Catherine Margaret, born Tuesday afternoon. 8 lb., 8 oz., 19 3/4".
Going to be a light posting week. I mean, more so than usual. Owing to what we're doing tomorrow, this post of links has a theme.
Despite not being a father himself, Waiter Rant's advice to this new dad is spot on. Keep the long-term things in the back of your mind (open a 529 account!), but really, just survive, and enjoy, every day.
Salon "trend" article on slapping GPS devices on your kids so they don't get ABDUCTED! by the registered sex offenders who LURK ON EVERY CORNER!!! But as pointed out on page 3, kids are actually safer than they were 30 years ago, and really not very likely at all to get snatched up by the unknown villain in a Morgan Freeman thriller. But thanks to the overplaying of the few unfortunate cases on the nightly news (or as we call it at our house, The Fear Show), more and more people think they have to protect their kids from the Boogie Man at all costs.
Finally, Tor reminds us of the Cavalcade of Bad Baby Names. And thus we shall name this child Cinsere Blaze.
I am a firm believer that the suicide squeeze is underused in modern baseball. It's much like certain plays in modern football, I think, in that the coach/manager wants to do the safe thing, because if he does something ballsy and it doesn't work out, he'll get blamed for it. You'll occasionally see the suicide squeeze if a team has just taken the lead and still has a runner on third; a manager will go after an insurance run that way, and if it doesn't work out, he's still got the lead anyway.
As such, I wish my favorite teams would use the squeeze more often, because it would surprise the crap out of people. And there would have been no better time for it than in the 8th inning of today's Nats game. After a sac bunt attempt and a throwing error, the Nats had runners at first and third and nobody out, and Brian Schneider comes up to the plate. It's 1-1, and the way both teams have been pitching and hitting, one run is probably going to win. The Nats have had a terrible time scoring, so why not try a gimmicky play? Send both runners and have Schneider lay down the bunt. Even if he misses the bunt and Byrd gets tagged out at home, you still have a runner on second who could be driven in with a single. Instead, we got a couple of binky groundouts (hey Ryan Church: in that situation where any ball to the outfield scores the run, SWING HARD!) and yet another Wilkerson K, followed by six innings of futility and an Astros three-run jack by some guy who was hitting .179.
But hey, the Braves lost too. Still in first place, for at least one more day. I'm going to make my prediction right now: Next week's games in Atlanta and Florida will dictate the Nats' fate. Come out with a winning record on that road trip, and they'll make the playoffs. .500 or worse, they won't.
Apparently, the more I bad-mouth a Nats pitcher leading up to a game, the better he pitches. I spent all week telling everyone what a drag it was that I was going to have to watch Tony Armas pitch, how he was a bum who never gets past the fifth inning and who let his team down by succumbing to dehydration last week. So of course Armas takes a no-hitter into the 6th, and goes seven overall in what was easily his best start of the year. To that end, let me say: Patterson sucks! Couldn't throw a strike if his life depended on it. Trade him for a bucket of batting practice balls!
Of course, that one hit was a two-run homer to keep the game close. St. Clair came out to talk to him after that; I suppose he said, "Well, you're pitching a one-hitter. Good job!"
So does this mean the Nats have got their groove back? I'm not so sure. The win again camoflages the overall ineptitude of the offense, which was shut out for 8 innings. And it easily could have been 9--Baerga's "double" was an absolute gift.
Obviously, the real reason the Nats won is that I was there. My "home record" stands at 12-1. Unfortunately for the team, I won't be back for a while. I have tickets to a Cardinals game next month, and I'm not even sure I'll make that one. We'll see.
I have but a few links for you: a proper schooling of that Rick Santorum freak and his family, the obligatory baseball item from TBogg, of all places, and an amusing tale of Hogwarts on the National Mall.
So the rest of this entry shall be Linking Tor Friday, because he keeps sending me stuff. He's provided the Daiquiri Whacker, some sort of grooming device with a really unpleasant animated web site, a $600 million cheese scam (reg required--visit Bug Me Not if necessary), Google's crazy moon satellite maps (be sure to zoom all the way in), and lastly and most importantly, sausage carpet.
Oh look, a rambling, wacky online petition to jettison Screech as the Nats' mascot. Opened yesterday. Goal: one million signatures. Signatures as of this posting: two.
Meh. I'm not signing it. I'm not a huge Screech fan, but neither am I so disenchanted as to raise a fuss about it. And I don't think the team will make a change anyway. The time to do it would have been right when the mascot debuted, not after the All-Star break.
Looks like South Knox Bubba has closed up shop. Anyone know what's going on? Related to his recently being forced to reveal his secret identity?
This bites my ass. His blog is/was among my top ten favorites.
Plenty of blame to go around for last night's Nationals lost, but I am most bothered by Tony Armas Jr. You're a professional athlete, and you get dehydrated? Only pitch two innings, the night after the long man just pitched three and thus can't go? Inexcusable. The guy never goes more than five innings, and takes about 110 pitches to do it. I would take Tomo Ohka back for him in a heartbeat. Seriously, with all the overwork the bullpen has had of late: jettison Wil Cordero, bring up someone from New Orleans to be the fifth starter, and send Armas to the 'pen as a second long man.
Speaking of guys who Frank doesn't like, even if they're performing well on the field, how about pinch-hitting Carroll for Church with two men on in the 9th? Lefty-righty matchups, whatever. Bad, bad, bad move. If Church gets run out of town like Ohka and Day, just because Frank is a cranky old bastard, we will regret it for years to come. A lot of the sports pundit world is praising Frank for getting the team to overachieve, but I still think the team has won in spite of him.
Obviously, the problem is that I haven't been to a game in a while (the Nats are 11-1 with the Big Fool in attendance, and that loss was to my second-favorite Phils). Sadly I won't be correcting that until Saturday.
In other baseball news, after my anti-Fox Sports post, the hits for "Joe Buck sucks" are rolling in. Oddly enough, this site comes in at #4 on Google for "Christian Guzman sucks," and I haven't been anywhere near as harsh on Guzman as some people.
Middle of the 2nd: Bench Club 1, Generals 0.
End 2nd: Generals 5, Bench Club 1.
Mid 3rd: Bench Club 7, Generals 5.
End 3rd: Generals 10, Bench Club 7.
Mid 4th: Generals 10, Bench Club 8.
Mid 5th: Bench Club 13, Generals 10.
End 5th: Generals 13, Bench Club 13.
Mid 6th: Bench Club 18, Generals 13.
End 6th: Generals 18, Bench Club 18.
Top 7th, 2 outs, no one on: still 18-18.
Mid 7th: Bench Club 21, Generals 18. (17 of our 21 runs were scored with 2 outs.)
End 7th: Bench Club 21, Generals 20.
Canadia Rob may like to say "Second place is just another name for first place loser," but I don't care, it feels pretty good, especially after a game like that. There is now another shiny trophy on my office windowsill (prompting me to say "Here the Chort, have a trophy" to myself about every five minutes).
I have the right to remain silent. But I choose to waive that right. LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINKS!
Warning, really freakin' depressing: The problem of meth kids. Good thing our government spends so much time hatin' on weed.
Wolcott again, this time writing on squandering any goodwill Americans had left in the aftermath of the London bombings.
From the Post food section: Taking the office coffee club to a new level. I try not to post about work here, but I will say this: when my company got bought out last year, they took away the Starbucks (not that it was the best coffee ever, but acceptable) and brought in the nastiest, cheapest commodity-level coffee they could bulk order. Nasty, nasty stuff. Someone on my floor needs to become the "ayatollah of coffee." (But it's not going to be me.)
Everyone here in the DC area has heard this, but for the rest of you: The Queen of the Crazy Cat Ladies.
Obligatory baseball item: BallWonk's tale of the Nats' home run derby provides a much-needed chuckle amidst the team's recent run of crappiness.
And finally, via Nats Inquirer: We here at FoolBlog enjoy a good 64-team bracket, as existed for some time at the Tournament of Stuff (R.I.P.?). So we can't help but enjoy The Road From Bristol, a bracket to determine which ESPN personality is the most annoying. Even though there's apparently heretofore unknown hatin' on John Kruk, official all-time favorite athlete of Big Fool Worldwide Enterprises.
(Yes, I did use the term "hatin'" twice in one post.)
Did you catch that moment in the all-star game where Joe Buck pointed out that someone had unfurled a banner over a Chevy ad in the outfield, and he and McCarver debated what it was? And you wondered, "Why would Fox actually show that? Why isn't stadium security rushing to deliver a beat-down?"
Big surprise: All staged. The banner was, in fact, a URL for a lame-ass wanna-be viral marketing campaign, and Fox was no doubt paid to point it out.
Ye FoolBlog has previously received high marks at Google for the phrases "McCarver sucks" and "Joe Buck is crap." So allow me to reiterate: McCarver sucks. Joe Buck is crap.
Nobody compiles a list of Bush administration crap quite like SKB.
Wednesday is the one day of the whole summer when there is no major league baseball. Monday was the home run derby, which is at least baseball-esque, and Tuesday of course was the all-star game. Wednesday? No local games on TV or the radio, no Braves on TBS, no Cubs on WGN, no games on ESPN, no box scores the next morning, nothin'.
Dammit, this sucks. I'm going to go check the Carolina League scores.
I suppose I should stop calling Bobby Abreu "the best-kept secret in the National League." All-star team last year, all-star starter this year, and now an outrageous performance in the home run derby. Good stuff.
I enjoy the home run derby, but I still wish certain members of the media wouldn't take it so seriously. The normally respectable Jayson Stark has a gushing column on how amazing it is that so many home runs were hit at Comerica, one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the majors. Why, Abreu even hit some in the upper deck! That pretty much never happens in regular games! True 'nuff; pitchers don't lob it up there exactly where you ask for it in regular games, either.
Chris Berman: Still annoying, and too many of his home run calls based on his knowledge of the local suburbs.
I haven't felt the need to post on the London bombings. It goes without saying that it's a barbaric waste of life, an insult to humanity, and that it won't successfully further the bombers' agenda, whatever it may be. Of course, that's not enough for some. Jesse has a good post on why debating the badness of terrorism is a stupid waste of time, and only required because of our freakshow that passes for a political environment.
A freakshow, indeed. I particularly loathe wingnuts who claim liberals love radical Islam and want to join with that movement to destroy America. I have yet to see statements by prominent American liberals to that effect, and if you want to look at agendas, the American right is much closer in ideology to radical Islam anyway. Kos breaks it down for you here and here.
More Iraq-related crap: Bush displays the social skills of a cinderblock while meeting while meeting the families of dead soldiers (and in the inevitable sports-related item, note that Bush can remember details of things that actually interest him).
This is a heavy and somber LFF, eh? Draw some inspiration from Digby's thoughts on the 4th of July.
"I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source's identity secret.
Big surprise!...not. Because if it is Karl Rove, Bush will grant him a pardon before he gets frog-marched from the White House in handcuffs. And the vast majority of Americans will fail to give a rat's ass. I've known this since the realization that Rove was the leaker first passed around Olde Blogge Towne. It's kept me from getting my hopes up. So Rove has probably decided to get it over with and out of the way.
To clarify: if Rove is named as the source, and is brought up on charges relevant to releasing the name of a classified operative, he'll be pardoned before it ever comes to trial. Granted, a lot has to happen between now and then, but I'm making my prediction now.
Got an e-mail a few weeks ago asking for details on the John Kruk uniform number-for-beer trade, which I was easily able to provide. The questioner turned out to be a sports columnist for a small-town Alabama newspaper who was writing a piece on the importance of uniform numbers, and wanted to verify the Kruk episode. He didn't quote me or anything, but it's nice to use my unique areas of expertise to help the sportswriters of this country do things right.
My day-night doubleheader was largely successful. It started with the ex-Cannoons, and as was the case last year this mid-week day game was attended primarily by summer day care groups. And as at previous games this season, having a two-year-old in tow made watching the game sort of difficult. We spent about the first two or three innings eating lunch, then spent a couple more innings trying to keep her from worming her way through the gaps in the metal bleachers and plummeting to her death. Mrs. Fool took her for a walk in the 6th, and I actually got to watch the P-Nats stage a four-run rally and retake the lead (a lead they would squander, unfortunately). By the end of the 6th, with the day heating up and nap time upon us, we had had enough. Sadly, that meant missing the 7th inning stretch, the Little Fool's favorite part of the game. So it goes.
The P-Nats put Big Shot out to pasture, and brought on a red white 'n' blue monstrosity called Uncle Slam. I got a picture, but it's... not good. I could put a print on the fridge as a weight loss motivator. We'll try again later, hopefully from a better angle and after I've slimmed down a bit.
Then I was off to RFK for the evening. Second time this year I've seen a future Hall of Famer pitch, and while Pedro did bust out some of the nastiest curve balls I've ever seen, the Nats did just enough to get some runs home. Loaiza out-pitched him; after Guillen made a nice catch in the right-field corner to end the 4th, I thought maybe we were on the road to a no-hitter. Of course, once I entertained that thought, Anderson led off the Mets' half of the 5th with a single.
This may be my last home game for a while. I've sold off all my tickets between now and the Cardinals on August 27, in anticipation of the arrival of the Littlest Fool. I may go see the Astros in a couple weeks, but it all depends.
We've given up on going to the Mall on the 4th, because we get a better show right across the freakin' street. It's a long drive from Virginia to Mexico, but apparently they make it.
UPDATE: Last year, we put the Little Fool to bed before the fireworks got started, and fortunately she slept straight through it. We had just moved in, and I was worried I've have to immediately mark myself as the asshole neighbor, complaining about the nosie. Luckily there was no problem.
This year we let her stay up late. We were out in the back yard when the first major barrage went off. The look of sheer terror on my little girl's face as she ran screaming across the yard to the house was both heart-rending and amusing. I scooped her up, told her everything was OK, and took her inside, where we watched from out the window. By bedtime, she was like, "Hey, look, fireworks! OK, I'm going to play with my trains now."
Via the Nats Blog: Wednesday was the 100-year anniversary of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham's brief major league career. His story as portrayed in Field of Dreams isn't completely perfect, but it's pretty close. "Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy."
Craig Biggio just broke the modern record for being hit by a pitch. Plunk Biggio is a blog dedicated to his noble and painful pursuit.
Finally, via IWSJLH/IATMWWFFYH (whom I thought of this morning because this Post article had a picture of His Jenny), a stunt that only an independent league would attempt: two teams to let geeks play the first two innings on XBox, and count the results as official.
WAIT WAIT ONE MORE: Don't tell George Carlin, he might sue. (Not sports-related!)