Saturday, August 06, 2005

Jason Giambi, GM


"It was late, after midnight, Friday morning and Brian Cashman needed an educated second opinion about whether or not to sign Alan Embree. So the Yankees general manager phoned Jason Giambi. 'I figured he'd be up,' Cashman said. A wide-awake Giambi told Cashman to get the hard-throwing left-hander who was on the mound when the Red Sox clinched the AL pennant last year at Yankee Stadium."

Good call, Jase.

I really can't til we get to face the Cheese at Fenway.

Right now, the yanks are down 6-4 in the fifth. Randy's ONLY given up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 10 hits so far. Actually, as I write this, Proctor is in to start the fifth, and they don't know if it's because he stinks like an elephant's butt, or if his comic attempt to cover first last inning caused him another one of his ho-hum injuries.

Gil/Hodge Podge

Talk about your all-time forgettable baseball night.

Bronson seemed like he was in an altered mind-state from pitch one. After all the insanity, when Millar was robbed, I didn't know whether to say "This is just getting to be unbelievable" or "Huh, figures."

All this going on while watching the yanks against the Gils. Yes, the Gils, as in, "The Blue Jays are playing like a team comprised of nine of the character Gil from the Simpsons." To refresh your memory, Gil is the car-salesman who just can't get anything right in life. Nothing goes his way, and he's well aware of it.

The Jays were down 3-0 for most of the game, but every inning they'd have scoring opportunities against one of the many players whom Michael Backwards Kay has referred to as "yank Aaron," Aaron Small. But instead of playing sound, fundamental baseball, trying to move up runners and manufacture runs, they'd all be up there hacking like Willie "Mays" Hayes, and popping the ball straight up and throwing their bats down with an "Aw, jeez," Gil-style. When they weren't doing that, they were grounding into inning-ending double plays. "Aw, shucks."

"Team o' Gils, man," I kept saying to Chan, "team o' Gils."

It was like both the Jays and the Twins, in their indoor or half-indoor pantheons of poop, were trying to see how many different ways they could frustrate me in one night.

At one point, Tino made this catch on a foul pop by the stands, where it seemed like he was just putting his glove out to feel for the wall, and ball landed right in it, and miraculously stayed there. I told Chan, "That was totally accidental!" Chan didn't believe me...until they showed a close-up of Tino with a shit-eating grin on his face. Then A-Rod made a lucky catch running away from the infield, and started prancing around like a fucking show-pony. And before that, he completely over-celebrated on a fairly nice play he made, despite that on what I think was the play before it, he had so much time to throw to first on a hard grounder, that he took four steps toward first, and still bounced the throw. Still no third-baseman instincts, I tell you. But this over-celebrating he does is typical of robots as they try to "feel out" the human world, sometimes reacting incorrectly to certain situations. He'll get it eventually.

Oh well, at least I beat Chan in tennis and Scrabble yesterday. And in the Scrabble game, I was down by over a hundred points early, but methodically fought my way back into it, eventually surpassing the Chan Army in the final stages. With a win like that, surely you had to have charted out the scoring in line-graph form on a Dunkin' Donuts box, right, Jere?

Of course:

Friday, August 05, 2005

Flim Springfield

Chan & I were walking through Central Park today. As we headed down a hill toward Conservatory Water, I spotted a man wearing a red suit jacket with pink pants. Even though it was New York City, I found this choice of dress to be odd, because it was 95 degrees out. I said to Chan, "What's with suit guy?" Chan just brushed me off.

As we got closer to the water, we noticed more people dressed way too warm for summer. But there was something else odd about them. It was as if they were from a different era.

We were nearly surrounded by polyester leisure suits and bell-bottoms. And when I saw a police car from the 70s parked by the water, I said, "I think we just walked into the wrong year."

A man wearing a headset quickly came toward us and explained that we needed to take a detour, since they were filming a movie. Which, yes, we were clever enough to figure out a few minutes--all right, seconds--before he told us.

So we walked to a different area, and observed some of the filming. We could see these 70s people strategically placed all around the water. Including the original red and pink man. I knew that seemed weird!

Turns out the movie in the making is The Hoax, starring Richard Gere and the dude who played Doc Ock in the recent Spider-Man movies. It's about a hoax. Click the link to see which hoax.

Chan and I tried to think of funny things to yell out during the filming to mess with them. Like, just yelling out "Internet!" since the scene was set in 1971. My initial idea was to run into the scene, telling people I was "from the future." Chan suggeted getting into a SCUBA suit, hiding under the water, and then when the scene started, emerging as some type of futuristic aqua-man. But Chan also had the best suggestion of all. Since I was wearing a Red Sox T-shirt (I actually pulled out the old Nomar today), he thought it would be funny if I came running into the scene shouting with glee, "I come from 2004! Good news! The Red Sox won the World Series!"

I know what you're thinking: "Jere, these are all brilliant ideas, and I'm sure the director would actually keep rolling, and then change the story, despite that it's a true story, to fit your 'new' scene in. But, come on, do you really think it would save a Richard Gere movie? Don't waste your time."

I've been waiting for Robinson Cano's slump for quite some time now. And it's here. Kay and friends have been hyoing this guy like he's...who's that guy, the one who created the earth and sky? Well, that's not important, but they were just really overdoing it. In his last six games, he's gone 3 for 27. Tonight he's 0 for 2 so far up in Andrewland. The guy's swinging at pickoff throws to first. Ken Singleton said, "It's not very often he goes two pitches without swinging." The best part is that they seemed to have committed to him, thinking he was settled in as their second baseman for the next decade. And who knows, he just may be. But right now, it's getting toward the home stretch of this season, and he's probably starting to make Big Stein nervous.

Kay said that Sheffield said today that he didn't say what the Daily News article said he did. Which is possible, considering the credibilty of that tabloid. But the New York magazine article comes out next week, and we'll see what's up.

Fun With Bombers

From PatG: Sheffanie rips rest of yanks.

This is laugh-out-loud funny. Classic Sheff. Just what the yanks don't need right now. And just what I DO need.

Marcia Cubed: Maureen McCormick turns 49 today. Please take the time to send her a card. I had no idea Marcia had the same birthday as my two cats, Spike and Tabitha, who both would have been 21 (147) today.

Wick 3

I'm glad I wasn't around to see Wickman tonight. But if I had been here, I probably would have just turned the game off when I saw his face. After sweating through the last two nights (me and especially him), there was just no chance for three saves in a row. Stupid Wickman. On the highlights, I saw A-Rod doing his completely phony routine after hitting his home run. "Yeah, guys, we are the yankees! And I take this very seriously!" That guy is the most pathetic person in baseball. He will never get a ring.

I missed that game because I saw Mike Myers, the comedian, tonight. It was a taping for a TV show, hosted by David Steinberg. I'm still confused as to the title and network, but I'll let you know when I find out those things, as well as when it will air.

I love Mike Myers. Always have, since his first season of SNL. Steinberg interviewed him for about an hour. He pretty much gave the story of his career. You had to be there, but trust me, it was funny. I could've done without the nine levels of security we had to pass through to get in, and the "hip" dress code, but hey, it was free, and it was Myers.

Baseball trivia:

1. Did you know that the only player with a disco dance in his name is Hank Blalock? (LA Lock) Pete Rose, however, does have one in his nickname, "Charlie Hustle." (The Hustle)

2. Did you know that Hideki Matsui appeared in 163 games in 1993? I did. And I once asked you on this blog why that was. And no one answered. But I figured it out. It was because the yanks played a five-inning tie at Baltimore, that was replayed in its entirety. In the Bronx, as I recall.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Day Baseball

A sweep of the homestand. Clement's back and not at all flinchy. The poor Royals, walking all those hitters. If they didn't do that, they would've won. Petagine left a bunch of runners on, and grounded into a then-key double play on a 2-0 pitch after the pitcher had thrown ten straight balls. Can't be doin' that. But he'll be okay. Jose Cruz, Jr. doesn't look so good in right field. 5 games up at the moment.

I've got to get dressed up now to go see Mike Myers on a taping of "Comedy Talk with David Steinberg." But not only is it a casual-clothes-free zone, but they specifically ask that you wear "hip" clothing. Dear god. I'll try my best. I guess.

The Four-Second Mile

Update: Petagine Called Up.

Our apartment is really long and narrow. Narrow enough so that my bed can only fit one way in my room. But long enough for a forty-yard dash. So tonight, I said to Chan, "Hey Chan, I wonder how fast I can run from one end of the apartment to the other." Before this idea could settle into Chan's brain, I'd already taken off my watch and was telling him which button to use to start and stop the timer. I decided to make a prediction as to how long it would take. I closed my eyes and ran the apartment in my mind, counting the seconds as I did. "I bet I can do it in under five seconds," I boasted. Then after a second I changed my estimate to 4.25 seconds.

I headed to the kitchen, clearing a path along the way. I got in position, hand touching the table against the wall. Chan was ready on the other side, ready for the classic "On your mark, get set, go." He'd then stop the watch when I touched the far wall.

At the signal, I sprinted across. Not much to avoid in the kitchen, some junk on the floor as I passed through my room, then Chan's, and into the home stretch of the living room. The end was tough, since I had to slow down from a full sprint about two steps from the wall, to avoid injury.

"Ooh, 4.28," said Chan, less excited than the "ooh" might suggest on paper.

I was very excited that I guessed within three hundredths of a second of my actual time. But I'm pretty good at stuff like that. Ask my friend Brian how I do at celebrity-age guessing. Actually, ask the whole town of Danbury, Connecticut. They watched me guess celebrity ages on our old cable access show for a good fifteen minutes. When I say the entire town, I mean, of course, the ten people who watched the show. But the entire town COULD have watched. (Although e-mail response volume suggested they did not.)

So I did one more run, because, in the tradition of household records, you have to try to break it at least once. Got 4.03. Maybe tomorrow I'll try to break the four-second barrier. Make that definitely.

Well, my other prediction today wasn't as good as 4.25. But close, kind of. My 12-1 win prediction said that I thought the Sox would win a game in which 13 runs were scored. Exactly right. And I said seven strong for Miller. He started the seventh, and he gave up less runs than our offense had at the time. And got the win. So, come on, I was right again there. Exactly.

So are all you fair-weather Manny fans gonna bitch and moan about him missing time again? You saw the blood, right? See, the straight-laced, regular-haired, not-threatening-to-your-white-picket-fenced-neighborhood Schilling had blood, now Manny has blood. They both miss time when they have to, and they both come back and play amazing baseball.

30 homers for Manny, too. I remember when that was a rare thing for an entire season.

The yanks had a four-nothing lead tonight with the Moose. They lost. We've got them by four and a half. And they still have really, really, really crappy pitching. Cano was on fire tonight, bunting foul with two strikes, dropping a pop-up, screwing up Jeter on a double-play ball. Although some of the blame on that goes to Jeter, who made his second horrible throw to first of the night on the play. Can you believe that? Two "one-in-a-trillion"s in the same game. In all yankee announcers' minds, anyway. "Wow, you'll NEVER see Jeter do THAT.....or THAT." And I love it when it looks like it's gonna be a "Troika/TanGorMo" night, but then the plan goes all to hell. (These are actual names that Michael Kay calls the theory of some mythical yankee starter going six perfect innings, before handing the ball over to Stutze for a perfect seventh, Gordon for a perfect eighth, and Mariano for a perfect ninth.) And, again, Jeter made the last out. Giz-old.

Do you realize we're 10 1/2 up on Baltimore now? And the Jays are within a game and a half of NY.

But back to the apartment dash. I just realized how it all started. At one point in the yankee game tonight, some Indian took a 2-0 pitch right down the middle. I said, "Come on, I woulda swung at that...and hit a home run." Chan laughed and said, "You don't have the power." I quickly came back with, "Inside-the-park!" Chan, predictably, but incorrectly, said, "You don't have the speed."

I said, "Chan, pick any thirty people off the street outside, and I guarantee I'm faster than 29 of them." So we started talking about actually racing random people, and then my idea of running across the apartment came up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lowe Tolerance For Puns

Alas, D-Lowe, your wife and three kids weren't good enough for you. But Carolyn Hughes is the one who once said, "With longer hair, you can pull it back and do a ponytail. When it's shorter, you have no choice but to wear it the same way almost every day. So you don't have as many options."

Smart girl.

Terrible job, Hollywood boy.

I know Miller's a little bit injured, but I'm asking seven strong out of him tonight. In a 12-1 win. Too much?

End Of An Era?

Charlie Murphy thinks Chappelle's Show isn't coming back.

Also, just a reminder: Bullshit Memorial Stadium is back.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

California Penal

Six wins in a row. Pressure-free win for me tonight, as I missed almost the whole game. Chan & I went to a sneak preview of the new Bill Murray movie, Broken Flowers. It was really different and interesting. USA Today readers will definitely not "get it." If there's anything to get at all. I recommend it. If you like Murray, you should like it. And if you like the Lost In Translation-era Murray, you'll love this one.

On our way home, we walked past a bar called Stout, which had the Sox on a HUGE screen. They had the yanks, too, but the Red Sox game seemed like the centerpiece. It's on 34th Street. Or 33rd. And I couldn't tell you which avenue, but toward the middle. Somewhere between Madison (Square Garden) and Madison (Avenue).

I saw that it was 6-5 us, and that the yanks were down 6-1, and then we kept walking. When we got home, I found out the Sox had won. No surprise there. We did get to see that big, sweaty, ex-yank Wickman nearly blow a save to the yanks, but fortunately he got the job done. Weird to watch Jacobs Field on TV now that I've been there. And you know how much I love it when Jeter ends a game. The good way. Good for us, that is. Michael Kay pointed out--during Jeter's game-ending ground out--that Derek "is hustling up the line." Well, I'm sure he'll sleep well tonight knowing that he did. And that his team is 3 1/2 out.

Palmeiro was just called a "lying skunk" by Dave Letterman. Heh heh.

Major League is on HBO right now. Nice.

Obsessive Fence Controversy Coverage

This is a diagram showing the triangle from an aerial view, as well as from the field of play at ground level. Click to enlarge.

In figure A, you'll see the flight of the baseball hitting off the high center field wall, and bouncing back onto the field. This ball is in play.

In figure B, the ball hits the center field wall (which extends into the crowd) to the right of the vertical yellow line. This is a home run, regardless of whether it bounces into the stands or bullpen, or back out onto the field.

Figure C shows the ball flying through the gaps in the wiry fence. (Refer to front view for clarity.) I have to believe this is a home run. But since this part of the wall is apparently in play, it could be called a double, since techincally, it's going through the wall. I don't know the rule on this.

Figure D is where the real controversy comes in. Ball hits upper wiry fence. Note that the wiry fence (in front view) starts at the center field wall, is on top of the main wall, and in play, as far as I know, but splits off from it and extends out behind the bullpens. At some point, this wiry fence goes from being in play to being out of play. (Where this point is what I'm trying to figure out.) This is the same pattern that the main center field wall, as well as the Green Monster, follows. Hence the two vertical yellow lines. I think a third yellow line should be added. (see diagrams for proposed positioning.) So, back to Figure D, if the ball hits the wiry fence to the right of my proposed line, and bounces back over the front wall and onto the field, what should the umpire call?

The star is where this picture was taken from, facing the field:

You can see from the horizontal bar that the fence starts curving off to the left and behind the bullpens.

The vertical bar on the right, and all others to its right, are in play (I assume). The one on the left--actually a double bar--should be painted yellow, on its front side, and any part of this fence-of-wiry-bars to the left (from this perspective) should be out of play, home run.

(I have looked at the official ground rules, and I saw that even a ball that hits to the left of the yellow lines, if it bounces into the bleachers, IS a home run. And there's something about a ball sticking in the "bullpen screen" being two bases, and that all "screen poles" are out of play. Is this wiry wall made up of screen poles? Or do they just mean poles that hold up screens?)


I got home from New England today, and... that's weird to say, since I lived there my whole life up until a few months ago. Except for my brief attempt at college. Anyway, on Thursday, before I left, Chan said something about wanting to see a movie called The Aristocrats. I had no reaction, since I hadn't even heard of the movie. And the subject somehow changed before I could even ask him about it. This weekend, I read reviews of it, and decided I had to see it.

So I got back here today, and when Chan got home, I said "Aristocrats?" And Chan's all up in my grill, givin' me all this static about "You had no interest!" and "I saw that shit without your sorry, indifferent ass!"

Actually, he just casually said, "I saw it."

But he said he'd see it again. Which I took as a good sign.

So we took the express train to Union Square, and, yes, saying that makes me feel much cooler than I did back when I used to have to travel an hour just to get a sniff of Yonkers, and went to the ten o'clock showing.

This movie is about a joke that every comedian knows, and tells in their own way. But they never really tell it on stage. And the punch line is the title of the movie. But the joke isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. And the goal in telling it is to fill that journey with the raunchiest, vilest, most perverted pit stops from the deepest recesses of your sick mind.

It's hi-freakin'-larious, dude.

The movie is comprised of interviews with dozens of different comedians, talking about the joke and telling their version of it.

Some folks featured in the film are George Carlin, Robin Williams, Jason Alexander, Drew Carey, Susan Silverman, Penn & Teller (Penn's the one who made the movie), Jon Stewart, Gilbert Gottfried, the South Park kids..."and the rest," as the singer or singers of the Gilligan's Island theme once sang.

I've always heard about Bob Saget's sick sense of humor, and he finally shows it off here.

This is the filthiest movie you'll see. All in its language, though. Still, a lot of people will be offended by it. Personally, I was only offended by the cost of M&M's.

I can be offended, if that's even the word, by things like racism, sexism, and the casualness of certain yankee fans. In fact, I'm pretty proud of myself when I don't laugh at a sexist comment, when everyone else in the room does. But this movie is about a joke. If you go into it with even the slightest bit of your guard in the upright and locked position, you will walk out--into the boring, unfunny world. So let it down, byitch, and prepare to laugh yourself silly. Over things you'd never do to grandma--or your dog--in real life.

This week I'll be seeing two of my favorite people for the total cost of zero dollars, plus train fare. Tomorrow, I'm going to a special sneak preview of the new Bill Murray movie. (Thanks for the heads up, mom.) And Thursday, I'm going to see a live interview with Mike Myers. The "north of the border" one, not the "south of the border" one. Get it? It's gonna be an Inside the Actors' Studio-style thing, hosted by David Steinberg. Today, though, Chan informed me that it was a "no casual clothes allowed" deal. Now that I'm offended by. But I guess to see "Middle-Aged Man," aka "Lothar of the Hill People," in person, I'd go nude if I had to. So, I think I might go to the thrift store and by a funky suit or something for the occasion.

And I've got a good feeling about Jose Cruz, Jr. He seemed to be really good, once. And I think maybe he just needs to play in a place where people care, and where there are really good hitters around him, and where the fence is the-distance-formerly-known-as-315/96 feet/meters from home plate. Or maybe he'll just get traded for someone else. But if he stays, I think he could help us in a Larry Parrish sort of way. (That's goin' back to the late-80s, people.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Fenway Park, July 30th, 2005, Part 1

Saturday, (despite rumors in the comments section that I went to the amazing Sunday game, TJ, everyone, I never said Sunday) I was at Fenway Park, in the best seats I've had there in quite a while. It was a gorgeous evening. The first thing I heard that morning was that Alan "Captain Cheese" Embree had signed with the yankees. Had I been near a computer, these are things I would have considered writing: "yanks sign Cheese, clinching division for Sox," or maybe something in the "Benedict Arnold/Eggs Benedict/Egg & Cheese" vein. But I really couldn't come up with anything good. Then again, I didn't think very hard. Regardless, terrible job, Cheese.

I went out to get a shot of the controversial outfield fence area that came into play on Friday night on Ortiz' double. This is in the triangle. So, if a ball hits that vertical wire-like thing on the left, or on that same fence anywhere to the right of that spot, (toward the center field fence) and bounces onto the field, it's in play. If it hits to the left of that, it would probably bounce into the bullpen for a homer. My question is, what if hits to the left of there, but bounces back, over the front bullpen fence, back onto the field? Home run? Or in play? Where's the spot it has to hit to the left of (from this pic's perspective) that makes it a home run? Because that wiry fence starts over by the center field wall, but then splits off from the lower fence and continues back behind the bullpen, separating it from the stands. You know what I mean? I think there should be a yellow vertical line, and it should be right where that wire in the left of this picture is.

I'm aware that you know what a blimp looks like. But I thought it was cool, with that plane and the blue sky and whatnot.

Former Twins' super-duper-star Al Newman is the Twins' third base coach. Funny guy, that Newman.

Shannon Stewart and another dude.

I wonder if th tiny "E"s for LeCroy's jerseys cost extra.

It was one of those "flag on wall" days. This time, it was for the PMC. They had 26 cancer survivors ride their bikes around the warning track.

In our section, Cuddyer was known as, well, just say "cuddlier" without the "L," and then figure in a Boston accent.

Legend Joe Castiglione.

A bunch of Twins.

Paul Reiser throws out the first ball and pretends to be a Sox fan.

Kelly had people taking their picture with her, like, between every inning.

After the lineup was announced, with Manny IN it, the team took the field, and we slowly realized that Manny wasn't with them. DH, maybe? Nope. After calling dad, we found out that he was pulled from the lineup, and no one, not even John Henry knew why. I stayed optimistic, even though we knew he may well have just gotten traded, because Henry surely would've known that. I eventually came up with the theory that Francona suspended Manny for a day, and that the next day, everything would be back to normal. Close. More on this later.

Wells delivers what could've very well been the game's first pitch.

Here's Papi on second base.


Fenway Park, July 30th, 2005, Part 2

Bill Mueller.

The good thing about Manny being out was that Kapler got to make his '05 debut. It was great to see his first at bat. We cheered our heads off for our World Champ. This was just after he tipped his helmet to us.

Kapler gets a hit.

Bill Mueller was called out on this play, after the third base ump called this a swing. Here's evidence that it was not a swing. And, of course, I can give you a 100% guarantee that this was the exact moment he stopped his swing. Remember that Brady Bunch episode where Greg took a picture of that cheerleader, and ended up with photographic evidence of a wide receiver's feet in bounds in the background? This is kind of like that. Except I didn't develop the pictures in a makeshift darkroom in my house.

General "Fenway at night" shot. Did anyone else have those Fenway postcards back in the early 80s? The day one and the night one? Those were great. I used to just sit and stare at those, since I hardly ever got to see Fenway on tv.

Johhny pulls into second with a double.

Here's a good shot of Bradford's delivery, but with people in the way.

Here's a blurry shot of Bradford's delivery, with no one in the way.

We were happy to see Manny come out of the dugout at the end of the game, excitedly hugging his teammates. This was the moment I knew that my "everything's gonna be okay" suspicions were accurate. And what probably went undereported was the fact that, at this moment, the entire crowd started chanting Manny's name. The next day, I was again confused, as they gave Manny yet another day off. But then I heard how he said he wanted to stay, and win another title in Boston. Talk about your happy happy joy joy moment. Then, of course, he came off the bench to win the game for us. Talk about your mega-happy happy etc etc moment. Also, I predicted a sweep of the Twins. But I was sure to not say that out loud beforehand.

And the Angels just GAVE away games to the shitty yanks. And for the first time in a while, I just didn't let it get to me. I know which team is going to win in the end.

...Happily Ever After

Just another weekend in Drama Nation. Hope you enjoyed it.

My pics from Saturday's game will be coming soon.

Happy New Month.

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