Saturday, October 13, 2012

Red, White & Blaine

This was last Sunday in NYC. I happened to hear about David Blaine doing one of his many "standing there" stunts (see this other time I went to one of these, from May 2006), so I figured we might as well check it out. It was free anyway. (Videos here.)

I guess he was getting a million volts of electricity pumped through him. Or something. I just wanted to get shots of the actual bolts making contact with him.

THey gave us earplugs, and we didn't know why until the music started. I still don't know what the hell was going on, just that these synthesizers would play Superman and it seemed like the music made the voltage start up. And it hurt my brain it was so loud. I got those earplugs in real quick at that point.

Holding the voltage in his hand.

Bolts coming off the big pinball.

They raised a cage up there so this woman could interview him.

There weren't many people there while we were there. This went for three days and nights I think, and then there was a TV special.

Looking back toward land on Pier 54. The stage setup was at the far end of the pier. (You may remember Pier 54 from when I saw Jaws there in July 2006.) You can barely see the antenna of the Empire State Building at left.

Side-of-stage action, including the loud electrifying keyboard of death.

Looking out at the pier. The Hudson was really calm that day--I've seen waves crashing in this spot before. Not surfable waves, but rough-ass waters you wouldn't want to jump into.

Looking south from there, the new World Trade Center 1 still under construction.

Davey Johnson Gets A Taste Of Schiraldi Right Up His Ass

The Nationals just threw 13 pitches while being one out away from winning the series and going on to the NLCS. On five of those, all they needed was one strike to break out the champagne. But they blew the 2-run lead (which had been a 6-run lead). They then had five more pitches while being one out away from at least going to the bottom of the ninth tied, three of those while one strike away. But they gave up two more runs, and lost the game and the series.

Their manager? '86 Mets skipper Davey Johnson! I hope he hears the phrase "one strike away" repeating in his head all winter long.

P.S. I have no issue with the Nats players/fans, and I feel bad for them. Maybe in 30 years they'll get to see a team managed by the current Cardinals manager blow a game when they're one strike away and be able to get some joy out of it. And put a P.S. at the end of their blog posts.

So we've got Cards/Giants in the NLCS, and Sleestaks/Tigers in the ALCS. Kinda boring. Those are 4 of the top 8 teams in terms of WS appearances, 4 of the top 9 in terms of WS wins, and 4 of the top 6 in terms of WS losses. I hope the Giants either win it all or lose in the NLCS. A WS loss for them would tie the Yanks for most by any franchise, with 13. As long as the Yanks lead in WS wins and appearances, might as well keep them at the top of the WS losses column.

The Cards, Giants, and Yanks have won the last three WS, while the Tigers still haven't won since '84.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It Continues

Yanks end up getting a run in the 5th, 6th, and 7th. O's got 1 in the 8th and had 'em loaded, but could do no more damage. 9/11-causers win 3-1.

Had 10 of TBS's 20 cameras not been focused up Jeter's nose, maybe the umps would have had a definitive angle on a key play. When it was 1-0, the O's hit a high deep drive down the line. Replays showed the ball disappearing behind the pole on the foul side, but one replay seemed to show the ball nicking off the pole. The original foul call stood. The announcers were pretty clueless about the whole thing, and you couldn't tell where the replay angles were shot from, making it even more confusing.

Oh well, at least no Yankees fans showed up at the park to see this one.

The O's did an amazing job this year, pushing the Yanks to game 162 and then Game 5. Too bad they could never get over the hump.



In about an hour, we're halfway through. The Yanks haven't done shit against Hammel, and CC has only given up a couple baserunners, with the O's seemingly disinterested in moving them over. Needless to say Adam Jones has not found his stroke. 4.5 more innings for the season!

Hell Yeah

Orioles win!!!!!! We go to a game 5! Friday at 5 p.m.

It was another close-ass battle tonight, but Balty prevails in 13. After a special dugout rally ritual, the O's got a leadoff double, moved him over, then a deep fly that turned out to be anther double, giving them a 2-1 lead. Johnson came in, and finally had a good game, getting the Yanks 1-2-3, including retiring Katy Perry, pinch-hitting for A-Rod, to end the game.

This was an inning after Joba almost got harpooned by a spinning wooden spear. The announcers kept talking about the fact that he got hit by the broken-off bat barrel as if the worst it can do is bruise you. You can get impaled by that shit! Finally after coming back from break, Fuck-Face Ripken's brother did bring up the "jagged end." Joba was very lucky.

The O's had lots of squanders, but got out of some jams themselves. Now it's one more game. O's: Make this season end for the Yanks. I'm done with this! I'm ready for sledding! Knock them out and then go do whatever you want! Score early and often tomorrow! I want a no-pressure win! Granted, the best is always when the Yanks almost win and their fans assume it's "Destiny" and all that crap, but I'd prefer not to end up as one of those guys who's always talking about his blood pressure and ulcers and stuff. So do me a favor and destroy them starting in the first inning.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Number 2 In The Toilet: New Producers

In the regular season, you wonder when you're gonna get that EGS (egregious Jeter shot). In the post-season, it's ALL EGS's, as far as the eye can see. I selected two of the best from last night. Here are your two latest episodes of "The Producers."

Actually, if anybody watches these games online and is getting all the different camera feeds at once, I'd love it if you could let me know if one cam is just on Jeter the whole game....

Here's another video I made, regarding the state of official scorers:

The "5 And 0" Game aka The Adam Jones Game

Above, the pitch-by-pitch from Soriano to McLouth in the 10th. It's tied with a man on second, one out. On 3-0, the ump calls a strike on a pitch that one of the announcers noted wasn't one. Then the next pitch is also outside the zone, yet is called strike two, getting the crowd back into it. The count was really 5-0, but instead it was a payoff pitch. Guy lines into an inning-ending double play.

Of course, had stupid Johnson not blown the save in the 9th, they wouldn't have been in that situation.

Then again, if fucking Adam Jones wasn't the Cano of the Orioles with his nonchalant bullshit, the O's would have been up 2 instead of 1! On Jeter's two-out high fly earlier in the game (which I later found out was wind-aided as a special classy Jeter-ific bonus), fucking Jones breaks in, then trots back while blowing bubbles and the ball lands just over his glove. Run scores. It was the Yanks' only run until Johnson gave up the Ibanez dong in the 9th to tie it at 2.

In game one, the O's had a man on second with nobody out in the bottom of the 8th, in a tie game. They don't score and the closer gives up the game. In game 3 tonight, they're up 1 with 1 out in the 9th and the closer in. He blows it and they lose in extras. The Orioles could have won this series 3-0. Instead it's 2 to goddamn 1 in favor of the fuckers.

What else? Oh yeah, Endy Chavez. I understand you gotta keep him in for defense, but that was so shitty to see a wasted at bat in extras. My "book" on Endy: Throw pitches right over the plate until he's out. I never have any doubts when he's up. If he hits it past the mound they should set off fireworks. Even in visiting parks. That guy needs to be a designated fielder. Or maybe if I ever actually see him get a hit, I'll believe he can do it. But that has yet to happen.

Oh, and on the pop-up that the Yanks butchered, also in extras--Reynolds was only near first as it was landing. But, had he been hustling all the way, maybe he gets to second. Then Andino hits that tapper between the mound and first, and I'm not saying he Cano'd, but he slowed up just a bit as the ball reached the pitcher--and you could see him turn on the jets as the ball bounced off said pitcher. Guy barely tags him out in time. Maybe with the extra speed all the way he reaches. And this is one play after a botched routine pop-up. For some reason these guys always assume the play will be made, even when they saw one that wasn't made the play before. I thought Showalter was some kind of super-genius. You've got the "we don't have any stars and we play loose" thing down, now get their asses hustling. It's the goddamn playoffs. I'm not putting the game on those two plays, but I absolutely put the whole thing on Adam Jones.

Did you see A-Rod's totally fake, robotic "hug" after Ibanez pinch-hit for him and donged? He must feel like such a turd, between that and Ibanez coming up later and hitting another fucking dong to win it.

I've got some home-made living room vids to show you that I made from this game. Will post tomorrow so they're not buried at the bottom of this one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fenway Season Ticket Holder BP: The Non-Me Part

We came in through the Absolut Clubhouse and went down into the visitors' clubhouse, which as you'll see later isn't as nice as the refurbished home one.

From here you can see the seats above and the tunnel to the dugout below. After taking a few pics we headed down the tunnel.

Looking back at my camera crew/cheering section. A few seconds later we were on the field and I was taking batting practice, which is its own blog post: click here if you missed it.

After hitting we then were sent over to the home side of the field, where we hung out in and around the dugout for a while, watching people swing and miss. They were nice enough to bring out a tee for kids who couldn't hit the over-their-head pitches.

Here's a video of the field and somebody whiffing five times.

Nobody ever takes a picture of the ceiling of the dugout....

I swear I did not write that little "now" in there. But I agree. Get the fuck out right now, media!

A view you don't usually get as a fan.

We finally took the tunnel to the Red Sox clubhouse, somewhere I'd never been in my life, not even at the open house in April.

Video of Sox clubhouse.

I don't know what's weirder to have at your locker: football helmets or a pencil sharpener.

From there we came back out toward the field through the seats--here's a shot from under the seats looking toward home...

...and toward right field.

We noticed that the first rows were visible behind the batter on the center field scoreboard. So we went right down there and got ourselves on. This shot goes huge when you click it--that's me at left taking this picture, and my mom and Charlie at right.

Here's a video of me waving at myself from behind the cage. (I can't figure out why I hear a crack of a bat while the guy's not hitting. The video can't be ahead of real life!)

Here I am right behind the hitter making faces--unlike the other one, you can really tell it's a live shot.

View from farther back.

Video of the action from the back of the grandstand behind the plate.

A shot from out behind third base.

And the outfield.

I went up on the Monster for a bit, got this shot through the Fisk Pole.

Vid of BP from the Monster Seats. It's so empty because this went for three days, with only so many people allowed per time slot. This was basically the final hour of the entire event.

Yeah, this shot again. But with fewer people and less light than usual.

Weirder view.

We finally made it to the Gate E area, where they had some cool stuff to look at, like this old Fenway box seat.

And, of course, the trophies (with strangers behind them). It was a rad experience as I'm sure you've gathered. They had said rain was coming, and I feared having to hit indoors, which was their backup plan, but it held off. And it was probably in the 50s, not bad at all. So that was it. We got Mexican food and listened to Yanks-O's on WBAL 1090 AM, which was coming in better than WCBS, on the ride back. The end.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"Did He Just Call Himself The Talent?"

Here I am on the field at Fenway, putting on my batting gloves, ready to take my five swings. Can you believe I just wrote that sentence and it was true? This was an event for any season ticket holder who wanted to do it. (My plan only includes 10/81sts of the season but it still counts in this the awesomest of cases.)

Even though they made you sign a liability waiver, I asked if the helmet was mandatory. The question was met with an emphatic "yes." Damn.

Some of you will be mad, but I knew I was gonna choose metal over wood. I've been using strictly metal all my life. I didn't want to go the major league route for fear that I couldn't get the thing around. I've only got five swings here, might as give myself the best chance of hitting the ball. If they had a fungo bat I probably would have used that!

Here I am entering the cage. I only had to wait behind one guy (named Morrissey!). The woman asked me my name, nickname, position, and number. I only went with 15 since I had a Pedroia jersey on. For nickname, I went the "none" route. And I fancied myself a shortstop. I also tried to go around the back of the cage as a lefty would do--but they looked at me like I was crazy and directed me in through the near side.

As I took my practice cut and prepared for the first pitch (it was from a machine), I was totally locked in. I don't remember hearing my name announced (not over the full PA but over some sort of speaker), and I never looked up at myself on the big screen. I was focused as a mofo.

And I cracked the first pitch high and deep to right center. Not major league deep, but me deep. Well into the outfield, over the second baseman's head. Only then did I kind of grasp the big green expanse of the outfield out in front of me. The clink (yeah, yeah) of bat echoed through the park, and me and the cage assistant (?) just stood and stared at my big hit. (The video doesn't show the ball--or the contact--but you can see the admiring.) I had been worried about the pitches being too high, which happens a lot with pitching machines, and the first one was high, but not too far above the waist. I would have loved to have had them all in my wheelhouse, thigh-high and inside, but I knew I'd have to make due with lousy high balls. But I wasn't about to take any pitches. So my next four were two that would have been fly balls but they hit the front edge of the cage above me, one swing and miss on a too-high pitch, and another solid arcing line drive to center.

After my five, the guy asked if that had been my fifth. I wasn't about to say yes and end my time, so I smiled and shrugged and he let me take one more. Unfortunately it was another face-high pitch. I had no chance. But I was happy from the moment I made solid contact with that first ball. Seeing baseballs (off of my bat!) flying off into the night at Fenway Park was like a dream, but one I know was actually real. It was also slightly different from the normal night-game look, as only the infield lights were on. Above, the helmet comes off after the sixth swing.

The whole thing happened so fast. Way faster than it took you to read the description of it. I emerged from the visiting dugout, suddenly I was in the cage, and just as suddenly I was in the home dugout. Thing about normal batting practice is, you get lots more pitches, and you can always ask the person to adjust the location of the pitches, and you always know you'll be allowed to get that one last good hit. This was not that. It was get in, swing no matter what, and be kicked out with no objections allowed. I was lucky to get that sixth swing. I feel like I was just getting in a groove and within ten more pitches would have been sending them down the line toward the pole. I was gonna make a sex analogy, like, Imagine you're just getting going and then everything stops and it's all over, but then I figured every single female reading this would cup their hands around their mouths and shout "NOW YOU KNOW HOW WE FEEL."

So yeah, it was a good night. Before and after all this I got to see both clubhouses, walk around the park, and see the trophies with my camera crew/cheering section: my mom and Charlie.

You're welcome, Red Sox. And thank YOU.

As for the video, below is the whole thing, as captured by my mom. (Charlie took all the still shots above.) Video is tough. Remember, any baseball game you watch, in order to see the pitch, the swing, and where the ball goes, it takes two cameras. The best you could do with only one video cam would be to stand behind home plate--but, you can't see through the backing of the cage. (Even if you could, you'd never see the batter's face.) If you went way up in the stands back there, you wouldn't be able to tell it was me anyway. So my mom shot from the side, attempting to get both me swinging and the flight of the ball, which proved almost impossible AND would mean missing the next swing. In other words, she did a fine job considering the limitations. So I took what she shot (4:3), put it on the TV (16:9), and shot that with my other cam, adding slo-mo and zooms. For example, I slowed it down so you could see us staring at the first ball I hit, and so you could see the other ball I hit into the outfield which my mom miraculously was able to shoot as it flew through the air. And the crappy height of that last pitch, my excuse for missing it completely. Enjoy.

Thanks to mom and Charlie for documenting this. I will show the other pics and vids from the night in a separate post. And I should point out that only one person per account got to actually get in the cage. So, unfortunately, you couldn't have come with me and hit too. Also, O's win! We got to see the last inning when we got back to Providence before they headed back to CT. 1-1 going to New York. Balty can do this....

Monday, October 08, 2012

Living All Over Columbus

Bottom right: me. Middle: Christopher Columbus. What's next, a laundry room with the Statue of Liberty's head in the dryer?? Now back to the beginning....

If you're not an NYC person, Columbus Circle is right at the corner of Central Park, right in the middle of everything. (It's also where Travis Bickle took Betsy for pie and coffee.) At the center of the circle is a 13-foot statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot pedestal. A few weeks ago Chan told me about a two-month long art installation where they'd have a living room built around the top of the statue, making it feel like Columbus is a piece of furniture in an actual room. Freakin' cool, right? So we made our free online reservations, and yesterday was our day to get in line and make the climb.

First we stopped inside the Time-Warner Center to get some wide shots of the whole deal. Chan told me the bathrooms on the third floor had TVs in the mirrors so I got this pic first.

Here's the circle looking east along Central Park South. You can see the scaffolding/staircases and the living room on top. This view normally looks like this (without the renovations).

After waiting behind the most obnoxious parents/toddlers combo, we finally got to start the climb to the top. Here's the pedestal from the stairs.

There was one more wait at the top of the stairs while they let the room clear out a little. So I got this shot looking up Broadway (left) and Central Park West, home of Miss Dana Barrett's apartment.

And just to the right of that, the vast expanse of Central Park.

And now, without further captioning, here are a bunch of shots from inside "the room." Remember, this a totally fake room 70 feet off the ground....

Yes, that girl is doing her Columbus impression. And you can see Chan in at least one of these. I love the one of the two people looking up from the couch.

And this is looking back down 8th Avenue from one of the windows. This is what Columbus looks at every day.

And on our way out the other side, here's Central Park South, home of tortured horses. I guess the reservations are filling up quickly and I think it ends in November, so go do it. You can get there a little before your reserved half-hour, they don't care. And you can spend 15-30 minutes up there, but I didn't see anybody get nailed for too much loitering. Happy (coincidental) Columbus Day, everybody! Please don't go claiming anything that's not yours for Spain. Thank you.

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