Friday, October 15, 2004

One Last Reminder 

Tomorrow -- Saturday the 16th -- AFL D-Backs' Blogging Get-Together. Bloggers and readers are invited to join us at Scottsdale Stadium at 7 PM or slightly before for the Scottsdale Scorpions game. Jim from But It's A DRY Heat and his wife will be at Pischke's Paradise in Old Town Scottsdale starting at 5 PM (I'll be joining them at 6 PM). If you want to join us at Pischke's, please drop Jim a line at his website so he can make a reservation for an appropriate table size.

Please join us -- it should be lots of fun.

More Blather 

The more I read these articles about the D-Backs manager-hiring process, the less concerned I am that there aren't any articles about the process. The interviews with Angels and Rockies bench coaches Joe Maddon and Jamie Quirk were yesterday and Garagiola, Jr. said absolutely nothing that would help you decide whom they're favoring. That's good, I suppose, but for somebody suffering through post-season news malaise, I wouldn't mind a few more sunk ships.

Bob Brenly, however, has finally broken his relative veil of silence over his firing with this brief interview with Mark Gonzales from the Republic. Brenly seems to blame the non-Colangelo portion of D-Backs management, and takes umbrage at people saying he "couldn't work with kids." Getting into the Brenly firing just seems like more trouble than it's worth at this point, since the team's problems seem mostly talent-based, not managerially-based. Brenly does appear to be getting his answers ready for job interviews, though...

Speaking of easy-going managers, I didn't see much of the Cardinals-Astros game last night, and in particular I missed the bottom of the 8th (saw the top of the 8th... saw the top of the 9th... but missed the good stuff in between). Why, oh, why didn't Phil Garner put Lidge into the lineup in the bottom of the 8th?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Art Imitating Art 

I came up with the idea first, but Andy Borowitz probably does it better (I was particularly amused by the last paragraph).

Random Thoughts 

Let's see, since the Republic seems to have abandoned any interest in the search for the next D-Backs manager, here's the report from the D-Backs' website. Acta and Backman were interviewed Tuesday and Wednesday; Backman definitely seems like the anti-Brenly, attitude-wise. Maddon and Quirk interview today, with DeMarlo Hale on Friday. The comments on the managerial candidates from Garagiola, Jr. so far have been so uniformly praiseworthy, that I find it impossible to make even poorly speculative guesses as to who might be the front-runner.

I really don't have anything else to mention... I was watching the debate, so missed much of the Yankees-Red Sox game. I haven't seen anything in the two games to make me think the Red Sox can't come back and win this series, but I haven't seen anything that makes think they will, either. A St. Louis-New York World Series, should it come to that, would be highly entertaining.

Oh, and upon reflection, I might've been a bit harsh on Conor Jackson yesterday. It's not that his column was incoherent (and his selection as just one of 3 AFL diarists speaks highly of him), just that it's clear he's in his early 20s...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

New Jobs All Around... 

Saw this and I couldn't wait to post it here. Wanna be a stats stringer or baseball columnist for the D-Backs?

Conor Jackson may be a player of the D-Backs' future, but his preference for the cliche comes straight out of Bull Durham. Should not be allowed to apply for the above jobs.


"He wanted to stay and see the full Red Sox-Yankees game live. For real." -- Sue Walitsky, Sen. John Kerry's Arizona campaign spokeswoman, on why Kerry stayed in Santa Fe Tuesday night instead of travelling to Phoenix as originally planned.

"Bush aides deny Internet rumors he was wired" -- CNN.com headline, referring to rumors surrounding the Miami debate

Start time of Boston - New York ALCS Game 2: 5:10 PM Arizona time

Start time of final Presidential debate: 6:00 PM Arizona time


[Scene: Gammage Auditorium, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona]

Bob Schieffer: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 3rd and final Presidential debate, held here at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. We will start with opening statements... Senator Kerry, you have two minutes.

Senator John Kerry: Thank you, Bob, and thank you, members of the audience, both here and across the country. As I've been travelling across this great country of ours, I've met many wonderful Americans who've had troubles making ends CRAP! Can't we get Matsui out?!!! I mean, met many Americans who've had troubles making ends meet and want to get the current President OUT of office. I offer you hope and my promise that I will never stop working for you.

[Awkward pause.]

Schieffer: Senator Kerry, you still have 90 seconds left -- do you have anything else to say in your opening statement?

Kerry [drumming fingers together]: Mmmmm... No.

Schieffer: OK.... Mr. President, you have two minutes.

President George W. Bush: Thank you, Bob. I've been working hard these past four years keeping our country safe and secure from

Kerry: Yes! Double play!

Schieffer: Excuse me, Senator Kerry, I'm not sure what that was about, but the President still has about a minute and 45 seconds in his response.

Kerry: Oh, certainly... sorry about that...

[Time -- and the debate -- elapses....]

Schieffer: This next question is for you, Senator Kerry. You will have 90 seconds. Senator Kerry, please discuss specifically what broad income tax rates you would proposed under your administration.

Kerry: Bob, I've talked about raising income tax rates for persons making more than $200,000 a year. I would want to raise the marginal income tax rate back up to OH YEEEAAAH! Striiiiikeout, Jeter! Who's YOUR daddy, Derek? Uhhh, I mean, I want to strike out the rate reduction for the highest income earners passed in 2001 while at the same time increase the child tax credit for all those mommies and daddies out there.

Bush [cocks head, light goes on]: I don't think the American public is interest in having the largest tax increase since... oh... 1918!

Kerry: Oh, big talk coming from a man who managed to fleece Texas -- I mean, the country -- out of tax revenue to build a stadium while managing to NEVER WIN A SINGLE PLAYOFF SERIES! The Red Sox won more playoff games last week than the Rangers have EVER WON in the playoffs.

Bush: There he goes again, friends, flip-flopping his way across the country. I know FOR A FACT that he is a closet Pittsburgh Pirates fan. He can run, but he can't hide.

Kerry: I just think the American public should know that the President rushed into the playoffs without a plan to win the playoff series.

Schieffer: Gentlemen! Enough. I think it's time for closing statements. Mr. President, you're first.

Bush: Sox suck. God bless America.

Kerry: Yankees suck. God bless America.

Schieffer: Uh, thank you both.

[Kerry rushes out of the Auditorium, heads for McDuffy's.]


For personal reasons, I don't talk about politics in this blog. Any references to political positions or phrases above are intended for humorous effect and may or may not reflect personal beliefs.

I'm sure that Richard would have a view on this debate (let alone the real one). Whatever your views, I hope that tonight you'll TiVo the baseball game(s) and watch the debate live -- for one thing, it'll cut back on your intake of Tim McCarver, and for another, the debate should prove to be both enlightening and entertaining.

Another Year For Randy? 

The general consensus amongst D-Back bloggers has been that if the D-Backs don't re-sign Richie Sexson, we should "blow the team up." By "blow the team up," they mean "trade Randy Johnson."

Now, I've said this myself, so perhaps I should say "we" instead of "they." But over the past couple weeks, I've pondered the wisdom of another year for Randy.

Not 2005.


Look, the general argument is, this team can't compete until 2006. I suppose the implication is, until Randy's contract comes off the books in 2006 and we can get some better players. But as I think through this, I'm wondering if we can realistically expect to do better than Randy. Even for cheaper.

I know, I know, Randy is 41. But even if he doesn't win the Cy Young, he's had a really good year. And if (when) he loses the Cy Young this year, it might very well be to a 43-year-old Roger Clemens. Schilling's injured performance last night notwithstanding, it seems that, all else being equal, it's better to have a dominant $16 M pitcher than 2 pretty good $8 M pitchers.

Here are the upsides of signing Randy to a one-year extension if we don't re-sign Richie Sexson:
1) It's a sign to free agents that we're not throwing in the towel in 2005 and 2006, thereby increasing the D-Backs' attractiveness.
2) Another year of mentoring a young pitching staff.
3) Possible additional trade value if the team isn't improving significantly in 2005.
4) Hey, it's Randy Johnson -- most Win Shares of any NL pitcher, I believe (or maybe it's all pitchers).

The downsides, of course, include:
1) Another $15 - $17 M/year for a 43-year-old pitcher
2) It's not enough of a sign to free agents that we're not throwing in the towel.

If we do re-sign Randy, I guess the worst that could happen is that we delay the blowing up of the team to 2007 (when both Randy and Gonzo would likely not be re-signed, or at least, not for $23 - $25 M combined). The wild card is whether or not Randy would want to extend his contract with the D-Backs. Without Richie the option might be less attractive to him, though it would depend on what other players the D-Backs acquired through trade or free agency, and whether or not Randy's really looking to pitch through 2007 in a push to reach 300 wins. And therein lies the chicken-and-egg rub -- what players would come here on faith that Randy's here through 2006, but would Randy re-sign through 2006 without knowing what players are coming here?

I'm not convinced myself that Randy through 2006 is the answer. But I'm now willing to consider the question.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Predictions and Satisfactions -- Divisional Results 

Last week, I discussed my predilections for the playoff series, along with my daughter's predictions. Here, then, are the results...

Playoff Satisfaction: Generally low. 2 points for the Houston-Atlanta series, 2 points for the St. Louis-Los Angeles series, 9 points for the Boston-Anaheim series, and 4 points for the Minnesota-New York series, for a total PS score of 21. Compared to the number of points my arch-doppleganger would've received -- 21 -- looks like I had neither a good nor bad divisional series.

My Daughter The Bookie: My daughter correctly picked 3 out of the 4 series, missing only the series that most people agreed on -- St. Louis - Los Angeles series, for which she picked the Dodgers.

So, now that the divisional series are over, what about the Championship series? Well, I won't get a chance to ask her until tonight, so you people looking to put down solid money a team will only be able to get in on the NL series. As for me, here are my predilections for this round. (Preference scores are doubled for this round)

St. Louis - Houston: As I said last week, I'd pick the Cardinals over the winner of the other series, but it's not a particularly strong score -- let's give them a 4 (i.e., 2 doubled)
Boston - New York: My dilemma here is that I either give the Red Sox a 4, making them the equivalent of the Twins in my heart, which they're not, or give them a 3, making the Angels the equivalent of the Yankees in my heart, which they're not. Ah, the dilemmas of a chunky scoring system. Let's go with the Red Sox as an 8 (i.e., 4 doubled), but they are not, repeat, not the Twins. (Hopefully in more ways than one.)

Final AFL Gathering Details and other miscellany 

As we've mentioned several times before, we're going to get together to see this Saturday's (10/16)Arizona Fall League game with the Scottsdale Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium. The game is at 7:05 PM, but Jim from But It's A DRY Heat and his wife Chris will be arriving at Pischke's Paradise for dinner at 5 PM, with me joining them for a drink at 6 PM before leaving there at about 6:45 PM. Pischke's is at 7217 E. 1st St., or essentially the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and 1st St, which is about 3 blocks south of Indian School. It's no more than a 10-minute walk from there to the stadium, so we'll be at the box office by 7 PM. Tickets are cheap -- $5.

If you plan on meeting us at Pischke's Paradise, please go over to Jim's website and e-mail him so he knows how big of a table to reserve.

If you're wondering how to find us, either at Pischke's, or at the stadium, look for the people wearing D-Backs hats or shirts. (As I noted to Jim this weekend, one advantage of supporting a 51-111 team is that it does tend to weed out the posers. We should be among the few wearing D-Backs stuff.) I'm a tall-ish, skinny white guy, and I think you can find a picture of Jim somewhere in the links on his website.

Looking forward to the game and seeing everybody.

In other news, the D-Backs' search for a manager continues. The interviews for this week...

Mariners (ex-)Mgr Bob Melvin, yesterday
Expos 3B/Bench Manny Acta, today
Lancaster Mgr Wall Backman, tomorrow
Rockies Bench Jamie Quirk, Thursday
Rangers 1B DeMarlo Hale, Friday
Angels Bench Joe Maddon, TBA

The article also notes that the D-Backs outrighted Alan Zinter, Juan Brito, and Chad Durbin. Zinter signed a AAA contract with the D-Backs. Don't know what Brito and Durbin will do, but I doubt anyone will shed a tear...

Monday, October 11, 2004


It was Saturday afternoon, and I'd already watched more sports than I normally do on a Saturday.  The Texas-OU game, the USC-Cal game, parts of Tennessee-Georgia (did I say Florida-Georgia in my last entry?  Never mind me, I'm an idiot).  And the Twins-Yankees.  So when Ruben Sierra launched a homerun into the baggie in right-center field to tie the game up at 5-5 in the 8th inning, you know what I did?

I went to church.

Now, this is not my normal response to a tense sporting event.  I don't think I've ever prayed to a higher being for a desired outcome in a sporting event.  (No, not even in BOB in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7, 2001; not even from my living room while watching the 1993 NCAA men's basketball championship.)

No, we'd decided earlier in the day to try out the Saturday evening service at our church.  And seeing as the game didn't involve the Diamondbacks, it would've been hard to argue that I needed to stick around here.  So Sierra hit the homerun, I hit the off-button on the TV, and then...

Back about 5 years ago, John Sayles made a movie called Limbo.  It's set in Alaska, and the final act of the movie focuses on 3 characters facing a difficult challenge and an uncertain future.  The last scene is very ambiguous, so much so that many audiences hated it.  Audibly.  In the commentary track on the DVD, Sayles doesn't talk much about the conclusion, but does say that he didn't think the ending was that important since he'd (hopefully) established what he wanted to say about the characters.  The plot mechanics at that point were beside the point.

So it was the movie in mind that I consciously chose to not listen to the radio on the way to or from church, and, coming home after dinner, that I chose not to watch Game 3 of the Dodgers-Cardinals series.  I would choose to believe that I was happy that the Twins had done well again this year and that Santana had pitched well enough in his two games that people nationally would understand why he'll get the Cy Young Award.

Of course, that didn't stop me from letting out an audible sigh when I picked up the paper Sunday morning and saw that the Yankees ended up winning the game in the 11th inning, a win that was part-and-parcel of a weekend full of sucker punches of games -- Michigan coming from behind again to win the Little Brown Jug from the Golden Gophers; Texas not getting anything going against OU; the Cardinals collapsing against the 49ers.  Faced with a string of losses like that, you're forced to either believe that the universe is evil, or that there are other positive things to take out of the sports world than just the final score.  I'll choose the latter, but it's testing my faith.

Sorry if I've sort of ignored the Cardinals-Dodgers series and completely ignored the Astros-Braves series.  At least the Astros and Braves will finally play a game in prime time tonight, Game 5.  I've seen nothing, however, that leads me to believe that the winner won't be lucky to push the Cardinals to six games.  They could get lucky, of course, but it won't matter, because nobody will be paying attention to that series anyway.