September 30, 2004

Ya Big Orange Lug

Apparently, Youppi is coming to DC too.

Great news. But Ellyn says, "Keep him away from my ass."

Posted by Carl at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2004

This Is Really It

When MLB puts an article on their site, it must be about to go down. My condolences to Mikel and any other Montreal baseball fans. Nonetheless: wOOt!

Any team name other than "Washington Senators" is unacceptable.

I'll start my plea for Opening Day tickets now. I imagine they'll be hard to come by short of buying full season tickets, something I'm not prepared to do at this time (I'm thinking a 15-game plan sounds about right). So if anyone scores extra, remember your good buddy the Big Fool.

Posted by Carl at 11:29 AM | Comments (6)

September 27, 2004

Free baseball is good baseball

Once again I picked up free O's tickets, and so made for the Yard on a Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, we listened to the traffic report before getting to the Beltway, and thus went through the District to avoid a big dumb accident. Actually got up to Baltimore at a reasonable time. Got some Boog's BBQ and saw the fan-voted top 50 Orioles of all time introductions. Good stuff. I wore my (soon-to-be DC?) Expos jersey out of spite and got several comments on it.

Not surprisingly, free tickets aren't the greatest seats--section 74, next-to-last row, under the overhang. Couldn't see the scoreboard. But at least it was on the lower level, and there didn't seem to be any ushers on duty, so by the second inning we were in the third row behind the left-field fence, waiting for a home run ball.

I love a good pitching performance; I'm always hoping someone throws a no-hitter. I can't even remember the last time I was at a shutout; yesterday, Rodrigo Lopez took care of that, holding the Tigers to three hits. It was nearly a double complete game, as Mike Maroth was one out away from finishing the 8th. Trammel pulled him for some who-he relievers who promptly coughed up a couple more runs; 5-0 final. The relative lack of pitching changes, and absolutely zero walks, made this a fast game; officially, two hours eleven minutes. That never happens these days.

I always make a point to pick up Outside Pitch, the unofficial O's program that's sold outside the ballpark, if for no other reason than they include a useable scorecard: big boxes, one full page for each line-up, a separate page for pitchers, and no ads cluttering things up. Someone who actually keeps score designed this scorecard, unlike the worthless tiny boxes you get at most ballparks. They also include more interesting stories, and are actually critical of team management. Plus it only costs $2.

We gleaned from Outside Pitch that Miguel Tejada was on the verge of breaking the Orioles single-season RBI record (142 by Palmeiro in 1996), and when he singled in a run in the bottom of the 8th he tied it. Trammel then made a pitching change; a perfect opportunity for the powers that be to put up a graphic on the big board and everyone to cheer him. Instead, it was time for "YMCA." Shameful. I'm sending an angry e-mail to O's management today.

Tejada has been awesome this season, but you know who else has? Melvin Mora. I'd call him the most underrated player in the AL right now. Hitting .342, 26 dongs, 101 RBI, and an alarming .420 OBP as of this writing. That's 2nd in the AL in hitting, 1st in OBP, 3rd in OPS. He made a number of good plays at third base yesterday, too. But I'm sure he won't be on many people's end-of-year all-star teams.

Almost certainly my last game of the year, attendance-wise. Let's hope the next is opening day at RFK.

CORRECTION: Mora has 26 home runs, not 262. That would be getting some attention.

Posted by Carl at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

Type 4, illustrated

Rather than lump this into LFF, I wanted to keep it separate, because it perfectly portrays the In Denial category of Republican voters. A blog called Anomolous Data has a post about a little civics experiment at a school in Minnesota.

The teacher told of an exercise wherein he read from both the Bush and Kerry websites. He read where each of the candidates stood on the main issues of the campaign. He didn’t say who was who…just “this is what candidate one says, this is what candidate two says”.
The kids made tally marks about each thing they agreed with from each candidate.
Then the kids voted on the issues.
Four kids voted for Bush. 26 kids voted for Kerry.

So did the kids decide that maybe Kerry's policies actually were better? Of course not; they protested that they had voted incorrectly. Even better was the parents' reaction at the school's open house:

Glancing around the classroom at the faces of the other parents, I could see that many of them were disturbed as well. What could have gone wrong? How had they failed their children? What did this mean?
The teacher went on to say that he assured the kids that the election was not yet over, and that there still might be many issues where they would agree with George W. Bush, and maybe when they tried again later, they would end up voting for him.
The parents looked relieved as well.
The gears that had begun to grind uncomfortably in their heads smoothed out and they relaxed.

This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say that such voters are In Denial. They are presented with direct evidence that they should at least look at the issues, at the candidate's positions, and at least think for one freakin' minute about which candidate really represents their issues.

But such self-examination would be too painful. Can't admit we might have been wrong. Better to nod stupidly and say you're voting for Bush anyway.

Posted by Carl at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)

Linking Fool Friday

Hiiiiiiiiii, evry'buddy. Here are some things to read that will kill the rest of your workday afternoon.

It's hard to say "This is the most terrible thing about today's Republican Party," because there's so much to choose from. But really, this one's right up there: their voter intimidation practices, as seen in Florida in 2000 and surely elsewhere in 2004. Blah blah blah democracy in the Middle East, then back here at home they're trying to prevent whole blocks of people from voting. It's sickening.

Are your smug Republican friends still telling you to visit and that he's a flip-flopper? Saletan and Suellentrop provide further relief.

Whenever anyone asks me who will win in November, I keep saying, "It'll hinge on the debates." (That is, if you can call a format where the two participants aren't allowed to address each other a "debate.") Over at Kos are great suggestions for debate questions, which of course will never be asked.

Via Pandagon, enjoy this David Brooks piece at McSweeney's. Hey, I like Lucky Charms.

Finally, SKB posts something that's been going around about Joe Republican who hates him some big government. Dang liberals!

Posted by Carl at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Major League Ballpark #22

When I bought tickets for a September Phillies game a few months back, my hope was that we'd be seeing the team on its way to locking down the National League East. Um, no. But I was still very pleased to make my first trip to Citizens Bank Park. I even got a little verklempt when we got inside. After my lifelong love-hate relationship with the Vet, it's going to take a while to get used to the idea that this is the team's home now. The only way it could be better is if it was downtown instead of at the stupid sports complex.

The comparisons to the Yard are inevitable: Ashburn Alley is just about a rip-off of Eutaw Street, and Bull's BBQ should have to pay royalties to Boog Powell. But in my experience, I find the Cit evocative of Seattle's Safeco Field. The concourses are wide and open so you can keep an eye on the game while getting a beer or a dog, and no one seems to mind if you hang around at the back of a section and watch from there. Much fan-friendlier than, say, St. Louis, where you have to show a lower-level ticket stub to even access that level's concourse.

We got there a bit late (everything's more complicated when you have a toddler), during the second inning, and we spent some time walking around the concourse, so we didn't get settled in our seats until near the end of the third. So I completely missed the fact that Kevin Millwood started the game--by the time we got seated, I saw Gavin Floyd's name up on the scoreboard and assumed he had started. Rather bewildering, then, to read today's articles about Millwood's first outing back from injury (only two innings, but apparently they didn't expect him to throw too many pitches). Missed Lieberthal's second-inning home run, too--heard the roar of the crowd, walked over towards the seats to see him running the bases, and told myself it would be the only Phils' home run of the game. It was. (During last year's Farewell to Blue Acres, Thome and Lieberthal hit back-to-back home runs while I was walking our crying child around the concourse; I think those were the only runs the Phils scored that entire game.)

Our seats were in the right-field "pavilion," in the middle level. The Phils' ticket agent did right by us--she gave us seats directly behind a railing, where there are free-standing folding chairs. It's the kind of area where one can pull up a wheelchair, or in our case a stroller, and seat everyone else around it. I'm not sure if the seats are actually closer to the field, but it certainly felt like a much better view than similar seats at the Vet would have been.

The food, as far as I can tell, is exponentially better. The Vet had positively generic ballpark food: hot dogs, nachos, cardboard pizza, etc., and absolutely nothing worth going out of your way for. This time, the ownership realized that Philadelphia is a great food city, and they should exploit that. Geno's and Tony Luke's have stands in Ashburn Alley--not just reheated pre-cooked knock-offs of cheesesteaks, but big freakin' grills and everything. (I had a mediocre provolone steak for lunch at Liberty Place, so I didn't partake at this time.) Of course, everything had modern, brand-new-ballpark prices as well.

Other thoughts, and a picture of my cute freakin' kid in Phillies garb, after the fold.

  • It is beyond me why they called Thome's pop-up in the 3rd a single. It was an error all the way. I assumed the inning was over when he hit it, but the Expos' shortstop backed up on it and flat-out missed it. Yeah, it was windy, but whatever, he should have made the play.

  • Gavin Floyd may be part of the rotation of the future, but he sure labored yesterday. Seemed like he went to a full count on every batter.

  • The 7th inning stretch led off with "God Bless America," and I was worried, but they followed up with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to redeem themselves. I was taken aback at the number of people removing their hats for "GBA," to the point that I felt compelled to do it to. As far as I can recall, you're supposed to remove your hat for the national anthem, and most songs, no matter how patriotic, are not the national anthem.

  • Prototypical Phillies Proven Veteran Reliever Todd Jones took his first at-bat of the season in the 7th, and worked a walk.

  • Even with the season in the tank, and even in a non-save situation, the fans got fired up for Billy Wagner's entrance in the 9th. I sure hope he's back next year.

  • Amsuing moment in the bottom of the 9th: with one out, the batter hit a pop-up in back of second base. Rollins and Polanco both called for it. On a play like that, it's normally the shortstop's ball. But for whatever reason, Rollins finally backed off, then stood there incredulously after Polanco made the catch, and the rest of the guys seemed to be giving him grief about it. The jumbotron replay showed Polanco laughing at Rollins after he put it away.

  • Announced attendance: 42K+. Yeah, if ten thousand of them were dressed as empty seats. Maybe there were a lot of no-shows. Total season attendance over three million; I reckon that's the first time that's happened in Philly since the late 70's.


Posted by Carl at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

A Ghost Is Bored

Hands up, who else is disappointed with Wilco's new album? I need to give it a few more listens, but the first impression is not good. At least, not what I'd been hoping for as an owner of every previous Wilco album. Through the first spin, there was only one song where I thought "I'd like to hear that again" ("Handshake Drugs").

Throughout the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart we were reminded that Wilco is Jeff Tweedy's band, and Jay Bennett thought himself more important than he was. After hearing A Ghost Is Born, I think Jay really was that important, and Jeff misses him more than he'd dare let on. There are certain songwriting duos who together make songs that are far better than anything they do individually: McCartney/Lennon, Strummer/Jones, Cantrell/Staley. I am ready to add Tweedy/Bennett to that list, as on Summer Teeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Bennett's avant-garde bent pushed back just enough on Tweedy's folky-pop sensibilities to produce intriguing, beautiful songs. Now, Tweedy is trying to do the avant-garde thing on his own, and it's not working. The last minute of "Poor Places" is a racket, but it's an interesting racket, one that I listen through every time I put on the album. The racket at the end of "Less Than You Think" isn't interesting at all; it's just annoying, and it goes on for ten minutes. It will be skipped next time I play the album.

I'll give it another listen; it's still better than 80% of the crap on the radio, anyway. But not the new level YHF was.

Posted by Carl at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Here are your Washington Senators?

Big article in the Post today about DC's choice for a stadium site. (Fortunately, it's near a Metro station; those responsible for the Big Jack should be beatedn for intentionally locating it away from Metro stations.) Scuttlebutt is that This Is Finally It, the Expos are coming to DC and the nation's capital will have baseball again. The Montreal situation can't continue, and DC is the best option to everyone but Peter Angelos.

But count me among those who will remain skeptical until we're in the ballpark on Opening Day. I've had my hopes raised and dashed too many times in the past ten years to get too excited just yet. Especially that Astros thing--the 'Stros owner had an agreement in place to move to DC, but the other owners were going to vote it down. He said, "OK, I'll give it one more year in Houston, but if I don't have a new ballpark by then you've got to let me move." The result was Enron/Minute Maid/Too Damn Small Field.

I have mixed feelings about the idea of DC baseball. I don't think the District has much business helping to pay for a ballpark. I'd rather see it in Northern Virginia--Angelos may swear we're part of his team's fan base, but I can barely make it to the Yard on a weekend, and I've given up weeknight games entirely. And I'd even prefer the team to stay in Montreal--Mikel says Montrealers loathe the stadium, not the team, and a smaller, downtown, open air park would do quite well. I believe him, but to their credit those same Montrealers are adamantly opposed to public financing for a new ballpark, which MLB has made a requirement.

On the other hand, God I love baseball, and if they build it, I will come. It'll be just like my Caps-Flyers conundrum; I'll buy season tickets and cheer for the Senators... except when they're playing the Phillies.

Posted by Carl at 11:40 AM | Comments (1)

September 16, 2004

"Bush is a bad president, but I need a reason to vote FOR Kerry."

How about these or these or these?

Posted by Carl at 04:51 PM | Comments (6)

Hey Scalzi! You forgot "Evil"

I've covered this ground in the past, and it's nice to see a great mind like Scalzi's think the same way. And I quite like the questionnaire.

Posted by Carl at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

Linking Fool Friday (Thursday edition)

I'll be AFC all day tomorrow, so you get your link-pile a day early. Yee haw!

To my knowledge, there's been surprisingly little media coverage of the mass arrests of protestors in New York during the RNC. Here's a detailed first-hand account by 2600's Emmanuel Goldstein. Positively Orwellian, the kind of crap you expect from the old Soviet regime or third-world dictatorships. But middle America thinks those people deserved it, so no biggie. Hey, at least they came out alive, right? If that's what you think, your standards are too low. Fascism can happen here, folks, and this is a good start.

TMW's Bob Harris just got back from Egypt and has visited other spots in the Middle East in the past year. He reports that more Muslims like us than we might think, but collectively we're flat-out squandering that good will.

I've already written about the stupidity and laziness of undecided voters. Slactivist hits another peeve: Yeah, Bush has screwed things up, but Kerry doesn't have a detailed plan. So, because Kerry hasn't personally come to your house and given you detailed strategy for leaving Iraq, you might re-elect the guy who misled the American public into a war that's become a total freakin' mess? Criminy. If your doctor demands you have surgery, removes the wrong body part, and then you learn you didn't need surgery in the first place, wouldn't you go find a new doctor?

Mary Ratcliff has a good post at the Street, featuring a long excerpt from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on our crappy press and why more people get their news from the Daily Show than really should. The only outlet that takes the crap that comes out of politicos' mouths and actually calls it crap.

As always, we'll wrap up with more fun things: Take the most serious, weighty blog post you can find, and run it through the English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator. Then go play Name that Game, and match the old-school video game sound effect to its title. I got 16 of 18.

Posted by Carl at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2004

one two three four five

I could totally listen to The Legends' "Make It All Right", like, eight times in a row.

Posted by Carl at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

Linking Fool Friday

Let's make this quick. If a smug Republican friend tells you to look at and babbles about Kerry's "flip-flopping," send them here or here, and explain that Kerry's position is actually very simple: "I voted to give Bush the authority to go to Iraq, but then he SCREWED EVERYTHING UP. Lied to the American people, too."

If they go to the tactic of "Kerry won't fight terrorism properly," you can give them Orcinus' summary of how badly Bush has butchered the war on terror.

The Slacktivist has an alarming post about a Texas utility's plan to charge poorer customers more. Class warfare, anyone?

Finally, be sure to review the Poor Man's shocking, SHOCKING revelations found in Kitty Kelley's book! Why, the media will be all over these like stink on poop!

Posted by Carl at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

There's life in the little ballclub yet

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Potomac Cannons and their impending trip to the playoffs. I didn't like their chances. Sure enough, they lost the first game of the best-of-3 semifinal in Wilmington on Wednesday. I went to last night's game assuming it would be the last of the Cannons' season.

Fortunately, I was highly mistaken. The Cannons scored eleven runs in the bottom of the third, and went on to win 14-6. Wilmington pitcher John Gragg, after giving up a second three-run homer in that inning, promptly hit the next batter in the head and was immediately tossed. Fortunately the hitter was OK. Way to show maturity there, pal, good luck getting to double-A next year. Cannons' starter Eddy Valdez did his best to let the Blue Rocks back into the game, giving up two runs each in the 4th and 5th. But Kyle Edens came in after that and looked great: 3 innings, 1 hit, 4 K's.

Not a good turnout. I had figured 500 people; the box score reports 817. And here I was worried that it would be sold out and I wouldn't get it. An interesting crowd, though--definitely baseball fans, an older crowd, not families with kids just looking for an outing. I suppose the recent rains didn't help.

Game 3 is tonight, but I think I'm going to pass--don't want to ditch the family two nights in a row. (E. is at a bad age to take to a baseball game--too mobile to sit in your lap the whole game, too unstable to let her walk around without her falling down the bleacher stairs, and too prone to want to crawl around in the peanut shells and other filth.) Should they pull it off tonight, I'll make it to one of the championship round games next week. Go Cannoons!

Posted by Carl at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

Forgot something

Meant to include this in LFF but somehow it slipped. Kevin watched the RNC so we wouldn't have to. Read August 31 through September 3 (well, read everything, but those are the days with posts about the convention).

Another update from last week: if you enjoyed The Tale of the Worst Show Ever, be sure to check out Joel's additions in the comments to that post. He was there too, y'know.

Posted by Carl at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)


I've been looking for an explanation of what the bastards at the Russian school were all on about, and finally we have it. Interesting stuff. Some truths:

1. Not all groups employing terrorist tactics are working together.
2. Nation-states shouldn't do evil things that lead to oppressed people taking on terrorist tactics. Regardless of whether it merited the school attack, can we agree that what the Russians have done to the Chechens over time has been bad?
3. #2 is not "blaming the victim." The victims are those kids and their parents, and they didn't do squat to deserve anything. I'm blaming the Russian government.
4. In case Glenn Reynolds reads this: #2 and #3 doesn't excuse the Chechen terrorists. You don't target kids. You just don't. Those guys will burn in hell.

But of course, wanting to understand terrorist motivations in order to prevent similar situations is being French an' shit. We must display our resolve by going to war with a totally seperate country. Grunt snort.

Posted by Carl at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2004

Linking Fool Friday

Lots of fodder for a change, what with some sort of Republican hootenanny going on in New York this week.

Everybody has been linking to William Saletan's piece on election 2004 as a referendum on democracy itself. Money quote:

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?

Also at Slate, Fred Kaplan fact-checks Zell and Dick. Zell got his laundry list of weapons programs Kerry supposedly voted to kill from a forwarded e-mail that's been debunked on Snopes. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.

Digby has been on freaking fire of late. I particularly liked this post on those crazy swing voters, which captures my frustration with some undecided voters I know.

SKB has done a guest gig for the Knoxville News this week. His post after Cheney's speech, particularly the list of Kerry quotes on the military, should be printed out so as to be shoved in the face of any partisan hack who says Kerry's soft on defense and would get approval from the UN on everything.

Brian at Resonance proposed a worthwhile challenge for Cheney and Bush's speeches, but to everyone's great surprise it didn't pan out. Oh well.

On the other hand... following a trackback on an Eschaton post, I found an item at the Three Guys blog pointing out that the RNC spew that we lefties dismiss out of hand really does play well with a lot of Americans. "Severly disengaged and uninformed," indeed--I mean, read the interview with Republican delegates who insist W wasn't born wealthy. Some people, too many people, are just going to believe whatever it is they want to believe.

Dag, I'd better find something lighter to end this with. Um... Blug goes to the beach!

Posted by Carl at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Get well soon, Big Dawg

Via TPM and everybody: Bill Clinton to have heart bypass surgery.

Think anyone will accuse him of timing it to take the focus of Bush's nomination acceptance speech?

Posted by Carl at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

Now THIS is scary


(Acknowledged: it's cheap to scan the footage for the split-second when someone looks their worst. But still, hee hee.)

Also, as suggested at the Street, watch the video of Chris Matthews' interview with crazy ol' Zell. Zell says he wishes he could challenge Matthews to a duel. Matthews has actually displayed some relative cojones of late, so props to him.

Posted by Carl at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

You spent two hours searching for a recipe for General Tso's chicken, but...

I've heard a fair number of "undecided voters" state that they don't know what Kerry's platform is. I could understand that coming from someone who doesn't have access to that Interweb thingy and is reliant on our crappy media to get information.

But I'm surprised to hear this coming from people who are Internet-savvy. When geeks such as we need information on something? Google that shit, find the official web site, get the stuff. So have those of you who are wondering about Kerry's platform actually visited You can get the whole plan laid out, and if that's not enough detail you can download a whopping big PDF file with more. A hell of a lot more than has been detailed at the Republican convention so far, where the platform apparently has two planks: "Terrorists are gonna gitcha if you don't vote for Bush" and "Kerry sucks."

This stuff is out there, and if you're smart enough to have a blog or post on a message board, then the Democrats' and/or the media's failure to deliver the platform in convenient bite-size nuggets is no excuse.

Posted by Carl at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)