My meeting downtown finished up around 2:30, and I hitched a ride with a co-worker to get back out to the office (I took the Metro into town). As we were getting on the highway, I thought, "Why didn't I just go to RFK?"
Because I am stupid, that's why. At least my corporate masters are happy.
With the troubles of Christian Guzman, not so much attention has been paid to Wil Cordero this season. Hasn't played much this year, and when he has, it hasn't been good. Nick Johnson got hurt over the weekend, though, so Frank took the opportunity to run Cordero out to first. These may in fact be Cordero's last games as a big-league player; consensus is that when Jose Vidro comes back off the DL in a few weeks, Cordero will be the guy to go.
So while I'm sure no one is as frustrated at his .036 average as W. Cordero himself, I also hope he's able to enjoy what may be the final days of a respectable big-league career. Last night I found myself very much rooting for Wil to get one last big hit, a final moment of glory, not unlike Jeffrey Hammonds getting a game-winning single, his only RBI of the season, before hanging them up a few weeks later. And in the bottom of the fourth, Cordero came up with a man on third and no outs. He lofted yet another fly to right, good enough to get a run home, his first RBI of the season, and it turned out to be the run that won the game. Not as flashy as a walk-off homer, but still, I hope he enjoyed it.
Next game for the Fool: A day-night doubleheader on July 5. P-Nats in the afternoon, big Nats in the evening.
The two most frequent topics of FoolBlog, the Washington Nationals and angry lefty politics, meet head-on here: Republican Congressmen issue vague warnings to MLB against letting George Soros become part owner of the Nats.
Who's bringing politics into this, again? Has Soros said a word about somehow using the team for political gain? And how would that work, exactly? It's a classic "What would they say if the parties were reversed" moment; if, I dunno, Rush Limbaugh wanted to buy into the team and Dems complained, we'd be called whiners and reminded that it's a free country. And never you mind that lots of big-time Republicans already own teams, or that high-profile Republicans are in fact bidding on the team. IOKIYAR!
Screw 'em. See you at RFK tonight.
Via Pandagon... dude with a vision and plenty of free time + video equipment and editing software available to the masses + the Internet = teh awesome.
Nice to welcome the Nationals back home last night, on what turned out to be a very nice night for a ballgame. Some have complained that the Blue Jays are no longer an appropriate interleague rival, and I agree that the Nats really really really need to play the Orioles, but I still like playing Toronto. Besides the old-school trans-Canada history (I wore my Montreal jersey to RFK last night), you now have Canada's team coming to play in the American capital. Let the Braves and Red Sox play twice a year, and have the Phils and Nats split two series with the Jays and O's (1993 having forever linked the Phillies and Toronto).
I took care of two long-overdue ballpark tasks last night. First, thanks to Don, I found the long-rumored but elusive chorizo. The sausage stand right outside section 303 has them, and they are easily the best thing I've eaten at RFK. Secondly, I had my picture taken with Screech. I used a film camera, so it'll be a week or two, but I finally get that bird up on the site. The saddest thing, however, is that while waiting in line for chorizo, I missed the anthems. As a lapsed hockey fan and wannabe Canadian, I had been looking forward to "O Canada."
Tonight is the floppy hat giveaway, which is tempting. But I have an O's floppy hat, and it doesn't fit too well; I wear it exclusively to mow the lawn. I have a big freakin' head, so there's no reason to go out of my way for a Nats hat that may not fit. Now, the six-pack cooler giveaway in early August, I may have to get out for that one, but it depends on the arrival time of the Littlest Fool.
Oh yeah--someone tell Vinny Castilla to PLEASE stop swinging at the first pitch all the time. Thank you.
Have I got some links for YOU.
Digby puts the smack on those who keep suggesting any document they don't like must be a forgery.
I seem to be linking to Steve Gilliard's blog a lot lately. He posts an eloquent statement by a mother who lost a son in Iraq on just who supports the troops. He also led us to this piece on lions kicking ass and taking names.
Kevin Drum has an interesting post on how anesthesiologists reduced their malpractice insurance bills. Not by capping damages, but by figuring out easily-corrected mistakes and thus reducing actual malpractice. Follow-on piece at Pacific Views.
Somehow or other I stumbled on Post Secret, and there went the next fifteen minutes or so. Alternately funny and moving.
Finally: If, like me, you're out of the loop on new music, here's an opportunity to scope out some new tunes. Salon's Audiofile is holding a "Summer Soundtrack" playlist competition, in which all tracks must be legally downloadable. They've posted three or four lists so far. There's some artists I've heard of, and many I haven't. I need to push 'em to CD and put them on in the car--there's got to be something good in there.
When I learned this spring that Lancaster was getting a baseball team, I said "We ought to go up and catch a game." Mrs. Fool, who spent several years in neighboring York, held me to it. We made the trip Memorial Day weekend.
The horribly-named Clipper Magazine Stadium is a nice little park. They say it only holds 6,200, but it looks a bit bigger than that. It reminds me of Bowie's stadium, with the upper level "luxury" boxes, the open concourse, and the freakin' amusement park down the line. The seating area is all close to the field, so if you're in the seats I'm sure it's quite intimate. Suffice to say, if the ballpark and team had existed 15 years ago, my collegiate summers would have been quite different.
However, we opted for the "lawn seats." They were cheap (just $5, day-of-game sale only), and seemed like a good option with a toddler. Problems, though. The grass hasn't grown in yet, and the lawn area was covered with netting, which I just about tripped over a couple times. Secondly, it's a pretty steep slope, at least where we were down the right-field line. We put a blanket down at the bottom, where it's flatter, but then your view is somewhat blocked by the chain-link fence.
Little matter, as we didn't spend much time down there anyway. There's a mammoth playground down the left-field line, and Lizzie dictated that we spend most of our time there. I paid complete attention to the game for two innings, tops.
This is the Atlantic League, so you can expect two things: washed-up ex-major leaguers, and lousy pitching. Former Cardinal and Phillie and Lancaster favorite son Tommy Herr manages the Barnstormers, and they have walking trivia answer Ryan Minor on their roster. The visiting Camden Riversharks had former Phils Wayne Gomes and Kevin Jordan, as well as jackass holdout Stephen Drew, brother of J.D., recipient of seething hatred from Philly fans forever. Drew hit a grand slam as the Riversharks pummeled the Barnstormers 11-4.
I did get a picture with Barnstormers' mascot Cylo, who is some sort of red cow-like thing. That'll go up on the site in a couple of weeks (I have to take care of some business with a certain fuzzy-headed eagle before I update the site).
The Barnstormers went with a red white 'n' blue color scheme, which is getting overdone. Couldn't they do something more original? Maybe holstein black and white? Or an old-school Padres brown and yellow look?
The rest of the trip will be uninteresting to all except the two of my six readers who have connections to Lancaster. Had a beer with Wetter and Craven, had dinner with Joel and his family, ate at the fabulous Willow Valley family restaurant and at the good ol' Steak-Out, wandered around the mostly-closed campus of my alma mater, swam in the hotel pool, and... wait for it... went to the York Wallcoverings factory store. Yes, that is some exciting life we lead.
Can't wait until LFF: Rather than insisting his remarks be interpreted correctly and truthfully, Sen. Durbin caves in and apologizes for using the word "Nazi" in the same speech as "America."
In the discussion forum for our fantasy baseball league, we were discussing the Yankees' 20-11 pummellation of the Devil Rays, and someone wondered what was the highest-scoring game ever. Answer: Cubs 26, Phillies 23, August 25, 1922. Next question: That must have taken a long time to play, right? Incredibly, no: Right around three hours.
I have noted previously that the biggest complaint of non-baseball fans is that the game moves too slowly. It hasn't always been that way. Credit where it's due, though: the Yanks-Rays monstrosity took only 3:36, not the 4 to 5 hours I was expecting to see.
I hit a home run last night.
An actual, honest-to-god, over-the-fence home run.
Get that? I HIT A FREAKIN' HOME RUN!
Lifting this one from Quev.
1. I've performed on stage at the legendary CBGB.
2. I threw out a first pitch at a minor league baseball game.
3. I ate pizza with Social Distortion.
4. I tipped over 100% for two beers in a Boston-themed bar in Poland.
5. I've worn seersucker pants as part of a wedding party.
6. I've thrown a dead bird across a field with a lacrosse stick.
7. I've been yelled at by Chuck D of Public Enemy.
8. I took pictures of Buck O'Neil autographing a copy of his book for a friend.
9. I was on the ice between periods at a NHL game (and missed, very badly, the shot that would have given me free plane tickets).
10. I have sat in the front passenger seat of a car as a guy punched out the passenger-side front window.
It was a good Father's Day here at Chateau del Vaca. Mrs. Fool picked up on a comment I made about cooking on planks being a hot trend right now, and got me a set o' planks (along with a grill thermometer and a keen little barbecue sauce set). And I didn't waste any time: I made Bobby Fray's planked salmon, simple and lovely with just mustard and brown sugar on top. The only potential improvement would be to put smoke pellets on the fire at the start of cooking--I didn't think of them until two-thirds of the way through. But still, with some grilled sweet potatoes (cut into wedges, olive oil salt & pepper, grill for 30 minutes) and steamed spinach, a lovely dinner.
Hmmm... I ended up cooking my family a nice dinner. Was that Father's Day gift for me or for them? We'll say both.
One of the neighbor kids turns six this weekend. I hope he likes baseball, the Nats, and Jose Vidro, cuz I got him a t-shirt.
If you follow sports at all, you know about the brouhaha in Anaheim Tuesday night: Frank asks ump to check Angels' pitcher's glove, he's got some illegal crud on it and gets tossed, Mike Sciosia (sp?) gets all pissy, the managers yell at each other, the benches clear, Jose Guillen has to be dragged off by four guys lest he rip someone's head off, and in a final bit of awesomeness, Guillen blasts a two-run homer the next inning. Quite the show, but we missed it out here because (A) it was late and (B) MOST OF US CAN'T SEE THE GAMES ON TV. But lo, Wednesday's game was to be on ESPN2! Oh, the excitement on the Nat Fanatics' board; maybe this will be the game when Guillen finally snaps and impales a pitcher with a broken bat shard.
10 PM rolls around, and on ESPN2, it's... Mets-A's. For you see, the national channels have to black out games in the local market. EVEN WHEN THE LOCAL BROADCAST DOESN'T REALLY EXIST. How this MASN deal benefits anyone but Peter Angelos is beyond me (I guess right now it benefits Direct TV, because that's the one place you can actually get MASN games). Tonight's tilt with the Rangers is actually on Channel 20, so I hope Mrs. Fool doesn't expect me to do anything useful after we put the kid to bed.
In that Wednesday night game, newly acquired starter Ryan Drese pitched eight innings of shutout ball. Chad Cordero then loaded the bases in the 9th, but weaseled his way out of it to preserve a 1-0 victory. Crazy-ass Ball-Wonk somehow saw fit to name Cordero, not Drese, his player of the game. To this my comment was, "Mitch Williams. Jose Mesa." Two guys who used to pull that kind of crap all the time, and eventually it came back to bite them. I think Cordero is far superior to either Mitchie-Poo or Joe Table, but still, he was one pitch away from disaster. Rationalize it all you want, but I'll take a blazing 1-2-3 inning over a supposedly masterful (and thus intentional?!?) tightrope act like Cordero's any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Certainly I find 8 shutout innings from our starter more valuable, anyway.
Finally, Nats Inquirer kicks around some ideas for balancing the leagues and tweaking the playoffs that I could get behind. Worth a look.
Ran into FoolBlog reader Andrew F. this week, and he gave me crap for my lack of posts of late. Rightfully so. But you know how it goes: few posts for a couple weeks, then before you know it I'll be putting up three items a day again.
Much talk this week about what exactly "fixed around" means, whether it's possible to condemn actions of the administration without someone jumping around screaming "You think our troops are Nazis?", and just how big of lies the Republicans will have to tell before people sit up and take notice. Here's a fine post on what America is supposed to mean, and how that's being flushed down the toilet, at Obsidian Wings. Legal Fiction takes a Biblical turn on the phenomenon of never admitting you're wrong, no matter how biased the facts are against you.
Good Krugman piece on where health care is going in this country.
More jovially: DCFUD takes a journey to ye Wegmans, a favorite shopping destination of the Fool family. (We actually live out here, so I wouldn't call it a "waste of gas," but that's just me.) And over at WULAD, there are some rather incriminating mascot photos.
Oh, look: Young Republican convention right up the road in Crystal City next weekend. Perhaps we could encourage them to enlist and help out with the war in Iraq that they so staunchly support. More at Jesus' General.
I swear, there is nothing about baseball in this post. No sports at all! Seriously!
At Gilliard's place, more on conservatives having to confront what their beliefs really entail. ODub collects truthful statements. Slactivist rips on the "Not As Bad As" defense.
Finally, this has been kicked around but is still worth linking to: Sadly, No! takes exception to Amber Pawlik's so-called pizza recipe. "Look at this recipe! This woman is deeply sick in the soul!" True 'nuff.
UPDATE: I lied, I'm throwing in a baseball item. BallWonk's take on last night's game is worth a look even if you're not interested in the Nats.
If the baseball season ended today, my three favorite teams would all make the playoffs: the Nats and O's as division winner, the Phils as a wild card. I'd have to take the whole month of October off.
I went to the Nats game last night, solo and without ticket in hand. So I gave myself a little project: Buy the cheapeast seat possible, then move up every inning, hopefully ending up in the front row next to the field by game's end. In other words, get from here
in eight easy steps.
The upper deck is easy. Plenty of empty seats on a weeknight, especially with the rain. The lower deck is a little more zealously guarded, but when I went down stairs after the 4th, I got lucky--the first portal I went down was undefended and I snagged a seat in 321. Things went fine until the 7th, when I realized that each section of the 100 level has its own usher. He or she sits in the back row during the game, then walks to the front railing between innings to watch for poachers. The trick, then, is to follow the usher down the stairs as he makes that move, then once you're in the section, sneak past him as he's walking back up. I didn't quite make the first row--no empty seats. The "beat the traffic" exodus I was counting on didn't happen. I guess when you have seats that good, you don't give them up just to get out of the parking lot or on the Metro faster. Still, second row behind the dugout is pretty good, especially starting with a $7 ticket.
View the full progression at Snapfish (free registration required).
This home stand has been ridiculous, but sadly it's my last game for a while. Family in over the weekend, then the team out of town for two weeks. I'll be back for an old-timey Canadian baseball game against the Jays on the 24th. Let's hope they can keep it going against the M's and on the road until then.
Via Atrios and Gilliard, we have an excellent piece by Driftglass on how most modern conservatives can't ever admit they were wrong, about anything. It's a more detailed and nuanced discussion of what I've long called Type 4 Republicans, those who should know better but are unwilling or unable to take on the task of deep introspection that a change in voting patterns would require.
Today I got a request for reciprocal links from... a contact lens sales site. They had put up a link to the Mascot Photos and wanted one in return. Because when one is searching for pictures of the San Diego Chicken, the next logical step is to buy a year's worth of disposable contacts.
Then there's the e-mail purporting to come from bigfool.com's webmaster, with the subject "Your e-mail account will be closed." The text of the e-mail is gibberish, so it's probably in Cyrillic or something. There's a zip file attached, so maybe this is an e-mail virus rather than spam. Still, I find it amusing, and stupid, to be told that I'll be closing down my own e-mail account if I don't act now.
The most baffling thing, however, is referrer log spam. Every time I check my stats, there are a lot a lot a lot of referrals from URLs that turn out to be online casino or poker sites. I'm the only one who ever sees those logs. I realize it's all automated, but still, it strikes me as a lot of effort to attract the attention of one person, who's never going to play at those online casinos anyway.
Great game last night. In the 11th there was a sensation that I think is just about unique in all of sports. Bases loaded, one out, tie game, Church lofts a fly ball to left. It's not that deep, but deep enough to take a shot. The ball will be caught, the runner from third will head home, and the play will be close. The thrill and anticipation of those few seconds as the ball drifted out to left field (followed by 20,000 people screaming "GO!"), knowing the game was on the line right there, that's hard to match. I suppose a last-second field goal try (if it's not immediately obvious that it's going to be good or not) comes close.
Starting about the 7th we debated every inning whether Livan would come back out. Then we were actually surprised when he didn't come out to pitch the 10th. I wasn't keeping a pitch count, so I was curious, and couldn't believe the number when I finally found out--150. Yes, one hundred and fifty. Ay carramba. But as has been said before, he's not like other pitchers these days. I noticed that his warm-up tosses before the inning starts are just lobs; no point in exerting oneself there, right?
The great pitching performance and the late-inning heroics covered up some pretty lousy Nats offense. Props to Beckett and all, but jeez, four hits. Look at these lines: Guzman, 0-4. Schneider, 0-4. Castilla, 0-4. The only line you'd want to repeat is Johnson, 1-3 with a triple, an RBI, a run scored, and two walks, but even he struck out twice. But it says something about this team that they can be that bad at the plate and still be in a position to win.
Finally, when BallWonk checks his voice mail, he'll hear this: "Mr. Wonk! It's Carl the Big Fool. Where you at? I'm sitting here in 515 admiring Guillen's line shot single*, there. Well, stop by if you have a chance....oh, Johnson just hit one to the wall. SEND HIM! SEND HIM! Guillen scored! Holy crap, Johnson's going to third! He's in! WHOOOOOOOOO! OK, later."
*By which I meant, "Little broken-bat nubber that the Marlins tried to let roll foul, but it didn't."
It's been one of those weeks. I believe I promised a rundown of the Lancaster Barnstormers trip, but hopefully that will get done over the weekend. Just a couple of things, then:
Here's a good pledge: If you oppose stem cell research, then you shouldn't mind agreeing to forego any medical treatments that result from it, no matter how much you might need them. I'm sure we'll get as many signatories as, say, war supporters who actually go and enlist.
Blah de blah Mark Felt. If the press paid half as much attention to modern-day whistleblowers, many of whom aren't anonymous like Felt but risking their careers when they couldn't stand the crap any longer, our political landscape would be much different.
Finally, headlines don't get any better than this: Man sues for $10M in West Virginia toilet explosion.
There are those among us who think that booing at a sporting event is unseemly, something only Philadelphia fans do. As a long-time Philly sports fan, I have to say there are times when it's absolutely appropriate. One such time is after Christian Guzman puts up another 0-for-4. He grounded into two double plays (granted, the first was a nice pick by Furcal, but Guzman of 2000-2001 would have beaten the throw to first), then he popped up a bunt to the pitcher. When he came up again in the 8th with no one on base (and thus no GIDP available), we wondered what he'd do to top himself. Maybe get hit by a pitch, then get picked off of first? We settled for a mere fly ball to center. Yes, he played a fine game in the field, but didn't do anything spectacular. Too easy to kick a guy when he's down? Maybe. But he's not merely bad, he's all-time historically bad. Something has to be done.
The other time we simply had to boo last night was when the Braves fans broke out the tomahawk chop. Their fans were lesser in number than either Cubs or Mets fans at those respective series, and for most of the game they weren't too bad. But when the Braves got a rally going in the top of the 9th, their fair-weather, can't sell out a playoff game followers went into full-throated war whooping, and instantly shot past the Cubs and Mets fans on the Annoying-o-Meter. A lusty boo from the hometown crowd was the only way to drown them out. Some Braves fans behind us took to shouting "Braves!" on the "Nats" beat of a "Let's Go Nats" chant. Not very original, kids. Not very original at all.
Anyway. Three straight, and two from the Braves. A little too adventurous in the 9th, but a win's a win, and I was hoarse after the game. Random thoughts: