Friday, June 24, 2005


Watching the Diamondbacks face Kirk Rueter in their 7-2 victory over the Giants Thursday night was like that old Monty Python sketch...

A prisoner is escorted out of his prison cell, followed by a large firing squad. The commandant (and camera) stays inside the prison. The sound of many shots are heard. Just as quickly as the prisoner and guards were escorted out of the prison, the guards and prisoner are escorted back into the prison. The commandant yells at his troops, "HOW COULD YOU MISS?"

How in the world did the D-Backs only manage 3 runs off Rueter? The man struggled from the first pitch onward. And that was a lot of pitches -- 116 over 6 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks could've easily scored twice as many and it wouldn't have been a surprise -- Rueter even had something like an 8-pitch duel with Brandon Webb -- and Webb hasn't had a hit all year. It wasn't until the 8th inning, when they scored 3 runs off of Christiansen, that the Diamondbacks put the game away.

At least it was fun to watch Brandon Webb mow through the lineup -- I was just afraid the effort would go to waste. No walks for the game. Webb, according to BP's VORP, is ranked 11th in the National League and isn't that far behind Jake Peavy for the best pitcher in the National League West. He's having a great season, and might have an outside shot at the All-Star Game. (Really, aside from Luis Gonzalez and Troy Glaus, who are having solid but not spectacular seasons, and Craig Counsell and Tony Clark, who are having solid yet fluky seasons, whom would you pick from the Diamondbacks?)


In Rotation - June 24, '05
The Rapture - Echoes
Golden Smog - Weird Tales
Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball
Alison Krauss & Union Station - So Long So Wrong


Have a good weekend and Go Diamondbacks!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

CSI: Tacoma 

From today's Under The Knife (subscription required):

Diamondbacks prospect Conor Jackson was talking on his cell phone near the Tacoma visitors clubhouse, which is located just beyond the 16-foot high left-field wall. A home-run ball cleared the fence, beaning him and knocking him unconscious, if only briefly. Jackson was taken to a local hospital for observation, but appears to be fine. His oh-so-sensitive teammates taped off the outline of his fallen body for pictures.

Will Carroll confirms this with the Tacoma PA guy.

Of course, it's only funny in retrospect.

Appropos of virtually nothing, I've been to the Tacoma ballpark. Decent ballpark, great location...

En Feugo 

There are the stories of grasslands, unfortunately, "on fire." (And destroying homes.)

Then there are the metaphorical stories of teams or players "on fire." The good news for the local readers (well, those of 'em who aren't UA alumni -- sorry, Ryan) is that the Sun Devil baseball team is "on fire." Five straight games in which a loss would end the season -- five straight wins.

The bad news for the local readers is that Jason Schmidt was also "on fire" Wednesday night, striking out 10 in eight innings of work en route to a 4-0 Giants win over the Diamondbacks. Brad Halsey pitched well, especially early on (it took him just 24 pitches to get through the first three innings, and that included giving up a run), but it was no match for Schmidt. And even when Schmidt made mistakes (e.g., walking noted Schmidt nemesis Shawn Green in the fourth inning), he got lucky or the D-Backs got stupid (Glaus swings and misses on a 2-strike hit-and-run or plain stolen base attempt by Green, and Green gets thrown out).

And Troy Glaus. I decided to make an exhaustive (read: five-minute) Internet survey to determine the derivation of the phrase "golden sombrero," which Troy Glaus earned with his 4 at-bat / 4-strikeout performance last night. This page (check about 1/4 of the way down) suggests two possible derivations -- an "enhancement" of the phrase "hat trick," used in hockey and cricket, or a 1989 coinage from Don Baylor (who struck out 1,069 times in his career).

In any case, let's all cut down on the strikeouts tonight and win to get back to .500.



In Rotation - June 23, '05
Laura Cantrell - When The Roses Bloom Again
Strokes - Room On Fire
Iron & Wine - Woman King EP
Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense (Spec. Ed.)
Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chad Tracy Is... 

... no Jeff Larish, at least not Tuesday, but his one homerun was enough. 6-4 Diamondbacks win over the Giants.

And the bullpen. 4 innings, 2 hits and 1 walk (all by Valverde). No runs. Claudio Vargas didn't pitch great (I don't think it's heresy to say that even Russ Ortiz had pitched better, on average, this year), and needed 102 pitches just to get through those 5 innings, but he pitched well to keep the team in the game. This time, they took advantage of it.

So the losing streak stops at 5 games. Again. At the very least this team seems capable of arresting the negative downward spirals that plagued the team last year and led to many losing streaks of interminable length.

With Eric Gagne out for the year and Barry Bonds probably not back until at least the All-Star Break, this division is still there for the team that puts a run together and gets a little lucky. The Diamondbacks probably shouldn't be that team, but there's no reason that they can't be.


I know I haven't done much counterpointing on the point/counterpoint on offseason maneuvers, but today, I promise.


In Rotation, June 22, '05
Doves - The Last Broadcast
Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass
U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind
Wilco - Being There

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why Must I Blog About Last Night's Game? 

To begin with, I didn't watch it.

I can't just spend the day after Father's Day completely ignoring my typical role of "bedtime enforcer" just to watch a June baseball game.

And then I had to go to the grocery store. Sure I could listen to the game to and from the store, but that only made things worse.

American colonies were founded and died away in less time than it took to play last night's game -- it was something like 8:30, and they were still in the 3rd inning.

Can I complain for a minute here about the length of time it takes to play American sports? Horrible. Sure, TV is to blame as advertising breaks get longer and longer, but the siren call of funny beer ads aren't totally responsible. Baseball and football are the primary offenders, but hockey and basketball have also dragged out their entertainment value. Give me a good 2:20 3-2 pitchers' duel -- or an uninterrupted football match -- every time. Of course, this is a person for whom the entertainment value of playing a round of golf fades rapidly after 9 holes. (To those of you who are suggesting that I might enjoy it more if I had any talent, I'm not listening to you.)

In any case, looking at what might become a 4:30 game (it ended up being 3:50 or so), I decided not to bother.

And I didn't really miss anything, did I? Javier Vazquez complained about the quality of the baseballs, but unless they were sneaking them in for Noah Lowry, it seems like an empty complaint. Our old bugaboo, hitting with runners in scoring position, returned as the Diamondbacks managed to spin gold into straw by converting 10 hits and 7 walks into just 3 runs. And Lance Cormier seems determined to get his HR/9 rate back to normal rates and make my "Lance Cormier for NL Rookie of the Year" push sound foolish, giving up 2 more homeruns.

And on top of that, was the whole Darth Vader-eyeblack imbroglio just a big misunderstanding? Sigh. Even when the Diamondbacks are interesting for the wrong reasons, those reasons are wrong.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Fun / Not Fun 

Father's Day with your child and wife? Fun.

Parties with friends? Fun.

The Diamondbacks right now? Not fun.

I'd forgotten that Cleveland is in the Eastern time zone, and by the time I remembered, I turned on the TV shortly after 5 PM Friday night to see the Diamondbacks mercifully make the last out and exit the 3rd inning trailing 10-6. (They ended up losing to the Indians 13-6.)

That's when I decided that I didn't have the time this weekend to deal with a team who just isn't playing well right now. And so I didn't watch another second of the games this weekend.

Which is too bad, I guess, because Saturday's and Sunday's games were pretty good, apparently. I mean, if you had told me Friday morning that the Diamondbacks would get two well-pitched complete games this weekend, I would have taken that, gladly, and spent some time watching it. But Brandon Webb's and Shawn Estes' solid outings resulted in 3-1 and 3-2 losses that didn't do much but:
1) pulled the Diamondbacks' actual record closer to their Pythagorean record
2) pulled them to .500.
3) got somebody seriously peeved at Jose Cruz, Jr.

Now, if I weren't swamped right now, I might spend time crafting a little return visit by Little Miss .500, or perhaps do something Clue-like regarding Cruz's Vader (my money is on Mr. Estes in the locker room with the eye-black).

But blaming my lack of writing on my own schedule just avoids the issue that the team isn't playing great right now. The fact that they're still in 2nd place in the NL West, just 3 1/2 games behind the Padres, is somewhat amazing to me.

I would've spent the weekend with my family and friends anyway, but right now I don't feel conflicted about missing the series.


By the way, don't miss the Point/Counterpoint with Jim on the D-Backs' offseason maneuvers.


In Rotation - June 20, '05
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
World Party - Goodbye Jumbo
Kasey Chambers - Barricades & Brickwalls
Kim Richey - Bitter Sweet