Friday, June 29, 2007

Department of Rendundancy Department

Isiah Thomas, what are you thinking? Why is it everytime we have a player that fills a need for us, you get two of them. We needed a glue guy/defender at the 3, so we draft Renaldo Balkman AND sign Jared Jeffries. We needed a slashing guard, so we trade for Stephon Marbury AND trade for Steve Francis. Now, we compliment Eddy Curry, points in the paint/turnover machine, with the PF version in Zach Randolph (now with rebounding!).

What is the vision for this team? Look at the Spurs and what they accomplished. They've built their franchise by emphasizing the little things that make a team a winner: fundamentals, defense, free throw shooting (save Duncan), balanced inside-outside scoring and a strong bench. We're building our team through middling picks and high priced cast-offs. This Randolph deal may jack up our team's stat rating on NBA Live, but it's a questionable move and one that may not pay off.

There comes a point when you have to ask yourself what these trades really accomplish. Yes, Randolph will take some heat off of Curry and the days of triple teams may finally be gone, but he's still not the great defender we needed to compliment the black hole that is our defense inside. Worst of all, that beautiful cap space that I've dreamed about attaining when Marbury, Rose, Francis, et. all come off the books in two years is gone with Randolph's 4 year/$61 mil pact. Enough spinning the wheels. We could've had our pick of the free agent litter, ideally LeBron, in 2009, now we're stuck with a guy that has proven time and again he can't keep his nose clean. I give him 2 months into the season before he's arrested again, and in New York, it will be a major, major distraction.

Now, outside of my initial reaction (which involved a lot of frothing at the mouth, throwing things, and screaming at Pulp on the phone), I'm not all doom and gloom on this deal, strictly because we gave up very little (although I'll miss Channing Frye's acting ability on the Garden big screen during timeouts), but now all we have is an even more crowded rotation of incomplete players. With all the names being thrown around this offseason that could've filled needs, guys like Kobe, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen (outside shooting), Rasheed Wallace (interior defense), Shawn Marion and KG (everything), the fact that we somehow ended up with the only guy that won't compliment our core really gets under my skin. I'm not saying we were going to get any of those guys above, but this deal felt like a consolation prize. It's too early to write the book on this deal, and I really, truly hope that this deal works out and I'm proven totally wrong, but unless another deal is going to follow this one so we can clear out our glut of dedundant players, I'm not satisfied.

Draft Props

Got to give some props to Mr. Isiah. I liked the trade of Frye and Steve Francis for Zack Randolph. Stevie was a mess in NY, and it wasn't going to get any better. Frye, while a good big-man prospect, was not going to play over David Lee and Eddie Curry. Now the Knicks have Randolph and Curry, along with Lee for potentially the best big man rotation in the East. Portland did okay in the deal as well. Fyre is a nice prospect, and along with Aldridge and Oden, form a very potent rotation for future. Hopefully Stevie Franchise will negotiate a buy-out, and try to restart his career. Maybe a certain franchise in Houston that needs a point guard might be interested? Hmmmmm? Dan? Thoughts?

I loved the Sacramento Kings pick, because slow big white centers who don't rebound well always succeed in NBA. Seriously, from choosing a coach who's previously experience was as the coach of a decent college team in mediocre conference, to drafting Spencer Hawes, to the continuing mess of Bibby and Artest, assures me that the Kings will not be much competition in the West for at least a little while. That Damn you East Coast Conference!

For my Warrior babble, check out here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dick Cheney: The New Monster

Dick Cheney has been around for a long time. He has been a House Minority Whip, a Secretary of Defense and the Vice President. That's worth some major political pointage. In fact, I believe there is some exclusive club inside the beltway that numerically measures that idea, perhaps the Three Federal Position club, that included only fifteen men before him. Then they make little lists like that in bars, after "The People" have gone to sleep. Ted Kennedy winds up getting angry like Bushido and yells that Newt Gingrinch is one of the Top Five Speakers of the House of Representatives in the history of the nation.
Lately, the hits are piling on to the bald headed oddity of a snarling man. He finally stretched things too far and he used terms that were pain and non confusing. Dick Cheney believes there are four branches of government. Our nation has fundamentally changed to the Legislative, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Vice President. That we all joked of is absolutely confirmed with finality: Dick Cheney is the most powerful person in the country.
So returns the downright thuggery of Nixon and other slippery sunsa-bitches that came before. Bless this nation for its ability to change slowly, like a big retarded toddler, rather than in chaotic warfare, like a nine year old on Ritalin. It's all good and fine that journalists are ironically and deservingly (and metaphorically) shooting Cheney in the face with sharp, pointy commentary. Thank you Slate, Washington Post, New York Times and the Independent for kicking him in the nuts. It makes me feel a little better.
Alas, every bit of that little is a guilty pleasure. It's still obvious to the cynic that Dick Cheney will not be hurt by these attacks. He will definitely not be impeached, especially with Alberto Gonzalez sticking around with easy protection. The question is whether or not there is even a purpose in deining the negative clouds Dick Cheney sends pulsing through the American sky. We are in danger. What to do, America.

Bye J-Rich

No one can say that Chris Mullin doesn't have courage. Mullin has traded the icon in Warrior land, Jason Richardson, to gain a potentially great big man in Brandon Wright, as well as gain a 10 million dollar trade exception. I like J-Rich. He's played hard every day as a Warrior, and showed his commitment to the fans of the bay when he paid for a newspaper ad at the end of last season promising that the Warriors would make the playoffs the following season.


He didn't handle the ball well. He was a streaky shooter. He was a poor free-throw shooter. He has trouble passing out of double teams. He was a lousy defender. He was a limited player. He wasn't Mitch Richmond. He wasn't a franchise player. He was a really good shooting guard. And unfortunately for Jason, the Warriors now have plenty of those. What they didn't have was any 6-10 super athletic power forwards. And considering that Oden and Durant have suddenly come into the league, getting one of those 6-10 guys was important.

On the Warrior roster, Baron Davis and Andris Biedrins are more valuable then Richardson. Monte Ellis is probably more valuable. And you could even make an argument for super crazy Stephen Jackson. So the Warriors traded their fourth/fifth best player for a potential great power forward, a ten million dollar exception, and enough cap room to re-sign Monte Ellis, Andris Biedrins sign Matt Barnes, and potentially someone else.

I will miss J-Rich. I'll miss his heart, his hustle, and his professionalism. But Mullin made the trade with the intention of making the Warriors better. And I think he did.

Holy Shit

Set off the fireworks, plan the parade, cue the Polyphonic Spree, because Pulp's boyhood idol just punched his surefire ticket to the Hall of Fame. Craig Biggio, in almost complete anonymity has climbed the mountain of 3,000 hits and finally quieted the sneering jackals who would attempt to keep him out of baseball's hallowed ground.

I still find it somewhat odd that a player on the Houston Astros of all teams would have been my favorite when I was a kid. Then again, growing up a Met fan in the early 90s, who was I supposed to turn to, Wally Whitehurst? I mean, we all like alliteration, but one must draw the line somewhere. Jeff Innis? I only liked him because he was abducted by aliens. So when my 9 or 10 year old self was flipping through baseball cards and saw the guy who was a catcher then second baseman and he could hit, I recognized him as a guy to follow.

But what really did it for me was Biggio's actions at a game I was at. My family used to go to a few games in the box seats near the third base dugout, in the era when it didn't cost a month's salary to do so. The Mets were playing the Astros, and they were probably losing, as this must have been 1994 or 95. As the Astros came running in off the field, I started yelling towards Craig Biggio. "CRAIIIG! CRAIIIIIG!" I didn't really have much of a plan after that. But Biggio took note of me and rolled the ball used in the last out across the dugout to me.

Now, that was amazing enough. But about a year later, I went to another Mets/Astros game with my dad. That day, I left school real early so that I could try to get Biggio's autograph. Of course I brought my ball. And when we got to Shea, there was Biggio, down by the third base dugout signing autographs. I got in and gave the ball to him.

"You gave this to me last year."
"Did I really?"

He laughed and signed the ball, and I was about as happy as an 11 year old could be. My hero had just signed the baseball that he gave me. I still own that ball and will continue to treasure it. Even if Biggio hadn't gotten his 3,000th hit, even if he hadn't finally got himself into a World Series and even if he hadn't put together a surefire Hall of Fame career, it will always be my most treasured baseball collectible.

Congratulations Craig.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Different Day, Different Story

On one day, two baseball fans go to a game featuring a lopsided pitching matchup and weak offensive output by the beloved home team, resulting in a flat game and the prospect of a loss. Despite this, a jovial evening occurs, as both fans know how to entertain themselves at a live baseball game due to their long friendship and similar sense of humor. Still, after witnessing a dramatic ninth inning comeback, followed by a sage quote on baseball from one fan's father, it seemed as if everything would be alright. This would prove false starting with the first batter of the top of the 11th.

On another day, a solitary baseball fan sits in his apartment on a muggy summer night. No cable, no fan or air conditioner and barely any food in the kitchen, he finds himself alone save for the radio and his scattered thoughts. Seeking to fill them, he half listens to the game and half listlessly drifts through the internet. He notices the same lopsided pitching matchup and weak offensive output, though in this case the home team's ineptitude is outmatched only by the ineptitude of the hated visitors. As opposed to the jovial nature of the live game, the atmosphere in the apartment is stifling and determinedly not funny. It's hot. Things do not seem like they will be alright. Yet in this case, Mother Nature intervenes and saves the fan from the possible blown lead and teeth gnashing that would follow.

Baseball should always be so kind as to reassure after cruelly reinforcing its tricky nature. This, I suppose is what separates being a fan of team like the 2007 Metropolitans and the 2007 Pirates for example or the Orioles. Each day, fans of those teams live under the impression that things will always get worse, no matter what their attitude is. I don't mean to denigrate these fans. Any Met fan in the 1990s or between 2002 and 2004 knows of the march of no hope. Fortunately this year for Mets fans, or team does not seem keen on piling on to whatever worries we have, even if we aren't always rewarded for being True Believers.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Like-a the Gomez

Or: How I Learned to Stop Moping and Love the Green
AKA: Don't Write It Up Til the Fat Lady Sings

Here's how this post was gonna start:

"But that's all really.

From Howie Rose's obsessive chiding of young Carlos' second big league homer (which got to be a little long in the tooth, in the opinion of your humble narrator) to our dead ass offense, tonight's game was not much fun."

So yeah, I started the write-up a little early, but I figured even if we one it would be something lame like a walkoff groundout. Then as I was sending some pictures to our fellow bloggers over at Faith and Fear, Shawn Green rocketed a ball to deep right...but foul. Great, figured I, here comes the strike out. But ah, it was not the strike out, it was the ball three next. How intriguing. Then the home run came and I was very happy, because a home run is definitely not the strike out. Hooray! Four straight wins! Bonus pretzel for not letting Atlanta gain ground as they get to beat up on the Nationals. But now let's get analytical.

The Mets beat the Cardinals 2-1 tonight. If Chris Carpenter were pitching, I would have no problem with this. But I'm going to take some time here to be concerned over the fact that the Metropolitans managed 3 (three!) hits against Mike Maroth and a procession of clowns that ended on Old Man Springer. I just can't seem to figure out what's up with this offense, and it makes me nervous. A win is a win is a win yes, but getting shut down my Mike Maroth does not make for happy times.

Also not making for happy times is the news of Chris Benoit's death. The man was a class act and deserving of his own post. Know that in the coming days myself and possibly Slammer will be here to pay tribute.

Stop...Just Stop

I just can't deal anymore. Is there anyone in higher office out there willing to take responsibility for anything at all? Other than a strong economy or winning a war I mean. I'm sorry that this is getting all whiny and emo already, but I just don't know what to do anymore.

Christie Todd Whitman and Rudy Giuliani are sniping at each other for the air quality problems in Lower Manhattan and Ground Zero that came out as a result of 9/11. I know, what a shock, two huge fucking buildings fall down, spraying their debris and debris from the airplanes that hit them everywhere, and somehow dangerous levels of mercury, asbestos and PCBs get in the air.

Though if you asked George Bush, Rudy or Christie, they would have told you that you were nuts, that there's no such thing as air pollution and that you've gotta get down there, shop and take big, freedom filled gulps of air. So the rescue workers went in there with no respirators, putting their lives at even greater risk, and we all showed up to support them and stare at it all wondering if it was real. I was one of those people. I still remember when I went with my father, in December I think, down to Ground Zero. From blocks away in the subway station you could smell it. It smelled like death and twisted metal and it looked like too. The skin of the towers was still standing somehow, defiant to the end despite the fires raging underneath them. Now people are dead and dying and this issue is somehow a game of fucking political football.

People are dead and dying merely because they did their job, because the people who were supposed to be there to protect them were too macho or too incompetent to admit that a little extra safety gear and a smidgen of precaution wouldn't make us look weak. And instead of owning up, we get sniping, backpedaling and denials.

I don't want to hear anymore lectures on responsibility from governmental leaders anymore, ever. How do these people raise their children? How is this country still standing for that matter? Sometimes I think we're just a perpetual motion machine, that a monkey could run the country, because it obviously doesn't matter who's running it.

I shouldn't be surprised though, and I guess I'm a little disappointed in myself that I care about this. Tex, Ush, why did we become poli-sci majors? We were already cynics when we started, and four years of education in our field only confirmed that we weren't gonna change anything. Yet somehow I sit here on the city payroll, with a job designed to do one thing: make my boss look good at all costs. Boffo for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This Seems More Familiar

It figures that on the day the Mets go for a sweep in the first time in the month of June, I get called away to some god damn parade in the Bronx. And it also figures that the time of the start moves up from 12 to 1, all but guaranteeing I miss the game. Sure I got to see the last two half innings, but the game was well in hand by then.

Not that I mind. Coming home in a foul mood and seeing your squad up 8-2 makes the day oh so much better. Puts you in a mood so good you don't throw something at the television when Scott Schoeneweis comes in. No lead is safe in his hands after all. But for today, an 8 run lead calmed his nerves enough to remind him he's an extremely well paid major league reliever and he ought to act like it.

High fives all around, from Reyes down to Maine, and an especially big one for the home run hittin' Stache. The guy Joe Mauer thinks is handsome didn't have his big game under my watchful eye, but if Jose is gonna be bashful, that's just fine with me.

Now, it's not as if the Mets beat Cy Young out there tonight. But during this awful god damn month, whether the pitcher's name was Cy Young, Evil Cy Young, Bizarro Cy Young or Definitely Not Cy Young, the offense seems to have had a ton of trouble. So scoring 9 and 10 runs in two games this series makes Pulp smile.

I don't really know what this sweep means. I do know the fact that the team hasn't self destructed after walking around with a gaping wound all month is a good sign. We're all still here and we're all still in first place and for now, that's good enough for me.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ricky Was Safe

But I'm not bitter. Who can be bitter after watching their team finally pull itself out of a series tailspin and in such inspiring fashion? And everyone loves a walk-off, even bugs and spiders. Oh, there could have been anger and nasty words in this post, decrying Marvin Hudson and wondering where one draws the line between being beaten by good pitching and just not hitting. Turns out I only need to do one of those.

So screw you Marvin Hudson, I hope you're the first one they replace with a robot. Yes, that pitch was probably a strike. No, Paulie's antics were not in good taste, but either is throwing a guy out after the argument seems to be over and he's getting back in to the batter's box. That would be like telling a dictator to let weapons inspectors in, then when he does, pulling them out and starting a war. I mean, can you imagine something like that happening in this world we live in? Me neither. Now, thanks to your insistence that we the fans pay to see you, the rule enforcer, our catcher is gonna have less money to woo teenage admirers and is probably looking at a 3 day suspension, minimum.

The argument did allow us to see Paul LoDuca's crazy face again, which is always awesome. Someone oughta rip off Gary's suggestion and put LoDuca's "crazy eyes" face on a poster, you could use it to terrify children the elderly and pregnant women.

And that call at the plate...tie goes to the runner jackass, and if Ledee didn't slide in first, Kendall got him as his hand touched the plate. But I guess that doesn't matter when you're looking to punish a team, does it?

Egads I'm acting bitter. OK, one last thing before I get back to the good. Carlos Delgado is obviously bringing his hitting out to the field with him these days. In the past three games I've seen on TV, he's managed to boot a ton of easy plays. And when you aren't on a pace to hit 40 homers, the booting becomes very unhelpful to people like me liking you. Because I do like Carlos Delgado, always have. Which is why this year hurts me so. Come on Carlos, pull the javelin outta my hand already, will ya?

But on to the good, for us anyway. For starters, we finally won a freakin series again, which can hopefully ease some stress on the team and set them back to playing like the were in the far off days of May or even better, April. El Duque was nasty with a silent K in front of it tonight, and the fact that he finally fooled someone with that Bugs Bunny curve (Eric Chavez might just want to retire out the shame of it all) was a joy to see. The Stache, error aside, made a clutch play ranging towards first to keep a run from scoring on a play that proves that nothing gets by Ol'Stachey. And finally, Travis Buck, obliging us all and channeling his inner Cliff Floyd, making up for "throwing out" Ricky Ledee earlier in the game.

If Buck was the unfortunate victim of a karmic bitchslap, I can't imagine what happened to Marvin Hudson on the way home. Attacked by snakes? Trampled by wild horses? Aggghgghgh bees? One can only hope. And there I go being bitter again. Ah well, guess you can't teach a young prick new attitudes.

Twice as Nice

I'm kind of reluctant to post, considering the last baseball post I did that wasn't all name calling coincided with the worst Mets' stretch since the dark days of Art Howe, but I will soldier on, because the blogosphere needs me damn it.

Going to two games in one week is a rare occasion for me, as it probably should be. Not that I wouldn't want to go to 81 home games, but who can really afford that? I mean, some people can I guess, because that's how they sell season tickets, right? Where was I?

Ah yes, going to two games. Oddly enough, both games involved me going with people from the Deadspin universe, a universe kinda like the Ultimate Marvel universe, but with more superpowers. It would have been cool if the first game had been a win, but instead I got to watch the Mets get shellacked by the Twins and witness the Scott Schoeneweis era take an ugly turn: he was booed the moment he was stepped out of the bullpen. Not that he hasn't earned it. When I went to that game, I had with me but one fellow Deadspinner. I was hoping that going with a few more could help matters. So how many did I go with?
This many, give or take a few that didn't make the picture (sorry Metschick). This was a much better time. Instead of the Mets getting shellacked, they did the shellacking. A perfect night out really, with pre-game drinking, at game drinking and post-game drinking (though a certain asshole bouncer obviously has manliness issues). All that really marred the evening was a mysterious exploding ketchup packet that some random asshole must have stomped on. During the cleanup, myself and Bushido missed a Beltran homer, but at least we saw the Shawn Green one earlier in the evening.

So I learned a valuable lesson: never go to a game with just one Deadspinner, bring an army and you just might have a chance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Putzes Putzes Everywhere

And not a thought to think.

That is the saying, right?

When you get away from the world for a week, live in a tent and do a lot of drugs, you tell yourself that life is pretty sweet and the world isn't such a bad place. Then you come home and see that thought is so influenced by the drugs that you wanna drop out and start eating them again. But I will soldier on and be uber-meta by critiquing a fellow blogger. And by critiquing, I mean calling names. Horrible names. Just remember, I do it all for you.

When I went on Deadspin this morning, one of the first things I saw was a post alleging that the Mets are set to get the race war going. Now, Will Leitch should be faulted for linking to this trash, but then again, I don't know if he's ever met an unsubstantiated rumor he didn't like. But more at fault should be the schmuck teenager who made it all up. I'm not linking to this drivel because then one of you, our six readers, would go to it and give him more hits and the publicity stunt would be validated. Go look for it on Deadspin if you really want to.

Anyway, this Nazi sympathizer claimed that Julio Franco of all people, is at the forefront of a racial divide in the Met clubhouse, splitting the Latinos against the non-Latinos. Julio Franco, who invented baseball, who loved the game so much and was so humble that he played in Mexico and Japan after he couldn't hack it in America was accused of being a racist and a clubhouse cancer. Julio Franco, who showed his leadership in full view of the TV cameras last year by getting Carlos Beltran to go out for a curtain call, has been accused by some piss drinking teenager of acting exactly the opposite way a leader would act.

This of course of course was all thanks to an "anonymous source", who my anonymous source tells me is actually this kid's PCP dealer. The little rat claimed that he knew this source from his time at Metsblog, but Matt Cerrone smartly slapped his ass down and let the world know that in no way did this kid (and by kid I mean young goat) get himself any sources in his brief time at Metsblog. Following this internet style hit, the young douchebag begged off the attention he was getting, claiming he didn't want to affiliate the story with Metsblog (uh huh) and that this really wasn't a publicity stunt. Of course it wasn't. Neither was Paris Hilton's sex tape. Neither was John Kerry's service in Vietnam. Ooooh, I didn't! Remove the chain, because that's off it!

Normally this wouldn't matter at all, but like I said, this shit got posted on Deadspin, and not just in the Blogodome section. It got its own featured post, which means anyone who reads Deadspin read that and probably believed it. Feeding tits to the wet dreams of every racist in New York who can't stand that the Mets are more Hispanic than white is irresponsible and stupid. So in conclusion kid, you shut the fuck up and you shut the fuck up, that's what the fuck you do.

This post would be called "How to Get Linked on Deadspin Without Really Trying", but there's someone else I need to turn by literary shotgun on and blast to teeny tiny pieces. His name is Wallace Mathews.

Slammer and Bushido are probably familiar with the uninformed rantings of Wally Mathews, but for everyone else, here's the deal. He's absolutely the meanest, bitchiest, most sourpuss baseball writer in New York. He's already on a crusade to run A-Rod out of town (because apparently the Yankees don't benefit from having the best player in baseball on their team), and now he's turning his ire onto Carlos Beltran. There was really only one thing that bothered me about this specific column from Monday's paper, aside from the general feeling that Beltran has never been given a fair shake in this town. Wallace says, and I quote:
For a guy who cashed in one phenomenal week in October as if it were a lottery ticket
blah blah blah and so on. I won't even bother finishing the quote because I hate Wally Mathews so much. But he's not the only one who's said things like that, and that's what's so god damn irritating to see it still being repeated in 2007. I'm not saying that Beltran didn't boost his price by having his amazing playoff run, but the idea that Beltran got his contract because of that is absurd. If Carlos Beltran was merely a mediocre centerfielder with some tools, the Royals would never have traded him for prospects out of a fear of not affording him. The Astros wouldn't have picked him up for a playoff push and they certainly wouldn't have fucking traded their lights out closer to get him.

Seriously people, Carlos Beltran was a phenomenal baseball player coming into his free agent year and everyone knew he was about to get his ass paid. Seriously paid. But then again, I guess it doesn't really help anyone's bullshit argument to say that all Beltran did was cash in on five great seasons and put up MVP-type numbers for the Mets last year. Yes, let's be pricks and ignore reason and logic and stick to the Big Lies. Because that sure as hell is easier than, oh, I don't know, using our brains.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The News Gets Worse

Despair Tex, despair more than normal, because I'm here to report that local politics are just as dumb, if not dumber than our little imbroglio in DC (I spelled "imbroglio" on the first try. Hooray for me.) First children, I will explain how things work in government when one sends a letter.

See, in the real world, when one sends a letter asking for information, the receiver of the letter looks over it and answers it, even if the answer is "Speak to my lawyer." Having been involved in two mass mailings here at work, I can tell you this does not happen when the government is involved. First, you mail the letter. Then you wait a week for middling response from perhaps one percent of the targets. Then? Then you call. And call. And talk to people who magically never received your letter, be they business owners or school principals. The calling will take you at least a week, during which you will say the same line over and over again, desperately hoping the phones will lose service and release you from the torture.

And don't even expect people in government to give you even a cursory call back, even if their title is "Director of Intergovernmental Affairs", a job which merely entails keeping people like me happy. No, the telephone and the letter are two pieces of technology that government has yet to understand.

But how about something truly visionary? Surely elected officials have an eye on the future and want to hear new and exciting ideas regarding said timeline. Nope, wrong again. I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch the public hearing in the New York State Assembly regarding Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing. And I gotta say, I was horrified.

Congestion pricing may not end up being the fix all for city traffic, but damn if it isn't at least a good revenue raiser for a frequently cash strapped city. And here were old men with no future short of Country Kitchen Buffet grasping at straws, feigning concern for places they've barely heard of, just to block a plan that could make real change.

These are two of the many reasons that by next March, my grand plan is to take up the trade of bike messenger and live in squalor in Bed-Stuy. I'll probably get robbed, but I least I won't feel slimy. There is some good news however: Lindsay Lohan is the coke fueled suicidal bi-sexual we always hoped she would turn into.

I Read the News Today

Oh Boy.

You see, it's been a while since I've looked into the political world. The Status Quo dictates that we peer at things through a looking glass and wave a banner in hopes that it drives this mass of crazed morons to overrun the robot-filled suit of every hardened criminal company inside of the D.C. limits.

Of central interest today on MSNBC was a vote to change the didey of the Attorney General... err, Rather, hold a vote about whether or not we are confident in him.

Whatever the hell that means. "Confident." Between the obvious partisan split that was to take place and lack of punch and votes provided in the gesture, this could be swept aside as meaningless without the gravy of the problem by which it is surrounded.

This society is politically stupid. It's been said before and played too many times but it's still as right as ever. Try an experiment today and take a poll of some of the people around you to get a figure on the name recognition of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzalez is far from a President but he is in the Top Ten in the line of Presidential Succession and actually has a cabinet position that is supposed to attend to real duties and responsibilities.

The Democrats are calling out Gonzales for hiring people because of political leanings, as if the Democrats don't hire people for political leanings. The Republicans keep standing up and wasting time talking about how they should be talking about something else. Alberto Gonzales and George Bush shoot America four fat middle fingers. We're not paying attention to anything but the NBA Finals, the Sopranos fallout, the latest dreck from Fox and where we will indulge in beer, BBQ and titties next month on the fourth.

The open question: Don't we have a war to worry about here? Can't society burn more steam than merely hanging a sign on a freeway here or there or attend a rally for a major organization that supports horrible terrorists in other parts of the world? ANSWR practically supported the genocide in Kosovo! Do I have to be a socialist to protest? Is there another way to protest altogether?

Draw war on a couple of stop signs. Send in the letters, as trivial as they seem. Send so many that the pile the office your damn congressman and drown it in its own creation. Logos loses most battles because the smart people sit out from hopelessness. Who can blame?

And yet this is still actually a pivotal time in US history to put together a sane and rational opposition and deconstruction of the war. I realize there is an anti-war movement but it hardly appears to be constructed. Everybody get on a soapbox grandstand and cross your fingers.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Chris Loves Paris

Christopher Hitchens has lost his god damn mind. This comes from somebody who's immensely enjoyed reading him on Slate. His stubborn cheerleading for Iraq continues to be well, stubborn and boneheaded, but a man can't live in an ideological bubble. He sounded much more intelligent, for instance, than either Georges Bush or Galloway, which should trouble liberals and conservatives alike. He did have his moments though. His rants against god's servants were frequently bloodthirsty and vile and funny, which someone needs to do. Plus he's apparently drunk all the time or something. But now he's done something completely unforgivable.

Christopher Hitchens is taking Paris Hilton's side.

Ghastly, I know. Of course, he's not looking at this situation to make a greater point about celebrity or fame or whatnot. He's here to defend a "child." A 26 year old child, but a child nonetheless. And why does Chris say we hate her?

Not content with seeing her undressed and variously penetrated, it seems to be assumed that we need to watch her being punished and humiliated as well. The supposedly "broad-minded" culture turns out to be as prurient and salacious as the elders in
The Scarlet Letter. Hilton is legally an adult but the treatment she is receiving stinks—indeed it reeks—of whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse.

Oof. Well, Chris always was harsh on us, his lessers. Of course, the idea that Americans hate Paris Hilton for her sex tape of all things is too funny. It's so out of touch it's almost adorable. Not only did that sex tape come out when I was still living in the dorms, it launched the celebrity and pseudo-celebrity sex tape trend. It also catapulted "The Simple Life" into everyone's consciousness who tried to ignore it before.

So why does everyone hate Paris Hilton? Hitch is right to call it populism, but this is a special breed of populism. Paris is an idiot no talent billionaire, so pretty much everyone with talent or not a billion dollars can despise her. It takes a lot of balls to declare yourself a celebrity merely because you fell in to mommy and daddy's money. I defy anyone to tell me that's not how it happened with Paris Hilton. No, America hates a debutante nowadays, and why shouldn't we? Paris Hilton and her rich friends have shown America that bluebloods are just as inbred and retarded as the ones featured on The Critic (zing!). Her album? A bomb. Her movies? One bomb (a remake at that) and everything else pushed directly to DVD. And in this entire time of her fame, Paris Hilton has portrayed herself as a rockheaded moron. If it's all an act, than it sure is convincing. And it still isn't anyone's fault but hers.

I cannot imagine what it might be like, while awaiting a prison sentence for a tiny infraction, to see dumb-ass TV-addicted crowds howling with easy, complicit laughter as Sarah Silverman (a culpably unfunny person) describes your cell bars being painted to look like penises and jokes heavily about your teeth being at risk because you might gnaw on them. And this on prime time, and unrebuked. Lynching parties used to be fiestas, as we have no right to forget, and the ugly coincidence of sexual nastiness—obscenity is the right name for it—and vengefulness is what seems to lend the savor to the Saturnalia. There must be more than one "gossip" writer who has already rehearsed for the day that Paris Hilton takes a despairing overdose. And what a glorious day of wall-to-wall coverage that will be!

I think I just included this to point out that Chris is really serious about his whole "women aren't funny thing", though he's the one who makes Silverman's joke completely stupid. Oh, that and it's really really really insulting to compare making fun of Paris Hilton's sexual antics to a lynching. I expect better than that out of a tubby bearded limey.

Stuck in my own trap of writing about a nonsubject, I think I can defend my own self-respect, and also the integrity of a lost girl, by saying two things. First, the trivial doings of Paris Hilton are of no importance to me, or anyone else, and I should not be forced to contemplate them. Second, she should be left alone to lead such a life as has been left to her. If this seems paradoxical, then very well.

No, Paris Hilton's life shouldn't be paid attention to by the likes of Hitchens. He's way out of touch and ends up saying silly things like Sarah Silverman isn't funny. Plus, unless he's willing to feed the kids of all those US Weekly editors, I don't see how Hitchens can possibly tell us Paris Hilton should be left alone.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Better Brand of Baseball

I was watching Fox's pre-game show yesterday afternoon when they threw up a graphic on the screen that the Diamondbacks were 17-7 since some date or other. This is a statistic that many people like to use to prove that...I don't really know. Unless it's stretched out over a long course of time, like the annual summer ritual of the A's not losing or the ridiculous Astros run in 2005, these statistics measure what is typically a fraction of a baseball season to I guess make a team look better than it is or to show that a player is en fuego. Of course, for all of their hot play, the D-Backs are currently 34-24, which means they were 17-17 before that. Not that I mean to disparage the Diamondbacks, who took a series from the Mets this afternoon.

But I wondered to myself why I never see the Mets propped up on one of those stupid stats explaining that since Jupiter crossed with Pluto, the team was 24-6. I do after all, enjoy nice things being said about the Mets. Then I used my brain and looked through the Mets schedule and discovered something fantastic.

The Mets have played 19 series so far this year. Out of those 19 series, they've won 13, lost 5 and tied 1. They haven't been swept all year, and their longest losing streak has been 2 games. Out all the first place teams right now, only the Red Sox and Padres haven't been swept in a series, and the Padres have had two 3 game losing streaks. No wonder the Mets never show up on these things. They just play amazingly consistent baseball. There are no desperate wild stretches where things seem to be dropping right and they're just pulling through. No, this team just goes about its business of winning quietly and efficiently. It's more news now when the Mets don't win. So really, it's alright with me that they lost this series, because this year, when we say they'll get 'em tomorrow, it's almost always true.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Sinking Ship

Also come to be known as "Houston Baseball." After every miracle run that could be squeezed from the legs of our aging stars and rentaplayers was exhausted, the machine fell into a pile steaming crap. There is actually the foundation for a good starting rotation for a long time to come(Roy Oswalt, Jason Jennings,Chris Sampson, Wandy Rodriguez, and Brandon Backe if his health returns well) but it does little to ease the troubles that arise in the pen, overall offense and weak bench. The Bayou Buzz has scored the fifth worst amount of runs in Major League Baseball. The team batting average is .250 and includes the "never before seen inconsistent"Lance Berkman (.244) as well as Super Craig Biggio 3000 Hits Edition. Berkman leaves me speechless. Biggio's quest for 3000 hits could not have come at a worse time. I understand that he needs them to ensure a much deserved Hall of Fame enshrinement. That said, he probably has been the block that ruined Chris Burke's career and is absoutely killing run production. Biggio is as automatic an out as Adam Everett and Brad Ausmus have been for the last five years in the Astro lineup. To make matters worse, he is usually toward the top of the lineup rather than the bottom.
As for Everett(.214, .562 OPS) and Ausmus(.235, .639 OPS), both have been kept around for the glove but it's just too much dead weight at this point. Everett's offensive performance is so poor he would have to play two positions at the same time and win Gold Gloves at both to even be close to worth it. Ausmus is older and experienced and has not been expected to stay above where he is currently hitting.
Morgan Ensberg had a phenomenal year two years back. Last year he maintained a good OBP but lost his power and ability to make contact. Which year did the real Ensberg play? I'll take either one because this year he's doing neither and he's hitting .231. The Bench includes Luke Scott (.234), Jason Lane (.167) and even Orlando Palmeiro (.154 with .477 OPS). Palmeiro frustrates me the most because he has been kept on the staff year after year in spite of his poor performance because of ridiculous excuses like "he's a contact hitter." I'm really thrilled that OP can ground out to first base and all. Sure makes my day to see that. Palmeiro is the worst player in Major League Baseball (Minimum 30 AB).
All this and we sent Chris Burke to Triple AAA Round Rock for hitting .236.
Remarkably, the offense shapes up to an unholy amount of men that would be cut from most teams in the league, a retiring star, a slumping star and three red hot heavy hitters in Carlos Lee (.317-.345-.541), Ulti-Rookie Hunter Pence (.348-.380-.583) and the experienced Mark Loretta (.349-.400-.425). Considering the cost of Lee I am pleased but had high expectations for him. I would say that Loretta can't fly high forever but who the hell thought that Jason Lane would be well under .200?
The bullpen has a 1-2 punch almost as potent as it once was. Brad Lidge has been back to himself for the last 20 appearances or so and Dan Wheeler has done as well as anyone could have asked for given what he is signed to do. In fact, the bullpen has even been close to respectable. Dave Borkowski carries a 3.52 and Chad Qualls clocks in with a 3.86. The problem in the pen is that our permanent lefty Trever Miller is a crooked number waiting to happen and Rick White's numbers have gone through the roof (in a bad way) since his return from the DL. Teams are hitting something .650 off of him since he came back
What does this leave? Rooooooom for suggestions. Purpura better be flexible and ready to take all the advice in the world and there is plenty to dish out.
1) Cut anyone hitting under .200.
Seriously, this is out of control. That's a black hole of worse than Cristian Guzman proportions and we have two of them.
2) Bench Everett for anyone, Mark Loretta included.
Loretta is the hottest hitter on the team and he has had a fair amount of AB. Everett is AT the Guzman level himself, just barely above Lane and Palmeiro. We do not tolerate this crap in Texas, boy.
3) Rick White: Out to Pasture
A well-greased race horse was having a good veteran year before being derailedby injury. Nevertheless, the arms in AAA should get a chance.
4) Trever Miller Finally has Percentages Explained to Him...
And is told that a lefty that sucks is a pitcher that sucks, even if he is left-handed.
5) Give Chris Burke a prime spot on the bench.
And make him the starting second baseman the day Craig Biggio gets his 3000th hit.
6) Play a combination of Mike Lamb, Ensberg and Loretta at third
Until you finally strike the right balance.
7) Open the floodgates for a rookie free for all.
Every job but that of Lee, Berkman, Pence Loretta and the aforementioned starters should be on the line. Welcome to a late Spring Training.
I must admit that I stole the last one from Richard Justice, who recently wrote a column suggesting it was time to trade out the Mendoza geezers for every fresh set of legs that could be found in the minor leagues. I'm with him. They can't be worse.
Those moves don't make for a better team this year. It makes for a different team this year and COULD make them better. Anything over 75 Wins is icing on the cake at this point and next year will still be there after this one ends in hot Summer misery.
Bless, and curse, baseball.