Thursday, October 28, 2004


No more ads for silly Fox reality shows.

No more Dodge truck ads.

No more Budweiser ads with "Ray." (I would say no more ads about Ray, either, but I'm sure we'll be seeing more of those...)

No more Tim McCarver.

No more Scooter.

No more need to watch a Cardinals offense who scored 12 runs in a 4-game series -- the Yankees scored more than 50% more -- in one game -- against the Red Sox.

No more chances to see non-star players -- Trot Nixon, Derek Lowe -- have great games on a big stage (in Lowe's case, repeatedly).

No more shots of the bloody (and I mean that in both the medical and British sense of the word) ankle.

No more referring to a team with a $125 million payroll, 2nd-highest in baseball, as an underdog.

No more "1918" chants from Yankees fans. (Let's start thinking of 4-syllable chants when the Red Sox host the Yankees in early April... "Year 2000," "0-3 Chokers," "Curse of A-Rod.")

No more discussion about a silly non-existent curse.

It's over, folks. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Champions.
This blog is not over, however. I keep talking about reviewing the year, and I do plan on starting that soon. I need a break, bigger than the one I thought I'd get when the playoffs started, but I don't plan on disappearing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Other Notes 

-- Wins down, size of losses down, yet nobody knows what the D-Backs payroll will be next year.

-- Of course, it would appear that the D-Backs took a big step toward re-signing Richie Sexson as they offered him a 3-year contract with what sounds like additional cash (or additional guaranteed cash).

-- You would think that if somebody wrote in the Republic on Saturday that Steve Finley had sold his house here in the Valley that it would've been sooner than Wednesday before somebody in the Sports section would've followed up with Finley or his agent. (The upshot? Nothing's guaranteed either way.)

-- Bob Melvin and Wally Backman are interviewing today. Bob Melvin continues to be rumored as the front-runner, but would it kill somebody to at least give a reason for his front-runningness? Manny Acta interviews Monday, so it'll be at least Tuesday before we hear anything.


Sounds like an adult film or magazine, doesn't it? Well, it's just the word I coined to described the way the Red Sox are playing right now ("The Red Sox are so juggernauty at the moment.") After two games where they showed it didn't matter if they didn't quite have a grasp on baseball fundamentals such as fielding, they beat the Cardinals at their own game, nailing a runner heading for home, plus getting Jeff Suppan out at third while he did his best "Electric Slide" imitation.

Now, the funny thing about the appearance of juggernautiness is that it can disappear in an instant. Just ask the Cardinals, whose juggernaucity has gradually faded since getting off to a great start against the Dodgers. Or the Yankees, who looked great for about 6 2/3 games (7 2/3, when you consider they looked OK in their loss to the Twins). So we'll see whether the Red Sox can continue.

(On a mostly unrelated note, was anybody else disturbed by Chris Myers interviewing that "Ray" guy from the Bud ads with a bunch of people in "Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong" T-shirts behind them... during the game? I had to mute the TV. Or, rather, keep the TV muted, as Tim McCarver has finally driven me over the edge.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

2005 Diamondbacks Schedule Announced 

See the press release here and the actual schedule here. As I surmised this morning, the mystery exhibition guests are, indeed, the Red Sox. Other things of note:
-- Monday through Saturday games will generally start even earlier -- 6:40 PM. Count me among those happy to see that.
-- The D-Backs will indeed be the first visiting team for the Expos/Washington team as we open up their first homestand about 10 days into the season.
-- No big interleague opponents visiting. I mean, it'll be nice to see the Twins, but they were here last year, and I think we'd probably get a bigger kick out of seeing, say, Anaheim.

Casey Fossum, MVP 

In what universe? The Hacking Mass-iverse, of course. (Steve Sparks also hit the Top 20; Alex Cintron just missed it.)

Cultural Diversion: The Pixies 

It's been awhile since I wrote one of these "Diversions," but it's been awhile since I've seen or read or heard anything as compelling as the baseball we've seen recently. Friday night's Pixies concert at the Dodge Theatre, however, merits a few words here.

For those unfamiliar with them, the Pixies released 4 albums in the late-80s/early-90s. Their alternative rock was always more cited for its influence (Nirvana, Radiohead) than for its popularity. They broke up about 10 years ago amid band tensions (as if bands break up for any other reason) and news of their reunion was met with great excitement amongst their fans. Think of the Beatles re-forming in, say, 1978. That would've approximated the impact (albeit on a much, much larger scale) of the announcement.

I was never a big Pixies fan. I liked their two big hits -- "Here Comes Your Man" and "Velouria" -- and was familiar with some of their other stuff, but I'm sure I had a few opportunities to see them in college and never bothered once. But based on the great reviews from their initial spring tour, I thought I'd take a chance.

And what a show they put on. It was a 90-minute show with very little banter, though the band appeared to be in a good mood, especially Kim Deal and her goofy inter-song smile. What struck me about the band during the concert was how the Pixies did the quiet/loud dichotomy of Nirvana (and countless imitators) before Nirvana and were just as good as Radiohead at building up tension, then releasing it. I also had never appreciated how good the band is as a band -- really good musicianship -- and how they had so many overlapping layers in their songs. Kim Deal and Black Francis don't sing duets in an Everly Brothers way, but their voices are just another pair of instruments making up the whole.

I knew I was enjoying myself when about 10 minutes into the show I said to my concert-going partner, "This is reeeeealllly good," while wearing what must've been a very silly grin.

In the end, the concert made me reevaluate my whole lukewarm response to the band and is sending me in search of their albums. There's not much more you can ask from a concert.

This And That 

You wake up expecting to blog on Friday night's Pixies concert, and then news unfolds...

The Diamondbacks are expected to officially announce their 2005 schedule today. They'll open at home against the Cubs. More cryptically is this from the Republic article on the announcement:
As good of a season-opening draw as the Cubs are, the Diamondbacks have
kicked up the excitement level even further by having secured a two-game
exhibition set at the ballpark against another club that brings just as much fan
appeal as the Cubs.

The Diamondbacks are waiting until today to formally announce the team in
question, but the franchise is considered a powerhouse, especially this year.

Seems clear to me that the Red Sox will be coming to town...

Then, here's news that Al Pedrique wants to stay with the D-Backs. Well, it's not really news -- everybody knew that -- but his return there as 3rd base coach would be fine by me...

And after talking about stats stringers and reporters, here's another job: major league scout. Of course, the pay is pretty low (starts at $30,000-$40,000), the hours are bad (16 hours/day sometimes), and to even get invited to the Scouting School is invitation-only. Oh, and Moneyball-obsessed bloggers need not apply:

"The industry has come light speed forward with computers, ray guns and
everything else. But unless you have a trained eye, you just can't see what
you need to see."

Tom Randolph was sent to the school by the New York Mets.

"In scout school, subjectivity is praised," Randolph said. "Mr. Pries asked
us every day, 'Do you like that guy?' We learned gut feeling is a good thing.
Liking a player can be the unscientific manifestation of a scout's years of
experience and knowledge."

Finally, Conor Jackson's latest AFL Journal entry contains some clues as to why Carlos Quentin hasn't been playing much -- some lower back trouble (now over).

Monday, October 25, 2004

Out of Sight 

For a number of reasons, I did not watch much of this weekend's games. As a result, my desire to buy the Arrested Development Season 1 DVD has dropped dramatically, as has my need to see My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss and The Rebel Billionaire. Thankfully, I've also almost repressed the twitches I get whenever I see that wife in the Dodge truck ad nearly call her husband a... you know. Out of sight, out of mind.

The downside of that is that I did not see, well, much baseball. I would check in periodically, especially Saturday night, amused to hear the rapidly expanding score, but didn't get much of a sense of either game. And the last innings of last night's games, with the rain coming down it seemed to temper the crowd. It just wasn't as wild as the last four games of either LCS.

So I don't really have much to add. (Some might say that's true even when I write 750 words on a subject.) It is funny to see the "defensively-improved" Red Sox commit 8 errors in two games and have the only effect be to keep Red Sox pitchers' ERA really low. But when you whack the ball all over the place, hitting out of their minds, it doesn't matter, now does it?

And Curt Schilling. The upshot of last night's solid performance is now that the Hall of Fame talk is heating up. His stats (thanks to the fine folks at Baseball-Reference) don't strike me as incredible -- at 37, he has just 184 wins, but the metrics used to track whether or not Schilling might make the Hall of Fame seem to be pretty good (see near the bottom of the page). It seems to me that 250 wins (or 66 more) would pretty much assure him of getting in, anything less, who knows? The only question will be whether Hall of Fame voters (many of whom probably have a grasp of the Keltner Test that's even more tenuous than mine) will be more swayed by his "big-game clutch pitching" or by his "big ego."