearing, especially about his commendable though belated attack on Milosevic. Yet, their animus has been trumped by Bush-haters. And we are now in a spiral whose logical end is sort of frightening."

I have long felt the same way. President Clinton gets no credit for the job he did on the economy or for taking out Milosevic. Yes many of the things he did were bad - Travelgate, Monicagate, weakening of the Armed Forces, a completely botched healthcare reform, etc - but the level of hatred for him was beyond anything that I have experienced in my lifetime. The hate for Clinton was ten fold the hate for Richard Nixon.

Now the hate for George W. Bush seems to be ten fold the hate for Clinton. The left wing of the Democratic Party hates Bush much more than they support any candidate or position. If Bush was to support the Pope - the left would become instantly anti-Catholic. If Bush supported Arafat (small chance of that) - the left would be fervently pro-Israel.

I don't think that it is a "spiral whose logical end is frightening" though. I believe that two things will stop the spiral. First the center will tire of the ceaseless hate and second a charismatic centrist leader will emerge (probably in 2008 from either the Republican or Democratic Party). Things can't get worse than the days of Andrew Jackson. My guess is that within 10 years we'll have a return to civility in politics.

Heh heh

From Mark Steyn:

Quote: For over a year, there've been jokes about the ponderous way the senator brings Vietnam up at every opportunity. Ask him about John Edwards' pretty boy bangs, and Kerry says solemnly, ''I know something about bangs for real.'' But he's beyond satire now. The Humane Society sends him a questionnaire asking ''Do you have any pets that have made an impact on you personally?'' Instead of citing any of the ginger toms, gerbils and cockatoos that have passed through the Kerry household in the last four decades, he goes back to those four months in Vietnam and recalls a pooch named VC who accompanied him on his swift boat missions.

Is it normal to take a yappy mutt on a swift boat patrol through enemy territory? Especially a mutt named after the enemy. Calling out ''Over here, VC'' in the middle of the jungle seems a good way to get taken out by friendly fire. Come to that, how many folks name their dogs after the enemy? Did British Tommies stumble across stray French poodles on the beach at Normandy and think, ''Aw, cute li'l feller. I'll call him SS''?

Weird. And, just to round out a weird week, John Kerry, accompanied by the press, went into a sporting goods store and bought a jock strap. Even for a campaign marked by a strangely insecure macho exhibitionism, this was a little too self-parodic. End Quote

Found via FreewillBlog
The Gauguin Exhibit

Yesterday, my wife and I went to the Paul Gauguin exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. Now I’m no art expert by any stretch but when you have a chance to see works of art by one of the all-time greats – you’d be foolish not to (even if you’re just a regular guy like me).

I knew very little about Gauguin. To me he was the guy who went to Tahiti to paint naked women. What I did know was colored by the book The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham. The book was a thinly veiled fictionalization of the life of Gauguin that was written in 1919 (16 years after Gauguin’s death). In the book, the main character – Charles Strickland (i.e. Gauguin) is English instead of French but the gist of Gauguin’s life is intact.

Neither my wife nor I opted for the audio headsets. To me the audio headset would be telling me what I should feel about a picture instead of just letting the reaction to the work be natural and real. Besides – almost all the information you needed about a picture was contained on the plaques beside each work.

Boston is the only US stop for the Gauguin exhibit and when you read the plaques to see where the paintings are from – you understand the reason why. It seemed that at least 3/5ths of the paintings were from the Boston MFA or from Harvard’s Fogg Museum (there was also one painting from the Worcester Art Museum – yeah Worcester!).

One thing that I read on one of the early plaques bothered me for most of the exhibit. It was noted that Gauguin often painted a fox into his pictures and that the fox symbolized perversity. OK – I’m all for symbolism in art but the problem I had is the fact that the fox was present in the early works and then he reappeared in some later works but not in the middle (or so it seemed). What really bothered me was the fact that a dog often appeared in many of Gaugin’s paintings from his second trip to Tahiti. What did the dog symbolize? Was it the same as a fox? What was the deal with the dog? I kinda wish I never even read that bit about the fox.

Gauguin had his own preconceptions about Tahiti and I guess when he first got there he was a bit disappointed because it wasn’t the paradise he had built it up to be in his mind. His preconceptions also seem to come out in his work. For some reason Buddhist themes seem to permeate his work as well as ancient Greek influences. These influences exist side by side with native Tahitian beliefs and they just seemed a bit out of place to me.

After spending two years in Tahiti – Gauguin returned to Europe to try and sell his artwork. Sales were pretty poor and Gauguin was disappointed. He basically went back to Tahiti pretty bitter about not being able to make his coin (or so it would seem). Gauguin spent his last six years on Tahiti and later on the Marquesas Islands

Gauguin’s work does have its own look and feel to it. I was surprised that there wasn’t much ocean or beach to his work. In fact many of the paintings are depicted at night. The most striking thing to me was his use of the color blue (doesn’t that sound artsy?).

The masterpiece of the exhibit was the painting Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Seeing this piece of art is something I’ll never forget and worth the price of admission just by itself.

I must admit that any time I use the word “masterpiece” I always think of my friend Bill Silk. The word is a bit of a pet peeve with Bill because people always misuse it. In any collection – by definition – there can only be one masterpiece. People often speak of multiple masterpieces and that’s just wrong. I feel better for venting on this piece of grammar.

It was also surprising to me to see that Gauguin was also a friend of Van Gogh and Degas. I tried to think if an equivalent of this sort of friendship existed today and the only thing I could think of is Hollywood friendships where maybe a superstar had a friend who he knew was a great actor so they put them into small parts in their movie until the actor can hit it big on his own. Degas bought some of Gauguin’s art just to make sure Gauguin still had some cash.

The exhibit will be at the MFA until June 20th.
NCAA Picks

Yesterday I picked wrong on Gonzaga, Stanford and Maryland. I'm now tied for fifth in my pool. The good news is my Final Four picks of Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Mississippi State and Connecticut are all still alive.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Shades of Jim Fixx

Brian Maxwell - the founder of the company that makes Powerbars - died on Friday of a heart attack. Maxwell was 51-years old and in his youth he was an Olympic class long distance runner.

Jim Fixx was the author of the bestselling The Complete Book of Running died at age 52 in 1984 of a heart attack while running. I know the two deaths are totally unrelated but the first thought I had when reading about Brian Maxwell's death was "Just like Jim Fixx!"
Holy Crap!

Imagine if the government had ordered the arrest of Woodward and Bernstein? Imagine if the government seized all of their source material for their stories including the name of Deep Throat?

That sounds exactly like what just happened to Hans Martin Tillak on the orders of European Union officials in Brussels.

Once the elections are over in the US - the stories of corruption in the EU and the trail of corruption involving the Oil for Food program at the UN will be the major stories for years to come.
Like Father Like Son?

Very interesting article on John Kerry's father (who I admit knowing nothing about even though I've lived my whole life in Massachusetts).

Quote: If Richard and John Kerry were not in perfect political sync, it was because the father, in an inversion of the usual dynamic, was more radical than the son. John Kerry, for instance, had grown enthusiastic about John F. Kennedy and his robust, anti-communist foreign policy. Indeed, it was his fervor for Kennedy's "bear any burden" call to service that largely inspired Kerry to join the Navy. Richard Kerry, by contrast, was more skeptical about New Frontier idealism. In a 1996 interview with The Boston Globe, he groused, "[John's] attitude was gung ho: had to show the flag. He was quite immature in that direction." When John Kerry came back from Vietnam, his father pushed him to be more outspoken in his opposition to the war. "When Kerry refused to speak out against the government [while in uniform], suddenly his father felt like he was being a wimp," says Brinkley. "[So he] encouraged his son to take off the uniform and to become a critic." End Quote

Many people have tried to attribute George W. Bush's going to war in Iraq to his desire to finish his dad's business with Hussein. I wonder what the amateur psychiartists can make out of Kerry's complicated relationship with his father?

Very interesting article by Franklin Foer - I recommend The New Republic article very highly.

BTW - I figured this blog would get top heavy with one subject but I just assumed it would be baseball not John Kerry

(Hat tip to JD)
Heh heh

From Right Wing News

Baseball Prediction

Between DeRosa at 3rd, LaRoche at 1st and Estrada at catcher - the Atlanta Braves will have two players finish in the top 3 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Red Sox - Trot Nixon's back

Trot Nixon will be out at least six weeks with a herniated disk in his back. Now full recovery is expected from this injury - which is good - but back or knee injuries are not what you want a guy you signed to a three year extension to be getting.

Trot's injury helps to again point out the excellent job Theo Epstein has done in building depth on this club. Theo has Kevin Millar (if Ortiz plays first), Brian Daubach, Ellis Burks, Gabe Kapler and David McCarty ready to go and take over the AB's Nixon would have had if healthy.

The injury may actually prove to be beneficial in the aspect that either Daubach or McCarty probably wasn't going to make the team. With Nixon out (but scheduled for full recovery) - the team has a longer time to evaluate which player (Daubach or McCarty) would be the most useful to the team this year. (There is also the chance that neither player makes the team and Theo moves in a different direction.)

I would expect the lion's share of Trot's AB's to go to Ellis Burks (it will be good for him to get a nice applause on Opening Day). Gabe Kapler and Millar will probably get the remaining AB's that Burks doesn't get.