Monday, June 27, 2005

The Grind 

I ground a stump this weekend.

As yardwork (no, not Yard Work, yardwork) goes, stump-grinding is not one of the more pleasant tasks out there.

Lawn-mowing? Dull, but easy, and with a satisfyingly (though unnatural) evenness at the end.

Vegetable gardening? Slow, but with a tangibly tasty end product.

Stump-grinding? Hard work, with nothing to show for it except a big hole and sawdust scattered amidst the surrounding grass. But it's also fun using a big machine to, well, grind something up.

Win some, lose some, I guess.

Kinda like the Diamondbacks.

(Yes, I realize the analogy is strained. Tough.)

On the one hand, the lack of a winning streak makes it hard to generate groundswells of support for the Diamondbacks.

On the other hand, while the avoidance of a double-digit losing streak can sap the creative strength out of a blogger, said avoidance also makes following the team more enjoyable.

And so this weekend's games with the Tigers were an interesting mix:

Friday) Shawn Estes wins a 2-1 pitching showdown. And, really, who the heck expected to type that sentence -- multiple times -- at the beginning of the season?

Saturday) The minute I saw the Tigers were starting somebody making his season debut (Sean Douglass) against Javier Vazquez, I knew that the Diamondbacks would struggle against him. The Diamondbacks have repeatedly struggled against new pitchers this season. Too lazy to post something to that effect ahead of time (and too honest to pre-date a blog entry after the fact), sure enough the D-Backs lose 5-1. Nice to know that everybody else on the team recognizes the problem, too. (I remember reading Jeff at Lookout Landing complaining about the same thing with the Mariners once. Doesn't anybody do any advance scouting? But to be fair, some of these problems have been with the interleague matchups, and it doesn't seem quite fair to blame the D-Backs for not scouting the Tigers minor league system.)

Sunday) Which of course brings us to Sunday's game. And I've got to believe the Tigers bloggers are complaining about Sunday's 13-7 Diamondbacks victory the same way we're complaining about Saturday's game. How could Claudio Vargas hold Detroit to one hit through six innings while Jeremy Bonderman gets pounded for 9 hits and 8 runs in just two innings?

All I managed to see of the weekend's series was about 5 minutes of the D-Backs' implosion in the 7th inning. Vargas tiring and giving up a couple runs (including the "what in the world?" moment of Chad Tracy playing leftfield and seeing a ball sail over his head). What about our Pythagorean record? What about it, huh? Think of the children! In any case, I figured no good could continue from watching (they'd either make it close, or it'd be a blowout in which I missed all of the good stuff already), so I turned off the TV.

Amazingly, they scored 13 runs without Gonzo and Glaus. Luis Gonzalez is still on "bereavement leave" to mourn the death of his stepfather, and while I think that it's pretty cool that that kind of leave is in the collective bargaining agreement (and of course hope Gonzalez' family makes it through this difficult time OK), I'd never heard of it before this weekend. Doesn't it offer all kinds of opportunity? Were Robert still blogging, I can hear him encouraging management to put Royce Clayton on the "fake BL" ("his, uh, grandmother passed away last night. Again.")

Oh, well, a win is a win in the actual standings, and the Diamondbacks are back above .500, still just 3 1/2 games behind the Padres, and with a day off. With three games at home against the Giants, now would be a good time to leave the grind behind.


In Rotation - June 27, '05
Mozart's String Quintets K. 515 & K. 516
Modern Jazz Quartet - Django
LCD Soundsystem - s/t

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