Monday, October 31, 2005
I was sitting in my friend Ryan's room, watching him and my other friend Nate try to teach Dave (big Tigers fan) how to play Halo properly. All of a sudden, I got rapidly, massively nauseous, like I was going to throw up right then and there. Which is weird, because I'm not one of those people who get nauseous a lot... in fact, I can't even remember the last time I felt nauseous.
Startled and worried, I excused myself and wobbled back to my room. I cracked open my window and sat down at the computer, just kind of holding my head and wondering what the heck was going on. Trying to not move too much, I fired up Safari and checked my email.
University mail, usual notices of art shows and campus rallies, usual missives from my french professor telling us we're all morons for doing so poorly on the last quiz. Yahoo mail, usual complement of various city newspapers I'm signed up for... Dolphins news, Chicago Tribune, and so on. Gmail, usual series of news alerts... Brandon Inge, Jason Marquis, Mike Matheny. I see that a long email thread a bunch of Boston bloggers have been contributing to has been updated. Hm.
Annette has sent the following email--
"Theo has quit. The front office has NO COMMENT."
Did I not wake up this morning and, as soon as I got out of the shower, go online and check the Globe site to see that Theo had, in fact, been given a new contract and that all was well and hunkydory? DID I NOT DO THIS VERY THING??
I bust onto AIM like there's a pack of drunken Michigan State fans after me.
I IM Annette demanding details. What! The hell! I'm all the way out here in the midwest, and the hall around me is entirely way too calm for this BURGEONING CRISIS.
Immediately I get an IM from my mother, who is understandably REALLY FUCKING UPSET.
My friend Mike IMs me to see what I think about a possible Manny-for-Magglio deal with Detroit. I virtually yell at him. Sorry Mike, now is not the time.
Evan IMs me from his cell phone to see if I've heard. I have. Neither one of us can believe it.
Trevor IMs me with a link to the AP story on Yahoo. "I just saw the headline on Yahoo! WTF?" he says.
More emails pop up in my Gmail account. Trevor has sent me an email with the phrase "boston's fucked" repeated for about 25 lines, ending with the line "thank god dombrowski's here to stay :/". Jenna has emailed me to say that she just spent 5 minutes staring, motionless, at the computer, in pure shock.
Mer is real Bostonite sarcastically pragmatic: "Theo has also had enough of the ridiculous drama, apparently."
Amy makes a good point: "seriously, SERIOUSLY reconsidering wanting to work for them."
If a guy born and bred here, a guy who grew up loving the team and knowing the media, a guy beloved by the city, felt the need to quit, who will come to work here? How do you sign a good GM again after that? Will his assistants leave with him?
My dad calls, to see if I've heard. He says he's about to leave work and will have WEEI on for the drive home... he expects the callers will be livid, and he's probably quite right. It seems obscene that I turn on the TV here and flip through the sports channels, and no one is talking about this. The sky is falling, and Lloyd Carr is mumbling on FSN Detroit, they're arguing about the Eagles on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith is talking to Ron Artest on ESPN 2 in what must be the most unwatchable show in TV. Action News is talking about Rosa Parks.
CNN is talking about the CIA leak case. Theo Epstein fucking quit! Why isn't this on CNN?? It should be getting covered on every channel; it should be on the fucking Food Network, it should interrupt the soaps and be broadcast in Spanish on Univision.
Theo, just. Walked away.
The article in the Globe, the one detailing his relationship with Lucchino that made Theo think there were breaches of trust, that was the straw to break the camel's back in this case, the article that allegedly made him decide to give it up and quit, is here.
The astute observer of Boston media history will note who penned it. I don't think I really need to say anything more about that.
I just downed some Pepto Bismol, so hopefully I won't actually, you know, expectorate. But I don't know why I got so nauseous, for no good reason. Maybe it was the tar we were working with in print today; maybe it was something in one of the numerous worrying piles of clothing and god knows what else lying about Ryan's room.
But it was kind of like... kind of like I knew.
Happy Halloween from Big Papi! Maybe for the holiday you too can be a badass superclutch batter with lots of bling. Or, you know, you can be Tom Brady with three tinfoil Lombardi trophies on your head. No, you're not getting photos, it was very silly-looking. Hope everyone has a good one on Monday or, if you're like me and in a collegiate atmosphere that celebrates these things over several days, a good Halloween Weekend.
So, uh, I guess the White Sox won the World Series since I posted last, didn't they? I suppose I feel bad for the Astros (although not Roger Clemens) and it's a good deal for the White Sox (although not AJ Pierzynski), and I don't have much more to say about that... what do you want from me? They're not my teams, and it's nice that the White Sox shed that Black Sox crap, but I can't get over the fact that I saw them tear apart the Tigers all year (twice in person) and I had to suffer through them sweeping the Properly Colored Sox (not that I think we would've gone far with our pitching anyways, but still).
I don't have much to say about the latest Sox news either, I suppose. It all seems very straightforward to me.
Johnny Damon: Whatever. Either he'll stay or he won't, I'm not too cut up about it either way. We just can't offer him anything too long or (most importantly) too pricey. He may be one of the best leadoff men in baseball, but he's much more replaceable than some other guys.
Manny Ramirez: Heard this one before. He'll go if the boys upstairs decide they've had enough. He'll stay if they decide he's still worth it, or if his contract is so unwieldy as to make him completely unmoveable. If he stays, he'll probably get over his sulks like usual. Although there is the worrying fact that Kevin Millar may not be back next year, in which case Manny will have lost his binky, and we could have trouble.
But I don't understand his insistence on Cleveland, I really don't. Does he honestly think they could afford him? The Angels, maybe... as my dad pointed out on the phone with me today, they'd love to have someone to protect the Vladinator. But gosh darn it, we need someone to protect Papi. In any event, his Cleveland dreams just seem downright foolish, unless the Sox were willing to pick up like 98% of his contract, which, er, I should hope we're smart enough to avoid that.
Theo Epstein: RESIGN HIM. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! GIVE THE MAN WHATEVER HE WANTS. Allegedly we hear about this sometime on Monday. I had bloody well better get back from classes and hear that he's staying. If Theo wants a pack of white tigers wearing little red booties to pull a great shining chariot with his face painted on the sides, drawing him through the streets of Boston, with hoardes of little leaguers singing his praises behind it, SO BE IT.
As for Michigan football... well, it was eye-twisting. I mean really, really eye-twisting... Northwestern was all in purple, and Michigan was in white and yellow, and if you know anything at all about color you know that purple and yellow are exact opposites, and ow ow ow mine corneal bits.
The game itself was nice, although there were some painful plays, like that interception in the 3rd that would have probably gone for seventy thousand yards if Steve Breaston hadn't managed to wrap the kid up by his ankle on a desperate lunge, and Henne still looks like he's pressing too hard at points. But hey, a win is a win is a win, and this means I get bragging rights over my friend Dave, who attends Northwestern, for another year.
One of the absolute best things about college football, by the by, is the Facebook. For those of you who are unaware, the Facebook is sort of like Friendster, but for college students. You can see the profiles of anyone in your college, and, joy of joys, much of the Michigan football team is on there. This means that you get to read what they think of themselves, which is sometimes absolutely fucking hilarious. For instance,
Braylon Edwards, on Braylon Edwards (exactly as written in his profile): "I am a 22 year-old male that is in a rare situation that is hard for anyone to imagine. I am misunderstood and for the most part stereotyped before given the chance to just be me. In all factuality I am just a guy who likes to chill, have a good time, and see other people enjoy themselves. I wish sometimes that everyone could look through my eyes and see what i see."
Garrett Rivas on Garrett Rivas: "not a lot about me...im a short fat ass cuban in search of a green card...[L DUB 4 LIFE]" And no, I haven't a clue who or what 'L DUB' is.
Chris Graham on Chris Graham: "I'm the cool type of dude who just like to have a good time, I pretty much get along with anyone i see or meet that's just me that "dude", i love kids, and love to work on old-school cars also women. I like a woman with a good head on her shoulders with no attitude but don't get me wrong that doesn't mean everyone makes that list. I like a women that i can see from a far angle and be like d*#n but she got to be coooool! In the face to look at!" I want to know who taught him grammar and punctuation. Then I would like to beat that person about the head.
And then you get the beauty of the photos. Some prime examples.
Tyler Ecker: he kills bunnies.
Prescott Burgess: he needs to put a shirt on.
Grant Mason: damn, nice suit.
Jason Eldridge: Um. Alright then.
Mike Hart, however, is adorable.
Facebook also recently added a feature where you can upload photo albums, leading to some cute shots like this one of Jerome Jackson, Leon Hall, and Brandent Englemon at the Rose Bowl last year, and, in the very same album, worrying images like this one of Jerome Jackson out in public somewhere. What are you doing, Jerome? And why?
Of course then you learn things like the fact that defensive back James Logan has two Akitas named Bear and China, and that he also has an eye for photography, and that punter Ross Ryan is majoring in biopsychology and cognitive science, and you become happy that the entire football team is not made of drooling morons.
And now you know more about the Michigan football team than you ever wanted to, but you can see why I love the Facebook.
Oh, and click on the logo to check out the exciting stuff we've got going on over in Tigers blogger land. We're all, like, organized now. And stuff. And we're totally putting out awards all serious-like. It's pretty wild. Click click.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Hi, Internet! It's Joey Harrington! Your usual BCRS blogger really wants to be with you guys right now, but she's stuck in the middle of... well, it's not midterms anymore, but the Michigan art school does this weird thing where some of their classes are these intensive 7-week studios that switch at midsemester, so she's actually just finishing up finals for her clay and wood classes, and starting brand new print and video classes, and she's very stressed out and sleep-deprived and bitter.... so bitter, Internet... with so much swearing... she swears worse than Dick Jauron does when he starts feeling especially sad, and it kind of scares me, Internet, to tell the truth....
But anyways, here I am! I mean, it's not like I've got anything better to be doing right now... I mean... I am so happy for Jeffy, but I just really wish I was able to get out there and help the team... but it was so nice to see the offensive line guys so pumped up and happy on Sunday... oh... I *sniffle*... I think I need a minute....
I'M SORRY! I'm sorry, Ms. BCRS lady! It won't happen again, I promise, I promise, oh god, don't beat me with the Lions car flag again.
These are tears of joy! Joy at talking to you, Internet people! I love talking to the common man... I do so much stuff for the United Way, and those little children, they just light me right up inside, you know? They're so sweet and trusting and none of them ever make fun of my name... or accuse me of being inclined in a way that I'm not... or say that I don't like beer, which I do... or tell me that I can't make the throws when they matter... except for that one time... but I don't think that kid was really 7, Internet, he looked much older. That wasn't fair.
Anyways, I'm supposed to talk about baseball. Gosh, I don't really know. I mean, I like watching baseball... they look funny in those pants, don't you think? Personally I think everyone should wear the colored socks... I mean, we all do.... or I mean, we did.... god, I may as well not even suit up for games anymore... oh god... *sniffle*
NO! NOT THE CAR FLAG! NOT THE CAR FLAG! Oh my god, Internet, I'm not even sure what some of those words mean, but she sounds so angry... if I pee myself, just a little tiny tiny bit, will you promise not to tell? It's not like that's something I do often, I mean, but it's so scary right now!
So the Astros... is their coach wearing a pink jacket?? I think he is, Internet! It looks like a dark reddish pink! I didn't know baseball teams wore pink! There aren't any football teams that wear pink, although the Ravens wear purple and personally, Internet, I think that's part of why they're so angry all the time... it's like they're trying to say that they're not really the kind of guys who would wear purple, you know? I don't understand why they'd get so upset about that, there's nothing wrong with it. They were so mean earlier this season, Internet... I've never seen play that dirty! I hate getting dirty. I don't like the Ravens much, but oh my god, please don't tell them that, OK Internet?
So it's the 9th inning and I guess the game is tied? I think it's tied. The team not with the pink jackets is called the White Sox, which I think is pretty stupid, because I mean their socks aren't even white... they're black, which is like the opposite of white! Plus they totally misspelled 'socks'. Pretty stupid, huh, Internet? I guess I'm rooting for the Astros, at least it's spelled right, plus, pink! But what's an 'Astro' anyways? I guess it's the same in football, though. I mean, what's a 'Charger'? I always thought it meant like a cell phone charger, and they have lightning on their helmets so that's the electricty, but a cell phone charger isn't very threatening, is it?
Oh, your regular blogger just told me that the Astros are losing the series and if they lose two more games they lose everything, so I guess I will root for them. I know what it's like to lose, Internet, especially for no good reason at all on really weird plays... which I guess has been happening to the Astros?
Poor guys! They should try losing on a muffed snap of a routine extra point kick, then maybe they would understand my pain... oh god, Internet, no one understands my pain... Danny Orlovsky keeps leaving me messages on my cell, he wants to hang out and he thinks we're best buddies now, but he doesn't get it, Internet, he doesn't understand my deep and monumental pain... it hurts so bad being on the sidelines... I hate clipboards... and the headset totally makes this awful dent in my hair... sometimes I think the only people who understand what it's like to be me are sensitive and caring bands like My Chemical Romance... oh, oh, oh *sniffle* *sniffle* *sob*....
Oh my god, Internet, I wish I was back at Oregon... they're 7 and 1 right now... and I would totally be better than their quarterback right now! I would get to play... I almost won the Heisman when I was in college, did you know that, Internet? I was nominated. I got to go to New York and sit with the other guys at the ceremony... oh you'd never know it now, of course, back then I had an offensive line that actually blocked for me and not just for some wobbly-headed old man out of the west, and I had receivers who actually ran their routes instead of going in the complete opposite direction and things, and I had a coach who called plays that worked with me instead of these awful little dump side passes like I'm a West Coast quarterback which I'm not, Internet, and it's not my fault Mooch has like a fetish for the West Coast offense, he shouldn't bring his fetishes onto the field, it's not fair and I want to be a Duck again...
OH MY GOD, I didn't mean it, I DIDN'T MEAN IT! I am so happy for Jeffy, honest, I am! I'm just so upset, Internet, I say things I don't mean. I won't let this get me down, I won't!
They're playing extra innings now. I guess that's like overtime only without the time limit or anything. Baseball can go on forever, did you know that, Internet? I like playing golf, golf can take a long long time, but sometimes even golf goes faster than baseball.
I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! BASEBALL IS AWESOME! BASEBALL IS THE MOST PERFECT SPORT EVER! Oh my god please put the hammer down and OH MY GOD, IS THAT A SAW? I'M SORRY I DIDN'T MEAN IT!! Why do you even have a saw anyways, oh my gaaawwwd.
What do you mean, all the art students have them? Do they want to make you all serial killers? Oh my god are they training you all up to become Raiders fans???
I'm sorry, no, I know that was low of me. Yes I understand what a bad insult it is. I feel terrible now. But I'm just so upset these days... I have to play, I know I'm a good quarterback, I know I am! I'll be like The Little Engine that Could! I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! And then he did, Internet! And he was blue, Internet, just like my jersey! It's totally meant to be!
I'm sorry I wasn't able to talk about baseball better, Internet. It's so hard sometimes, with all my pain and woe and pain and my SADNESS. Maybe next time! If there is a next time. I mean, if Jeffy stays healthy... which I totally hope he does... I mean, I don't want him to get hurt, not just when the guys are all seeming so happy... and when we got a win....
I mean he wouldn't have to break his ankle again, just kind of roll it... I mean, I don't want him to really be hurting, but if he could just have a little trouble getting around, so he can't play...
Oh my god! I didn't mean it! Please don't tell Mooch!
edit: Oh my god, Internet, this game is going into the 14th inning, and I'm so tired, and I just want to go to bed, and she won't let me, she just keeps poking me with the Lions car flag and it hurts, Internet! It has a really hard little plastic flag pole thing! This is what I meant about baseball, it just goes on and on and OH, I didn't say it, you must have heard something else. Please stop swearing at me, I don't even know what language that is! I'm sorry you have to stay up and read about the influence of French culture on Guadeloupan children, in French, I am, but can I please go to bed, please?
What do you mean, I have to stay up to tell you what's going on in the baseball game? Oh my god, it's men swinging a stick and there's a ball and it's little and I don't know anymore, please! I think there was just a... a double play? By a guy named 'Ensberg', on the pink team. Ensberg. It sounds like a tightend kind of name, doesn't it?
Wait, the announcer just said something about the time of this game and flying from Baltimore to Iceland. I'm confused! I didn't think they were in either Baltimore or Iceland... I thought they were somewhere in Texas? Maybe I was wrong. I have so much sadness and I want to go to bed.
edit again! Thank god, it's over! Now I can go to bed. Oh no no no, I mean, I wish the baseball could have gone on for ever and ever because it is so awesome. Ahllay voo uncoolay? I don't know what that means but oh my god please stop saying it so angry I might have to cry in my Oregon duckie pajamas. What do you mean I spelled it wrong? I don't know French!
Allez vous enculez. OK but I still don't know what it means!
Blogging is really hard, Internet, and baseball takes way too long! I need to get back on the field so so so badly. :(
Sunday, October 23, 2005
We've all done it. Gone to the official team website to check the official team news, browsed around to see someone's stats, giggled heartily at Kevin Youkilis' mugshot. Unlike NFL team sites, there appears to be a sort of template for MLB sites, which lends them all an air of sameness (and, unlike NFL sites, means that if you can navigate one, you know where to find stuff at the site of any other team. The NFL fails at this so hard). But if you troll around the sites of every team in the league, as I sometimes have occasion to do, you notice something. Something different on each site.
Now, not every team has a slogan up on their official website. I'd say about half the league has 'em up. And of course these are the official, team-sanctioned-and-presumably-ad-agency-thought-up slogans, not nonetheless popular team tshirts like 'Manny Being Manny'. But I couldn't help noticing them. And some of them, well, they really do make you wonder.
Let us take a stroll down the graphically turbulent waters of team branding here.
team: Los Angeles Angels of Cebus capucinus
slogan: The A Team!
notes: The 'A' in this slogan is the Angels A, with the pointy font and the halo 'round the top. Not a bad slogan, I guess. At least it makes sense, and it's a nice incorporation of their team logo, although the white rounded typewriter-ish font for 'the' and 'team' is a bit jarring. Leaves itself open to all kinds of unfortunate 'A-hole' jokes, though, especially with Bartolo Colon heading up the pitching rotation.
team: Houston Astros
slogan: It's On!
notes: I guess this is supposed to be some sort of rallying cry or whatever, but I have trouble with it. It's on? What's on? The tea kettle? The TV? Is it on and tuned to Astros baseball? Are the stadium lights on? Does Biggio have his pine tar on? Does Lidge have his cyborg arm turned on? What is on?? It.
team: Oakland Athletics
slogan: A Different Brand of Baseball
notes: While I appreciate the efforts of the Oakland organization to market themselves as a totally different type of team as much as the next fan of Moneyball, there comes a point at which we must step back and really look at the matter. I know you like to be different, Oakland. I know it makes you feel good. You're like the goth kid of the major leagues, if goth kids wore green and gold instead of black and purple. Heck, maybe in Oakland they do. But just like that goth kid is still just another high schooler in reality, no matter how much Oakland tries to tell its fans otherwise, it is still a bloody baseball team. I appreciate your Futura-like font and your clean graphic rejection of the cheesily photoshopped ballplayers that grace most everyone else's banners, Oakland, but other teams out there emphasize pitching and on base percentage now, other teams are young now, other teams have smart managers who write 'I <3 stats' all over their geeky notebooks, you are really not that different.
team: St. Louis Cardinals
slogan: Millions of Memories/Busch Stadium: the Final Season
notes: I'll admit it, I rather like the 'Millions of Memories' writing underneath the arches of the stadium in red and white. I think it makes a nice image. And it's a timely slogan, one that probably made Cards fans and Larry Walker visiting the site all season long feel tearful and sniffly. The fact that they felt the need to go with two slogans instead of the customary one is a bit... well, it's a bit much, but we'll let it slide, because they probably just felt that down about gleefully blowing their old stadium to smithereens after their season ends.
team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
slogan: Rebuilding the Dream
notes: I couldn't believe it when I saw this. I could not. Believe it. I know they had a different slogan all throughout the season, although I'll be buggered if I can remember it now. Something along the lines of 'Young Rays! Come watch us! Please!' no doubt. But this. Good lord. HOW LONG HAVE THE DEVIL RAYS BEEN 'REBUILDING' NOW? I thought it was a joke at first, but then I came back a day later and it was still up. They actually have an article up explaining the madness, which I guess speaks for itself, but are you guys serious? Haven't you been rebuilding for the past eleventy-tween seasons already? How much more do you have to do? Isn't it just paint touch-ups at this point? Bloody hell. This season isn't even over yet, and I'm already willing to say that the DRays are screwed for next year.
team: Arizona Diamondbacks
slogan: The G Force (Gonzalez//Glaus//Green)
notes: I think this is one of my favorites, for sheer ridiculousness. For one thing, basing your team slogan on specific players is always a bad idea... what if they have a down year? How stupid do you look then? As for Gonzalez, Glaus, and Green, I can't pretend to have been watching the Dbacks all year long, so I can't really tell you how they looked, but I can tell you that while all 3 of them hit over 20 homeruns over the course of the season, not a one of them batted anywhere near .300, none of them had an on-base percentage of over .370, and none of them slugged over .525. Which isn't terrible, I guess, but you really want that as the shiny pinnacle of Diamondbackdom? Also note the giant silvery G, and all the G-spot jokes you can ever imagine. The advertising agency that came up with this one really deserves some sort of prize.
team: Los Angeles Dodgers
slogan: Think Blue
notes: OK. I'm thinking blue. I'm thinking... Detroit Lions. I'm thinking... University of Michigan (Go Blue!). I'm thinking... Kansas City Royals. Two of those three teams are not ones you would be proud to be associated with. Nice clean idea, Dodgers, but with something that nonspecific you've got to accept the fact that for a vast majority of the world's population of baseball fans, 'blue' does not automatically equal 'Yhency Brazoban'.
team: San Francisco Giants
slogan: Your SF Giants
notes: That's it? That's all you've got? OK, so the 'SF' is in your overlapping orange logo font while 'your' and 'giants' are in a normal thin blocky font, but... where is the content, SF? Why even bother having a slogan at all if that's all you're going to do with it? It neither adds nor takes away from your site. It is a complete neutral waste of space. You might have been better served just putting up a nice photo of your ballpark in that space, with the water and everything, instead of this cardboard slogan and those amorphous baseballs.
team: Seattle Mariners
slogan: What a Show!
notes: I'm not sure why I can't pull this image separate, so I'm just linking you to their roster page... which, curiously, is where you have to go to find it, because it's not on their main page. A hidden slogan? A former slogan they got lazy about and never bothered to remove from any page besides the front one? Anyways, the 'S' in 'Show' has got the Mariner compass in the middle of it. It's selling their team as a spectacle, which is fine. I'm just confused as to why this slogan shows up on all their branch pages but not their main one.
team: Florida Marlins
slogan: Get Hooked
notes: Yes. Yes, this one I sincerely approve of. They could go way overboard with the teal if they wanted, but they keep it in check. Nice white Pop Warner-ish font, sporty and clean. Good incorporation of the text into the images. And, shockingly, I actually like the slogan. Why? It's short and catchy, it's something that enthusiastic ad personnel can shout in a hearty manner, and it's clever. Get Hooked, because the team's mascot is a fish, and they want you to get hooked on Marlins baseball, and it actually works.
team: San Diego Padres
slogan: Play Downtown
notes: Maybe it's because I'm not from San Diego, but I just don't get it. The glow-y font is neat, it calls to mind city lights, which works with the slogan, but... but... play downtown? Don't most major league teams play downtown? I mean, Fenway's in downtown Boston. Comerica's in downtown Detroit. Isn't playing downtown the norm? There was nothing else exciting to say about the Padres, except that they actually did, in fact, play in San Diego? They could've had their slogan be something like 'Dave Roberts Plays Here', and that would've been infinitely more exciting. They could've even used a nice font with speed lines along one side or something to keep it pertinent.
team: Colorado Rockies
notes: This is almost, almost as fantastic as 'The G Force'. It only loses out because it doesn't actually name specific players. The giant 'R' here has a little glimpse of their purple Rocky Mountains graphic in the hole, which I suppose is kind of cool in and of itself, but the whole package, ah. The rest of the font is a kind of psuedo-techincal futuristic... thing. I assume it's all supposed to be some sort of 'we're young and exciting!' deal, but of the guys on their roster right now, only 6 out of 31 are 25 or under. That's not really an enormous youth movement. GenRation. It sounds like a bad spinoff Marvel comic book series. Which, now that I think about it, could probably actually describe the Rockies, so maybe it's more clever than I give them credit for.
team: Minnesota Twins
slogan: TWINS Territory
notes: Man, look at that spattering. That's so bad-ass. These Twins, man, they're not just a bunch of small-balling dome-dwelling Minnesotan and Canadian-influenced kids. No way. They're wicked hardcore. I really want the 'territory' thing to be some kind of subtle reference to the fact that their mascot is a bear, and bears have territories, because that would actually be kind of cool, but I have my doubts as to whether or not that was intentional.
team: Chicago White Sox
slogan: Win. Or die trying.
notes: Um. Um. Er.... now now, boys. Let's not forget ourselves here. These are the Chicago White Sox, not the Chinese National Olympic Team. There's no need to be talking of dying... although can't you totally see Ozzie telling this to his players all season long? "If you do not win, you will be made dead. DEAD. And your families, they will be getting your head, YOUR HEAD SEVERED, and in the bed with them, you understand? Win. WIN, OR DIE TRYING."
Teams that are, alas, logo-free so far as I can tell: Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees.
Although at least two of those (the Mets and the Pirates), I am pretty sure, had slogans during the season that they've since taken down. I know the Pirates did, because it was some completely inexplicable yellow box form with the words 'Come Hungry!' on it, and this confused me to no end. I don't know what the Mets had, but I feel so certain that they had one.
I'm not really sure what the point of this whole thing was, other than awakening people to the silly, silly things that teams put on their websites. The more cynically critical people with an eye for graphic design we can get out there, the happier the world will be. I hope you are all enlightened now.
May The G Force be with you.
Forward down the field!
A charging team that will not yield!
When the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the brave!
RAH! RAH! RAH!
Go hard, win the game!
With honor you will keep your fame!
Down the field and gain
A Lions Victory!
That kind of defense makes the baby lion cubs happy. Although injuries to Big Baby are not, repeat, incredibly NOT cool. Nor are injuries to Dre Bly. Nor are injuries to, y'know, the entire receiving corps.
And the... the quarterback was. Hrgck. He played pretty well. He was mobile, he had a few plays where, ah, other quarterbacks would have taken a sack or thrown the ball away, but he ran out and found a receiver against seemingly all odds. He. Well. He ran for a touchdown, which we haven't seen in cat-knows how long. He got the O-line all psyched up and huggy and suchlike.
I am still not happy about this.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
This temporary cessation of blogging was brought to you by: Midterms! Although in my defense I did at least get a post up over at Roar of the Tigers, not that any of you actually read that, because you're a pack of dirty hippies who don't care about the Tigers.
So. Sorry kids, it's been, shall we say, rough. And I can't kid myself into thinking it's over yet either... the tests are done, but I still have a paper (in french) to finish tonight, and there's a shit ton* of clay sitting on North Campus, hopefully bisque fired already, taunting me with its need to be glazed. And whatever we're supposed to have got done for wood; I don't, now that I think about it, actually know. Hm.
What can I say that hasn't already been said, anyways? AJ Pierzynski is a Jerky McJerkface, a regular Jerkenstein if you will, and Albert Pujols is a scary scary man with a silly silly name.
For lack of anything more pertinent to post, have some photos I cranked out for an assignment. They're baseball-related, so I figure they ought to keep you at least somewhat satiated. Click for big, yadda yadda, etc., and you really should click for big, cause the TEXTURE, kids, that's the point in some of 'em. No apologies for excruciating artsiness-- it was, after all, homework.
There's more, of course, but those are the ones I feel like posting. And then there are these three, which were taken at the same time but didn't get turned in, because I was messing around and still deciding exactly what the set should be. I include them for the sheer, unadultered hell of it.
The last one cracks me up for some reason. I'm using it as a desktop image right now.
So, anyways, I'll return to your regularly scheduled blogging sometime very soon. Hopefully tomorrow or Friday. I've got a nice little sarcastic look at team slogans planned, so get your anticipation hats on.
*An actual metric unit, the shit ton. Variously defined as 'the number of homeruns Andruw Jones hit this year', 'the number of donuts David Wells eats in a month', or 'a honking lot of clay'.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I'm not really even sure where to start with this.
Probably the beginning is as good a place as any.
Before the game started, I was leaning on the railing of the ramp leading up to my section gate, waiting for my friend Rachel to use to bathrooms one section over. I had my giant camera out*, idly scanning the crowd and photographing people who looked interesting. This fellow had on a tshirt which utterly confused me. "Roll up your pant legs, this is JoePa's house"? What does that mean? My interpretation is that Paterno is so old and infirm that he piddles all over the floor, and you've got to roll up your pant legs or else they'll drag in it, but that can't be the intended interpretation. I mean, it can't, right?
There were a lot of Penn State fans at the game, maybe the biggest out-of-town crowd we've had for a game so far (I'd say only Notre Dame might have given them a run for their money). There were a lot of college kids with painted faces and goofy hats who were getting into loud and obscene chanting matches with the Michigan crowd, of course, but there were also a surprising lot of older people wearing more sedate PSU gear, including several families I saw with small children.
Now, why would you do that to your kid? Even if Penn State wins, do you really want to deck your child out in navy and white and drag them into the Big House to be berated viciously by the drunken frat boys who are so far gone that they're only recognizing colors by halftime, and to whom your tow-headed little 6 year old is deserving of exactly the same kind of vitriolic scorn as their drunken frat PSU counterparts? Because that's what's gonna happen. And I'm not just talking about PSU families in the stadium in general... perhaps those sitting on the east side of the stadium had it easier. I'm talking about families whom I saw going into, and who therefore must have been sitting in, the student section. That's got to be a good easy way to traumatize your child in one productive afternoon.
Of course I'm not saying the atmosphere at the Big House is anything like the supremely un-family-friendly atmosphere at, say, Yost Ice Arena (some of the chants from Michigan hockey games are almost literally unprintable), but it can't have been the most comfortable experience ever for those PSU kids. And many thousands of Michigan students chopping their arms downwards in synch, hands clenched like wolverine claws, chanting, "You suck, you suck, you SUCK!" on every PSU fourth down must be a relatively terrifying sight for a small child.
In short: Penn State parents are dumb.
The Maize Out seemed to be a moderate success. It seemed like more people than usual were wearing yellow (your irritable blogger representing in a hugeass yellow sweatshirt, which seemed like a slightly dumb idea while walking down to the stadium in the mild weather, but which seemed like a stroke of genius by the end), and of course the pom poms helped.
The student section looked pretty yellow, and the rest of the stadium was a mixed bag like usual, although I did think they looked marginally more yellow than usual. There was a block of pretty solid maize in the endzone opposite to us, although it was unfortunately located directly next to a great big white cataract of PSU fans.
Spirit was much, much higher than I had been expecting. The place was mobbed so thoroughly that we lost our seats after leaving for a short while to try and get in touch with some other friends (fear not; we ended up one section over, at approximately the same height we usually sit [stand] at anyways). Considering the fact that this is our fall break, and that lots of kids have left to go home, it was shocking to see the Big House that full, even for a pretty big game like this. The crowd was loud too, very loud, to the point where there were several false start penalties called against Penn State that you just know were at least partly due to the PSU players' inability to hear play calls over the roar of the Big House.
A sure sign of how into the game the crowd was: sometime in the third quarter, the wave got started. It went around twice before dying the death of a wave in a stadium where everyone is actually more concerned with paying attention to the game than with the many permutations of wave we usually go through at a Michigan game (normal, slowed down, speeded up, two at once, etc). I don't think I'd ever seen a wave start up and then just die like that. Even at the Michigan State game last year, we went through all the wave acts.
This game was so close, though, the whole way through, and everyone was so very aware of Penn State's undefeated status, and Michigan's desperate need to save face, and the fact that there were rather a lot of PSU fans in our midst.
We played like crap for a lot of the game. Robinson, their quarterback, can move when he needs to, and when he set off running we had some trouble holding onto him. Bit of an understatement, that. We had some trouble holding onto him in much the same way that a man with no hands has trouble holding onto a heavily greased rattlesnake. We kept letting them get away with ugly mistakes too... I can think of at least two plays where the ball was dropped and then picked up for a sizable gain, which must be the single most frustrating defensive play I can imagine off the top of my head.
Chad Henne had what is rapidly becoming his usual number of air-mail lobs to the sidelines, causing one of the guys behind us to start chanting to himself, "I hate you Henne, I hate you Henne, I hate you Henne," over and over again, softly, for a good solid 5 minutes. Which, you know, got kind of worrying after a bit.
I don't remember many specifics about that complete breakdown near the end of the game, where PSU drove down and scored a touchdown, then had that miffed play that ended up being a two-point conversion. You'll have to excuse me, I wasn't in a good place just then, by which I mean that Rachel and I were hanging onto each other and gibbering helplessly while Dante gazed beseechingly at the heavens and one of the girls next to us violently shredded her pom pom.
A guy behind us (not the "I hate you Henne" kid) kept saying things like, "2:28 is a lifetime," when that amount was left on the clock.
He then amended it to, "1:15 is a lifetime."
(why would you kick it to Steve Breaston? I don't know. It doesn't make much sense, but thank god they did, because that kick return was a thing of moderate beauty)
Then, "Don't worry, guys! 38 seconds is a lifetime!"
(get out of bounds get out of bounds get out of bounds)
"One second is a lifetime!" Mostly sarcastic, incredibly nervous.
I'm not sure this sensation can be properly described. Maybe you had to be there. But the entire stadium, all 111,249 people in there, was terrified. Absolutely fucking terrified. The score was 25-21, PSU leading-- it was touchdown or bust, because a field goal wouldn't do diddly-squat. Michigan had been 'driving' up the field with a series of infuriating little dump passes. There was time for exactly one play left in the game, with one second remaining on the clock.
Henne dropped back, the second ticked off the clock, and with everything showing zeroes he looked left, looked right, and nailed Mario Manningham in the endzone.
The stadium, as you might imagine, erupted.
I don't think any of us actually believed that Henne, confused, not-seeing-his-own-open-receivers, throwing-the-ball-away-rather-a-lot Henne, had any chance of making that touchdown. I think we were all steeling ourselves for another crushingly disappointing Michigan home loss, resigning ourselves to the chilly trudge home in the dark, heads down, doggedly ignoring the PSU fans who would doubtlessly be lining the route back to Central Campus in blue-and-white glory.
My friend Mike later ranked this game as number 2 on the all-time list of Awesome Games He's Seen in Person at the Big House, right above the OSU game our freshman year where we stormed the field, and right under last year's MSU triple-overtime masterpiece. I'm not entirely sure about that, since we did play like something a wolverine would excrete after having eaten a particularly disagreeable vole for much of the game.
But that ending may have made it entirely worth the ranking.
PS: Mike Hart is a goddamn stud and he can make something out of nothing and I love him a lot and there were many, many Mike Hart mancrushes born during this game, if they weren't already in full bloom.
Photos from the game can be seen here. I think this is one of the better Michigan game photo galleries so far... I feel like there's a much better mix of scenery shots, and shots of people in the crowd, and shots of football players that no one will be interested in except for me and maybe Brian.
Best insults of the game:
"It's a cougar! It's a goddamn cougar! Why you got to call it a Nittany Lion!" (by the by, he was right. The Nittany Lion is another name for a mountain lion, or cougar, or panther, or whatever you prefer to call it)
"You're gettin' beaten by a team that's 3-and-3!" (the self-deprecating Michigan fans. I heard this one a lot)
"You can't even do blue right! Your color is fucked up navy!" (this was after the crowd had been chanting "Go Blue!", prompting a PSU fan to indicate his blue PSU jersey and say, "Yeeeeahh! Go blue is right!")
and my personal favorite, to Michael Robinson, their quarterback.
"Robinson, you filthy goddamn pirate hooker!" (I don't understand it either)
I love this shot of Mike Hart stretching to try to reach the endzone. Mike Hart. Love.
Me, Rachel, Dante. Thanks for the nice shot, dude sitting behind us.
Moon rising over the east wall of the stadium.
*I am not sure I can thank my parents enough for this camera. Like, ever. My parents love me and I am a lucky person. Also, I got a package from home a few days ago, containing food and newspapers and things, you know, the usual fare. Folded up at the bottom? Was a jacket.
A Red Sox jacket.
I have the best parents ever.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Fantastic thing happened today.
Let me first state that I was, as usual, wearing my beat-up Red Sox hat. I also had on a Red Sox baseball shirt today, you know, all gray with green sleeves and whatnot. So I was pretty visibly Soxed out, as it were.
After wood (I can't... do... frikking... inlays!) I came out of the art building, irritated and bitter with life, which is my usual state of mind around that time of day. A bus pulled up to the busstop, across the street and down a ways, right when I stepped out the door. Cue quiet swearing and a desparate charge down the road.
Of course, the bus closes the doors and pulls away as soon as I pull up sharply at the busstop.
Only, it went a few feet, then stopped.
And opened the doors.
Hardly believing my luck, I raced up and into the bus, along with a few other grateful stragglers. The bus driver was a guy who couldn't have been much older than me-- I'd say 25 at the oldest. As I hauled my sawdust-covered self and handfuls of poorly carved cherry wood bits into a seat, he turned around and peered into the back of the bus until he spotted me.
"Hadda stop!" he yelled back cheerfully. "I saw the Sox stuff in my mirrors!"
Well, hell, if that wasn't the warm-fuzziest moment of the day, I don't know what was. Better even than finally getting to eat (chinese food) in the middle of class at night, as soon as the sun went down.*
I also got asked by 2 professors and 5 art students about the Pierzynski play last night. I'm like the baseball guru of the art school, it is simultaneously sad and hilarious. For the record: he was so very out. Even with the extra-slow-mo-close-up replays the umps are showing around to strengthen their case, I don't think the ball bounced in. Regardless, the way that play was signaled, it ought to have been an out.
Someone, I think it was Roger Clemens, pointed out that it was a pretty hard-thrown fastball, so if it had hit the dirt it would've had a pretty big scuff on it, if anyone had bothered to check, but I'll bet they didn't.
Maybe I'm biased anyways, because I hate AJ Pierzynski for being a jerk behind the plate (he'll holler at hitters while they're batting), a jerk in the clubhouse (the infamous 'blowing off Tomko's desire to study hitters so he could play cards' incident), and something less than a smooth character off the field. But I don't think so. Even if it had been a catcher I'm neutral about like, I dunno, a Molina (take your pick), I would've seen the play the same way.
Speaking of the Molinas! On Wednesday, all three of them were playing at once: Yadier catching for St. Louis, Jose catching and Bengie DHing for the Rally Monkeys. Mama and Papa Molina must've been fairly bursting with pride. Horrible call by the schedulers, though, to have both the ALCS and NLCS games on the same day, at the same time. I ended up watching most of the start of the NLCS, then switching over to the end of the ALCS, but what if both games had been terrifically close? Uncool, MLB.
I'm still not sure what to say about the Red Sox. Things have been so busy, and when they haven't been busy everyone's been talking Michigan football, so I'm still sort of digesting the end of the season. I'm sure I'll post about it soon enough. Right now all I can wrap my brain around is the fact that we need, need to keep Theo, no matter what it takes. Kidnap Lucchino and duct tape him to the inside of David Ortiz's closet, I don't care. Keep Theo.
Oh, and an IMPORTANT NOTE for you Michigan Wolverines fans out there who, like me, will go to the rest of this season's home games anyways, because we may no longer actually have a season, but by god, it's Michigan football still.
This Saturday, the U of M athletic department is instituting a Maize Out. This is very simple. Wear yellow. If you've got a yellow jacket, wear it. If you've got a yellow sweatshirt, wear it. If you haven't got those things, wear a yellow tshirt with a longsleeve shirt under it, and if you're a Michigan fan who hasn't got a yellow tshirt you, my friend, have some serious issues. This is not just for students, although I'm sure the email I got about it went around only to student season ticket holders... they mentioned that they want EVERYONE to participate.
So, for the sake of team spirit, and looking cool on TV, and making Joe Paterno think his eyes have gone hooey, break out your Maize finery for Saturday afternoon. Please. It'll give me something to photograph other than the pathetic product on the field.
*Yes, mom, I did fast. Don't worry though, I made my buddy Tim do the bandsaw cutting I needed to do in wood, so I wouldn't fall over and take my nose off on the blade or something. And don't I just love a schedule that requires me to be in class from 7-10 at night? Yes. I surely do. *twitch*
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Q: What's red and white and wears a diaper?
A: A-Rod's worst nightmare.
0-4, with a double play ball in the 9th to nearly end it. There's a special kind of joy that comes from seeing America's Greatest Ballplayer do such things. Now the rangy-limbed rally monkey can join Bronson Arroyo in the hauntings of his dreams.
As of right now, I'm rooting Angels and Astros. We shall see what we shall see. At least I won't be furious about whoever wins the Series, whatever happens.
Monday, October 10, 2005
That AJ Pierzynski. What a class act, huh? I could get into the whole "wouldn't expect anything less from a Southsider" snark, but I'd just start to scare myself by sounding like a Cubs fan. Just thought I'd make sure we're all quite aware of what we lost the series to.
What a weekend this was. The rally in Lansing (photos here if anyone's interested), the Sox elimination, the sad and pathetic excuse for football that was the Michigan/Minnesota game (photos here, and then, today, the Lions game. My goodness, the Lions game. But I ought to address these in order.
So, for the Red Sox, bye bye 2005, you were fun while you lasted, except when you weren't and you made me want to rip my eyeballs out of my head and swing them about by the dangly ropy optic nerves that would have come out the back. 2005, on the whole, was a pretty good year... I mean, I got out to a lot of games, so that's certainly something. Matt Clement was great up until the very end, Tony G was a pleasant surprise up until the very end. Manny and Papi were something that had to be seen to be believed. Billy Mueller didn't bust a knee, despite the fact that I was so worried, at the start of the year, that he would. Trot Nixon went ballistic and tried to "give some information" to the opposing team; the sort of information that led to his physical restraint by Blaine 'Sign of Surrender' Neal and John 'Eyebrows of Doom' Halama (remember them?). Jon(athan) Papelbon emerged as the new moon-faced hick-voiced absolutely-huggable darling of the pitching staff.
Stuff like Johnny being the best hitter in baseball for a while and Papi hitting walkoff homeruns kept happening. Edgar fed Ortiz applesauce in the dugout. Matt Mantei was marginally effective for a couple of games.
And hey, we made it to the playoffs.
So, yes, on the whole, a good season. But am I happy about it? Gracious me, no. And indeed, why should I be? The team that I love got swept in the ALDS like they'd just had a grenade blown up in their faces, and they were still stunned, picking bits of shrapnel out of their scalps and hearing nothing but ringing in their ears, while the games just whisked along past them. The grenade being that last regular season series against the Yankees, of course.
The White Sox? I have all kinds of respect for what they did. I think Ozzie Guillen is hilarious and awesome, if insane. But I'm sorry, I don't like them. I saw them beat up on my poor kitties one too many times this season, and their ballpark sucks, and I find pinstripes nauseating. If the Angels win their series I'm going to root for the monkey, that's all there is to it.
I still can't quite believe that we got swept. To be sure, my brain is cordoning off some of it, because of that whole 'not sleeping for a week' thing I've got going on, but the bit that's seeped through is some pleasant combination of dismay, disbelief, and disgust, to be alliterative about it. I know full well that with our crumbly coffeecake topping of a pitching rotation, we probably would not have gotten all that far anyways. But we couldn't scrape just one win? Not even one?
Nothing you can do, though, not now. Nothing except sit back and freak out about free agents and who's going to play center field for us next year and what pitchers we're going to pick up and Theo Epstein's contract, I mean. After all, we're Red Sox fans. We may become wildly depressed over the end of this season, or we may shrug and look back to '04, but we all start getting ourselves worked up over next season as early as right now.
As for Michigan?
Watching Laurence Maroney plant the Minnesota flag in the middle of the Michigan M at midfield is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. But I can't even get too infuriated about it, because they had every right to do so. We played like shit. We played like we deserved to have that design disaster of gold and maroon planted violently on our M.
Everyone's been saying that Chad Henne is in a sophomore slump. I really, really hope that this is true, and that it's a sophomore slump we're suffering from here, as opposed to a freshman fluke.
Big 10 championship hopes were hanging by a slender thread before. They're officially gone now. With 3 losses on the season, our role from now on is just playing spoiler to everyone else.
Choice quotes from the furious fans behind us at the game:
"Hey, Gophers! Hey Gophers! Go eat some more weeds!" (note: as the gopher's diet does consist of a wide variety of vegetation, this chant was surprsingly accurate)
"Gophers! Get outta here! GO BURROW!"
"Garret Rivas: YOU'RE FAT! YOU'RE FAT! YOU'RE FAT!"
As for the Lions, well...
Forward down the field!
A charging team that will not yield!
When the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the Brave!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Go hard, win the game!
With honor you will keep your fame.
Down the field and gain
A Lions victory!
It's getting late and I really ought to conk out, but let me just mention that I have never seen a team play so dirty in my life. Two players ejected, second-most yards on penalties in the NFL, ever. The way the receivers were (not)catching the ball, and the way the Ravens were running the ball, we might very well have lost this game if not for the sheer determination on the part of the blackbirds to shoot themselves in the cleat.
I would also like to state that despite the fact that he threw for under 100 yards on the day, I still have a shred of confidence in Joey Harrington. I am dead certain that it was not helpful for him to see Marcus Pollard get the ball thrown right at him, only to watch Marcus see Ray Lewis bearing down on him, squeal, and curl his hands away from the ball, plain as day saying, "OMG lookit lookit I'm not touching it I'm not touching it please don't hurt me Mr. Lewis sir!" Yeah. That'll do wonders for your quarterback. Plus Roy was out with a hyperextended sore wibbledy whatever, and Charles Rogers is suspended for being a Michigan State grad.
Whatever, we won. Consolation for the referreeing disaster of last week, I reckon.
So I hope that everyone's alright, Sox and Wolverines fans alike. The window looks pretty, but there's no sense in jumping out of it. There's always next year! And, for sad Wolverines fans, more of this disaster of a year. Huzzah!
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I would probably be more upset about this if I wasn't so bloody overloaded right now. Two midterms before I even had a meal today, then off to furiously chisel at cherry wood for three hours, then a guest artist lecture, then back up North to pick up posters for the rally tomorrow which everyone in Michigan should clearly go to. Noon. Capitol building. Lansing. Be there.
All this on 3 hours of sleep, mind you. 9 over the last 3 days.
Honestly, what sort of major public university has midterms right now anyways? It's cruel, is what it is. It's in the midst of Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur season, it's in the middle of Ramadan, and it's right when playoffs start. So that's three major religions you've gone and stomped all over right there.
So, yeah, I am dead certain that I would be freaking out more if I was actually running on anything other than caffeine and grim determination right now. Poor Tony G. You can't give the ChiSux an extra out like that, not in a relatively close game. Not in the postseason. What can you say, though? Wells shouldn't have let those guys get on base, and he shouldn't have floated that ball to Iguchi. Edgar shouldn't have grounded out to end the game (he's got a real knack, huh?).
It was very confusing having Bill Mueller up to bat with Bill Miller behind the plate. It was also annoying having Boomer on the mound and Boomer in the announcer's booth. The second I strongly dislike for baseball games, by the by. He's annoying for football too, but I tend to think his overbearing, blustery manner is better suited for it. Mike Piazza was surprisingly tolerable, though he was no Al Leiter.
Time for wood. If I need to use the bandsaw or the radial armsaw I'm just going to flat-out refuse, if I try to use power machinery on this little sleep I'm liable to lose more than my ability to flip out properly over the Sox. Last time I was in the studio I left a little bit early to get back to a TV in time for the first game of the series. My professor told me to "enjoy the game" I really hope he doesn't ask how they're doing.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Well, I didn't want to have to break this out again so soon, but apparently I must.
THINK OF THE KITTENS, RED SOX. Please! Think of the kittens!
Matty, kiddo, I am well aware that there is such a thing as 'effectively wild'. That, however, was not effectively wild. It was wild, yes, very, but the effective bit, not so much. Contreras, sadly, was pretty much what I had feared, after having watched him methodically dismantle the Tigers mere days ago.
It was lovely watching Varitek throw out Podsednik at second... the pitch was high, so 'Tek just sort of stood up into it and had the ball winging its way to second base almost as soon as he had caught it. After that it was the Podsednik Show out there though, so alas for small moments of glory. And here I had been thinking I would be upset about having to duck out at 6:30 and miss most of the end of the game.
Beth called as I was getting onto the bus to North Campus... I think she was calling around to either gauge everyone's reactions to the game, or just to make sure that none of her Sox fan friends had actually hurled themselves out of the windows yet. We chatted morosely for a few minutes before I returned to the terribly important task of glaring out the window and trying to not think about Clement dancing away from a baseball cracking him in the leg.
The girl sitting next to me, whom I hadn't even really noticed, made a timid gesture and asked if I knew the score. It had been 12-2 when I left, and I relayed this news, still glaring at the traffic surrounding the bus. The girl made a little noise of disgust, and, sort of hopelessly, asked if Clement was still in the game, or if he wasn't, who was pitching. I had the sad task of telling her that Clement had not lasted past the 4th, that Bradford had come on, and last I had seen it was Jeremi Gonzalez, and upon hearing this she merely sighed deeply and we both spent the remainder of the trip staring out the windows broodingly.
It wasn't until I was getting off the bus that I noticed that her hat, which was white and on backwards and which I hadn't really given a second glance, had a blue Boston B on it.
Red Sox fans: our pain is legion.
Of course the class I was going to has a Yankee fan in it. Smug bastard.
And of course Bartolo Colon couldn't get anything much done against the Yankees. I mean, of course. Why would he be good at all now, of all ridiculous times?
Oh, and perhaps you've heard, but good ol' Charles Rogers did NOT break his collarbone for the third straight year in the row. Unaccustomed to this much playing time, he had to find some other way to shoehorn himself out of games.
Rogers suspended for 4 games.
He violated the NFL's drug policy. Not steroids, mind you, 'street drugs', which probably means marijuana. And the fact that he's been suspended means that he's tested positive three times before this one, which I think legitimately constitutes a serious problem. Way to go, Charlie. I'm a little bit disgusted with him but, after all, he's a Michigan State grad. We shouldn't expect anything other than this.
And a few random bits:
Well, we never thought the Padres were going to make much of a run of it anyhow. Now they've gone and lost Jake Peavy. The whoosing sound you're hearing is the Padres' postseason hopes swirling down the toilet. Apparently he broke his rib in the postgame celebrations when they clinched the division... that big scrum where the players all jump on each other on the field? Yeah. Broke their star pitcher. I will now watch every single such Red Sox celebration until the end of time with a crazed fear in my heart.
Man, it was not a good season for Carlos Almanzar. First his mother dies back home in the Dominican. Upon hearing the news, his brother commits suicide. The Rangers granted him two back-to-back bereavement leaves, which was unprecedented, but probably well-warranted. Then the guy gets back and his elbow, it turns out, is shot to hell, and he ends up having Tommy John surgery and missing the rest of the season. Now, at the very end of it all, he's been suspended 10 days for violating the steroid policy. I guess it goes into effect at the start of next season. He's not contesting it. With the fact that he's a pitcher and his injury and subsequent surgery, this is almost certainly a 'it'll help me heal faster' sort of steroid consumption.
There isn't really a moral to the story, except that it really sucked to be Carlos Almanzar this season.
I love when the MLB websites let the players write (or dictate) their own little columns in the postseason. So of course I'm even happier to see that they're compiling them all on a blog this postseason, as they happen. Kevin Millar already has one up from a bit ago, it's quite boring, but I love this kinda crap.
Alan Trammell: gone. Tigers players: upset (now, sure. Before he was fired only Brandon Inge was saying anything). Jim Leyland: hired. My head hasn't really stopped spinning yet.
Of course we were going to get a Dmitri Young quote out of this.
"It's unfortunate, because he's a Tigers legend," Young said, "and the same people that revere his jersey growing up are talking mad trash. It was ridiculous. We do badly as a team. People who were yelling bad things to Tram weren't yelling bad things to him during the '84 World Series, were they?"
Talking mad trash. Just let that one sink in.
And how creepy is it that the only thing in all these articles about Kirk Gibson's reaction to Tram's dismissal was one single sentence at the end of this Detroit News article...
"I'm sorry they lost confidence in us," Kirk Gibson said, before heading up north to harvest some crops on his ranch.
That was it. No preamble, no follow-up. Just that one stand-alone sentence. I'm pretty sure it means he's going to go up north to rip the heads off of live bunny rabbits and smear the blood all over his face while screaming, "ARE YOU READY FOR THE GIBBY LEEEYYYYLLLAAAANNNDDD!" into the cold northern air.
Bye, Tram. I never did think this season was your fault and I'm sorry to see you go. Best of luck wherever you may end up, unless it's the Yankees, in which case, dude, no.
Because I'll never get to sleep if I end on such a down note, I would like to present to you, the reader, a fun interview with Zach Duke, Pittsburgh pitcher whom I covet. He used to show sheep in state fairs, you guys. He used to show sheep.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Wildcard? I'll take it.
I love how, as soon as they took the '9' out of the inning slot on the Monster, Fenway went nuts. In so many other parks the crowd wouldn't even realize what that meant, but in Boston, the cheering was so loud that the batter coming up into the box (I think it was John Olerud) stepped back, cocked his head, then peered out at the out-of-town scoreboard before smiling a bit and stepping up to settle into his stance.
It was fun to get all the rookies out there, for both sides, especially as most of them won't make the postseason roster, and it was amusing to see so many pitchers get used from the bullpens, as though it was an All Star game and the managers wanted to make sure everyone got playing time.
It was very, very good to see that Youks is in one piece, or at least so taped up as to be marginally functional. It was great to see Kapler, getting soaked with champagne in the clubhouse, even if he was on crutches and I wanted to scream at the team to not get too much champagne near him because it'll make that floor slippery, dammit, and you don't want him to fall over, do you? Cheez, watch it, kids.
Jon(athan) Papelbon, my goodness. The kid was going nuts. Like, seriously nuts. Like, no really, calm down a sec there, kiddo, it's just the wildcard. I guess probably all the rookies were going wild, but Papelbon was the one I saw on TV the most, excepting Hanley, who first poured champagne on Papelbon's head, then returned with a great big chunk of ice and tried to jam it down the back of his shirt, prompting Eric Frede (who was gamely attempting to interview Papelbon at the time) to step in and say, "Hey now, we can't have that!"
So, it's Sox fight time, pick your color, white or red. Despite all the Sportscenter blather about how much better it is to face the ChiSux than the Rally Monkeys, I'm concerned. We don't have to deal with the huge time difference, true (and thank heavens, my professors will now have me at least semi-conscious in class), but I fear the ChiSux pitching more than the Rally Monkey pitching. Bartolo Colon still has a bad back, after all. Although now that I think about it, Ervin Santana would probably pitch the crap out of us, so maybe it's all for the best.
Any way you slice it, we've prolonged the season by at least 3 games. That's a happy thing.
As for football...
I was going to pretend it didn't happen, but you know me, I watched most of the Lions game. Lord knows why, but I did.
There's not really much to say. I thought we were done with all those games where it looked like we had every opportunity to win and we didn't. Joey was looking downfield; there wasn't ever anyone open. Joey was throwing it downfield; Roy Williams was dropping it (as my dad said, some of the throws were a little tough, but a first-round pick makes that catch). The Lions were scoring touchdowns, and they were getting called back. Ridiculous.
I can't really root against Brian Griese, so good job to him, but really, screw the rest of you Bucs. If there had been a different official in the review booth, you would have lost this game. Congratulations, you won not because you shut down the Lions, or because you shut down Joey Harrington. You won on a technicality.
I didn't see the Pats game, and the Fins had a bye week, so that was that.
Rather than end on a down note, I'd like to remind you all that tonight (Monday night) is the first night of Rosh Hashana. Apples and honey for all! You can get your own damn apples, but for something sweet, have this:
Happy New Year!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Well, I feel OK.
I'm not entirely sure what this is. Is it the long-touted Red Sox Fan Mellowing, retroactive to the end of the 2004 season? Now, when it matters most, we let the Yankees take the division on our field, let them pop the champagne in our clubhouse (and we'll probably have to disinfect that room for WEEKS now before it's habitable again; the sheer levels of Yankeeness in there are horrific to contemplate. I envision some sort of terrible caked-up pinstriped goo on all the walls and little NY-patterened spots of mold lurking in the corners). And I shrug, snort a little at Joe Torre tearing up and sniffelling through his massive gourd of a proboscis, and change the channel.
No big deal. We'll just have to win tomorrow, is all.
Shouldn't I be flipping out? Shouldn't I be horrified, not that Wake's knuckler wasn't working (something that you just have to accept when you have a knuckleballing pitcher), but that he or Mirabelli thought it was a good idea to float a fastball in to Gary Sheffield? Shouldn't I be concerned about Billy striking out too much, and Edgar not hitting at all, and the umps making very dubious calls (c'mon, Matsui was dancing in the dandelions there). Shouldn't I be quailing in sheer horror at the thought of Mr. The Mind is Willing but the Body May Not Be Schilling tomorrow? Shouldn't I be absolutely incensed that we let the Yankees clinch the division after being down by a billion games earlier in the year, with HGHiambi and the parade of rookie/castoff pitchers at the helm?
Yeah, probably. So why am I so bloody calm? Is this really that final manifestation of the World Series Calm that we were supposed to all get? Am I really, finally, after a whole season of ripping my hair out over Edgar clonking himself on the head with a bat and the bullpen slowly imploding into a small ball of ineptitude, accepting the fact that possibly falling short this year is OK because we won it all last year?
Yeah, right. I mean, you people know me, I'm insane and bitter over everything. Things aren't gonna change now right at the end.
The reason everything seems OK right now?
This is why.
Also this, this, and this.
Cause I'm sorry kids but that's two years in a row now that we've taken MSU to overtime and that's two years in a row that we've won it... not just won it, but won it in such a fashion that their spirits are totally broken. That's two years in a row where no one thought we could win (last year because we were down by 17 with scant few minutes left in the 4th quarter, this year because we were coming in unranked and on the heels of a bad loss and our defense wouldn't be able to handle Drew Stanton) and we went right ahead and won anyhow and no one in Wolverine Country has any stomach lining left at all after the stress of this game, but it was worth it.
It was ever so very worth it.
Michigan/Michigan State is one of the greatest rivalries in sports. I'm actually very lucky, to have vested interests in so many of the greatest rivalries... Michigan/MSU, Michigan/Ohio State, Red Sox/Yankees, Tigers/bases on balls, Tom Brady/Peyton Manning, Lions/their own burning desire to screw up simple simple plays, Dolphins/Ricky Williams, Kyle Farnsworth/pitchers on the other team who piss him off.
There are certain things that make a rivalry great, things that Michigan/MSU so clearly highlights... There Is No Such Thing As a Lead. Not ever, not even when you think you've got an insurmountable number of points. Ratings and rankings don't matter when the game starts. Big guys will step up even bigger (hi Mike Hart, you saved me from a life of woe). Dramatic wins and catastrophic losses become the norm.
It applies to Michigan, it applies to the Red Sox.
So I'm happy because Michigan beat the hated Spartans, the drooling poltroons bearing the green and white standard, and we did it in their house, and we did it when all the pundits thought we hadn't got a chance. There's nothing better than beating your big rival, nothing at all.
And I'm not too upset about the Sox because we can still take the Wild Card, and postseason is postseason so long as you get there. And there's no such thing as a safe lead. Not ever. Not for anyone. Not in a big rivalry like this.
That said, we need to win tomorrow, or I'm stabbing an exacto knife through my eye.