Friday, January 30, 2004

Quiet Days in Clichy

Well, going into my fourth season of baseball blogging and now more than halfway through my third off season, I can say without a doubt that this is the slowest week for baseball news that I can recall. And I'm pretty sure today in particular is the worst, a real dumpster dive.

There's nothing. Not even a metaphorical crust of old bread I can run under the faucet for a little nourishment.

Oh, Caple has a piece at ESPN that asks "Do you care more about your favorite team than the players on its roster do?" Red Sox fans, of course, are featured, though you won't find any revelations.

Fans are connected to a team, to its name, to its uniform, to its tradition, to its history and to their own memories. … Players don't look at it that way (Caple).

It's all been said before.

DirtDogs is in slow motion, too. Pinto and Belth are so barren they are both leading with Frank McCourt buying the Dodgers. Yawn. Crap, it's so bad the blog titled "Only Baseball Matters" features recent posts not at all about baseball. (I told Perricone, the blog's author, in an email that I thought this signaled his "jumping the shark" moment. I don't think he thought that was too funny as I notice Bambino's Curse has been dropped from his link list.)

You know what I need, what we all need?

We need the little lame balloon man. Where is that goat footed whistler? Far and wee. Far and wee.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

A Chemical Equation

CH4 + 02 right arrow CO2 + H20

Most likely you've been following along with Curt Schilling's "Let's Talk Baseball, Real Baseball" thread cum Q&A over at SoSH or the excerpts at DirtDogs.

If so, you this may have caught your eye:

Sure over the course of a season there are certain players that have more of an impact than others, but when the recipe is finally put together, it's the sum of all the parts that makes the meal, not any one individual thing. Leave just one out, and it changes dramatically, same thing here (Schilling, SoSH).

Could it be that Curt Schilling is getting at that elusive notion known as chemistry? Why, yes, I do believe that's it.

Schilling's comments validate what I wrote on the subject a few weeks ago. Chemistry defined isn't the players getting along and playing golf with each other; no, it's the ingredients that make the recipe tasty or not to use Schilling's analogy.

chemical reactionMany readers rebuffed my own personal experiences with chemistry suggesting that when I've been on good "teams" (at the workplace which I argue is similar to a ball club's chemistry or lack of) with what I felt was good chemistry its all because each individual was the best of the best; however, I've never found that to be the case. Everyone needs to be competent, but need not be a superstar to make the team gel and make the work at hand enjoyable and of high quality. The same is true on a ball club.

Here's Schilling again with a perfect example from an actual baseball team of what I was trying to express:

… fast forward to 2000, and [Kevin Jordan's] struggling, big time. His PH appearances are starting to have much longer downtime in between than normal, and even when he centers a ball, it's an out. But, the entire time this is happening, I am watching him on the bench, in the clubhouse, working EVERY single day by talking to the young players, teaching them the routine for being good at his job. At the time it was him saying "do as I say, not as I do"

… There were games that he won for us that year without every being in the lineup, because one of the young guys had tried his approach, was ready for his AB's in a way he might not have been, and he produced. I know it to be true, because I watched it happen (Schilling, SoSH).

So there is a real world example of a guy, Kevin Jordan, who, while not even in the lineup, had a huge impact on the team. I'd put that in the chemical equation.

And to push Schillings ingredients in a recipe metaphor a bit further, I leave you with this passage from Laura Esquivel's superb novel Like Water for Chocalate:

The kitchen becomes a veritable reservoir of creative and magical events, in which the cook who possesses this talent becomes artist, healer, and lover. Culinary activity involves not just the combination of prescribed ingredients, but something personal and creative emanating from the cook, a magical quality which transforms the food and grants its powerful properties that go beyond physical satisfaction to provide spiritual nourishment as well (p. 60)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

This Charming Man

Well, you've got your run of the mill skeletons in the closet and then you've got these kinds of skeletons:

Indians minor leaguer Kazuhito Tadano is asking for forgiveness for what he called a one-time mistake -- his appearance in a gay porn video in which he engaged in a homosexual act.

Through an interpreter, Tadano added: "I'm not gay. I'd like to clear that fact up right now"(ESPN).

Think that kid is going to have an easy road ahead of him? Yikes.

I know I've got enough skeletons in my closet to prevent me from ever holding public office. Well, maybe I could be the dog catcher in some quaint NH town, population 30, tucked away in the White Mountains, but that's about it. And my skeletons are of the more typical, youthful indiscretion sort. As best as I can recall, no hot male on male video action will ever bubble up from my past. (Of course, this is where I should give you the famous line from Seinfeld. Though while there is nothing wrong with "it" in general, I can see how making a gay porn movie for money might cross into different moral territory for many people, ballplayers and fans alike.)

Yes, it's a slow day in baseball news. Could be worse. Spring is certainly coming. Today, in fact, marks the point in the season when we have 10 full hours of daylight. For many plants, that's the signal to reboot out of winter dormancy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Interesting …

The Sox gambled on a castoff from one of the worst pitching staffs in the majors, claiming righthander Reynaldo Garcia off waivers from the Rangers. Garcia, 29, has logged an 11.25 ERA with no decisions in 20 appearances for Texas since his big league debut in 2002 (Hohler, Globe).

What does Theo and Company see in this guy? Seabiscuit?

I enjoy the "rags to riches" storylines even more than the blockbuster deals, so I'll keep my eye on Garcia.

We joked about it yesterday, but it seems the fans of the Empire now really are getting the sweats for A-Rod.

In other news, I've been reading this Wonkette blog for about a week now, and I'm completely floored at how consistently good and funny the writing is. If someone could pull off a similar style with a baseball blog, it'd be a wonderful thing to behold. Simmons could do it, of course, as he's proved back in the BSG days and proves again with his most recent column (written in blog) style. Here's hoping that EPSN has Simmons doing more of this.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Blister in the Sun

No more wet dreams. No more fantasizing over A-Rod. As everyone is pointing out, the trade rumors are officially over.

And now that the entity known as Bennifer is no more, we don't get to see J-Lo sitting in Fenway park anymore.

Loved this bit in the Post's Starting Lineup column this morning:

Ben Affleck: Rejection by J-Lo seems to have left actor a tad unhinged. He recently appeared before a group of fans and vowed to continue his quest for love, shrieking, "Not only am I going to other singer-actresses, but I'm going to models! And porn stars! And strippers! And she-males! Aaaaiiiyyyaaahhh!!"

No A-Rod. No J-Lo. Tough week. Oh, and Belth finds this gem from a Brooklyn blogger:

I should note that Cashman and A-Rod were sitting next to each other. And, A-Rod talked about how much he loved New York City. I honestly think that Boston, as a state would commit suicide if he came to the Bronx (Zimmer's Way).

I think there may be some confusion in Brooklyn over what constitutes a city and what makes a state (or more correctly a commonwealth) or whether he really means a nation, as in RSN, but I get his point just the same.

Wouldn't surprise me at all to see Steinbrenner make a run at A-Rod just to one up Boston and show how the true big wheelers and dealers always get what they want.

No suicide watch would be necessary for me, though. C'mon, having been through all that we've been through as Red Sox fans, we are a quite a bit tougher than that. I don't think there is anything we can't collectively handle.

Put an average fan in our shoes and the sheer enormity of the heartache would whither him into a veritable Gollum. Only the chosen ones have the requisite courage and fortitude to bear the burden.

Suicide watch? Hah. I've got your suicide watch right here.