Friday, October 29, 2004


Another potential benefit to the Red Sox win

This is an Associated Press photo of Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney removing a sign in Boston that is supposed to read "REVERSE CURVE," but has often been graffitied to read "REVERSE THE CURSE," and which has on this occasion been graffitied with a slightly different message...

According to the AP's caption, the sign has been up for at least 33 years. Now, here's the good news about it being removed: it's nonstandard. It's a warning sign, so according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, it should be black letters on a yellow background. You know, like one of these. So let's hope the Massachusetts Department of Transportation or the city of Boston (I'm not sure who has jurisdiction over that sign) is going to replace it with better signage.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Score that play 1-3, and thus ends 2004

Well, Levi, aside from the fact that you had a rooting interest in the team that lost the World Series, I would hope you can agree with this statement: overall, this was a great baseball season. Maybe you wouldn't use the emphasis, but I would (and did).

Original comments:

Lucas: My condolences, Levi.

Toby: Sorry, Levi. When are you coming home? I have a CD for you.

Dan: Levi, I feel your pain -- 'twas me in '00. I didn't speak to anyone for days. And I still don't like talking about it.

Steve: Even though it didn't turn out right for the Cardinals this year, thanks to Levi and Jim for making this one of the most enjoyable interactive baseball seasons ever. This blog was like an angioplasty in the artery that led to my black baseball loathing heart. There are many things that still bug the hell out of me about baseball but this is neither the time nor the place. Thanks again.

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Quoth the Rajah

"People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring."
-- Rogers Hornsby

Here's hoping the Cardinals stave off winter one game at a time until at least Sunday.

Original comments...

Luke, hanger-on: Only 129 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Levi: I was counting on someone knowing the number. I was consoling myeslf that it's about four months.

Thanks, Luke.

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It could still happen

Don't worry, Levi; my co-worker Joe and I spent our lunch break on Tuesday coming up with horrible "curse" scenarios that would cause the Red Sox to lose in spectacular fashion. Among them: Curt Schilling has a perfect game going, until his legs fall off. Also, Tim Wakefield gets hit by a truck.

Original comments...

Jason: Other curse scenarios:

Johnny Damon gets lost during a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

David Ortiz loses his shirt at one of the local riverboat casinos, so he has to serve as a greeter for the rest of the series until his debt is paid off.

Bill Mueller gets married to Bill Buckner's daughter, and decides to take her last name.

Manny Ramirez gets stuck atop the Gateway Arch.

Terry Francona turns into Terry Francenstein.

sandor: Of the three post-game Red Sox interviews I've seen in this series, all three players spent their first moments behind the mic profusely crediting God for all of their good fortune.

So it wouldn't seem totally unreasonable to me, if in fact God is responsible for the Sox players' success, for Him to suddenly... change his mind. Who better to put on a curse than the cursemeister Himself?

Levi: Or, if Satan is responsible for their good fortune, I could see him getting really pissed and pulling the plug.

We'll know that tonight when Jason Marquis, with a freshly-grown goatee, hits three home runs and throws a two-hit shutout.

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Monday, October 25, 2004



I'm too busy today to really comment on how poorly the weekend went for the Cardinals. So all I'll do is share with you the jack-o-lantern Stacey made Saturday. She also made a Cardinals one, but I don't have a photo yet.

Original comments:

Cushie: Stacey is a genius.

Jim: My co-worker Joe at first thought the Johnny-o-Lantern was Photoshopped. Perhaps after Halloween, Stacey can mail him the desiccated husk of the pumpkin.

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What is it with Sox named Bill?

In Sunday's game, Bill Mueller had the potential to become the next Bill Buckner, but a funny thing happened: the Red Sox won in spite of his errors. Well, also, it was only Game 2, so the Sox didn't have a chance to win it all the way they did in Game 6 in 1986.

Anyway, perhaps this is a sign that Babe Ruth's ghost has finally stopped haunting the Red Sox. Hopefully, he is now haunting Horatio Sanz for doing the worst Babe Ruth impression ever on this week's "Saturday Night Live." It was such a horrible impression that they had to start playing the wrong lip-sync track for poor Ashlee Simpson in order to distract the viewers from its horribleness. (The Babe Ruth impression, I mean, not necessarily Ashlee Simpson's lip-sync track.) It also doesn't help that Horatio Sanz is incapable of doing a comedy bit lasting longer than 90 seconds without cracking up for no good reason.

Original comments...

Jason: I didn't know anyone still watched SNL.

Jim: But it's so easy to TiVo through the boring parts, and occasionally there's something that makes it all worthwhile.

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Friday, October 22, 2004



Some people, when their team wins the pennant, pour champagne on their heads.

Me, I paint the second eye on my Daruma doll, four years after painting the first eye and wishing for a Cardinals World Series.

Such a ritual has the benefit of requiring much less clean-up than one involving the bubbly.

Original comments...

stacey: under the category of "bad wife" - i've carved a johnny damon pumpkin to celebrate the red sox:

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Your National League Champions

Oh, too excited to organize my post today. And still too busy at work. So it's a list again.

1) I kept telling everyone all day that the Cardinals would beat Clemens. After all, he'd lost 190 games in the majors--26 of them in the post-season! No Cardinal pitcher has lost anywhere near that many (Now, I do think Jeff Fassero may have lost 190 games for the Cardinals in 2003 alone, but we shipped him off to Colorado.). We surely had the edge going in.

2) The last time the Cardinals were in the World Series, I was in the 7th grade. My history teacher, John Reker, a Cubs fan, was not very gracious when the Cardinals imploded against the Royals.

3) I will understand if some unreliable folks among you are rooting for the Bostons. I realize that no one in America outside of Cardinals fans and Yankees fans is rooting for St. Louis. But we've already won the title that has always mattered most to me: the National League Pennant. I'm with John McGraw on this one--who really cares what that upstart, pipsqueak beer league does? Sure, you want to win the World Series, but that's gravy.

4) Brian Gunn of Redbird Nation (who isn't just getting links here--the Wall Street Journal seems to mention his column a couple times a week these days) quoted Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated as describing the NLCS as "a glorified game of HORSE between Pujols and Beltran." I guess Pujols, with his 4 homers and .500 batting average, ended up on top.

5) That catch that Jimmy Edmonds made is the biggest catch I've ever seen him make. Maybe not his absolute best, in a Platonic, form-of-perfect-outfield-catch kind of way, but definitely the most important great catch he's made. I think it's far more impressive than the Mays catch that's always replayed: he covered a lot of ground, back to the ball, laid out full-length, and caught the ball over his shoulder while landing. It made the difference between 3-0 and 1-0, and might have singlehandedly saved the nation from a week of bad political metaphors on Fox sports.

6) And last, but not least: did someone put Scooter out of our misery? We haven't seen him since his two appearances in game 6. I'm not complaining, mind you.

Y'all are welcome at the Rocketship on Saturday night for chili.

Original comments...

Dan: On point No. 2... You mean overwhelmed by the Twins ('87), right? Joaquin, specificaly, imploded in '85, although I've heard way too many Cardinals fans blame it on the umps.

Levi: Oh, you're right. I blame the 1985 implosion largely on Whitey Herzog. After that call, rather than calling a meeting and rallying the troops--as LaRussa would have done--he kept up the whining and basically conceded the Series.

Luke, hanger-on: I'll have you know, Levi, that I was the Cardinals never lost a game that I watched while wearing a red shirt. I'll also note that I wore red socks for the last two games of the ALCS.

I wouldn't suggest either team owes me a share of their championship bonuses.

But I woudln't say they don't, either.

Hurrah for chili! Hurrah for the best postseason in history! Or at least this millennium!

Cushie: I'm a bit conflicted. Would love to be watching this series at the Rocketship with good chili, but I have to go with the Sox due to the whole New England thing going on. However, as I'm in Old England I am instead figuring out how nocturnal I'm about to come. If the games go six hours I'm totally screwed. You guys get worried when games go until 1am, my games start at 1am.

Levi: I spent the fall of 1996 in London, and I listened to any games that I could pick up on Armed Forces Radio, but that did mean being up at nearly 2 am for the first pitch. That made for one of the worse nights in my life as a fan, when the Cardinals gave up 10 runs in the first inning of game 7 to the Braves. Even worse, at work the next day, very few people even understood why I was having a bad day.

Levi: LaRussa's got wa.

Jim: This year, it looks like the World Series is being carried live in the U.K. on Channel Five, and then repeating the next day during normal waking hours on a cable channel called, of course, North American Sports Network.

Cushie: Yes, Channel Five has it, and that's regular network tv. It's just damn late. It's hosted by some serious meat-heads (one British, one American). The funny part is that even though this is commerical TV, they don't show ads during all the long breaks. Instead, they kick it back to the meat heads in the studio for more dumb banter. But I shouldn't complain- at least they're showing it. And it's good preparation for staying up all night next week for the election results.

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Color the Series red

One final accomplishment from the trip in August: we saw both World Series teams, twice each.

I think we're going to have a schism among the proprietors of this blog now, since I'm going to be rooting for the Sox.

Original comments...

Levi: I figured during our trip there was a slim chance that we'd see two of the teams that we saw twice end up in the World Series. And I didn't figure those teams would be the White Sox or Dodgers.

Jim: You thought the Brewers and the Tigers were going to be in the Series?!

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Thursday, October 21, 2004


No static at all

So is it time to start thinking about next season yet? This is something that was just announced today, and, Levi, you might want to look into the possibility getting your baseball radio broadcasts through XM. As I understand it, they do make portable receivers that can pick up the satellite signal; it's not just a car thing.

Original comments...

stacey: this is not related to xm radio, but instead to two things i'm fascinated with: curt schilling and cadavers:,1,2783485.story

Bodhisattva: Nice Steely Dan reference in the title (makes up for the previous Cowsills reference).

Jim: I wasn't thinking of the Cowsills, I was thinking of the "original motion picture soundtrack."


Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

I think, at this point, all I can do is quote Levi's post from way back on April 5th.

I may have a new favorite non-Cardinal player.

Last night, we had a couple of people over to watch the opener between the Red Sox and the Orioles. We settled in, started the TiVo, and the first image of the season caused everyone to gasp in sheer, unadulterated awe. Johnny Damon, over the winter, turned into a god. He grew out his already shaggy hair so that it hangs over his shoulders, trailing out of his batting helmet or cap. And he grew a beard. It was hard to concentrate on what he was doing during his first at-bat, because all anyone in the room could look at or think about was all that hair. Then, on his first play in the outfield, he was coming in for a ball, not too fast, and it looked like there was no hope of his cap falling off. Everyone was disappointed. Then, like a silent prayer being answered, the cap popped off his head and his glossy locks floated free. There was much cheering in the Rocketship.

I apologize for not having a link to a photo. I haven't seen one today, which just tells me, once again, that the majority of sportswriters have been doing their jobs so long that they no longer really love sports. Otherwise, today's headlines would be along the lines of: Damon's Hair, Beard Open a Glorious Season.

You know it's going to be a great year now.

Original comments...

maura: and look at that kid tonight!! looks like the trim worked!!

Steve: If I wasn't taking another crack at joining the foreign service tomorrow I would come over and show everyone the Johnny Damon autograph on my boobs. I still liked him better with the buzz but whatever.

I stand corrected!



As predicted, "Clubhouse" isn't as good as the real baseball playoffs

The "Clubhouse" episode that was promoted last week, in which Doc Brown is uncomfortable with modern technology, was not shown this week. Instead, it was an episode in which there are trade rumors swirling around Dean Cain's character (who is named "Conrad Dean"; get it?). I forgot to "stay tuned for scenes from next week's 'Clubhouse,'" so I don't know if they showed the same promo from last week.

At any rate, because of disappointing ratings, CBS is soon going to move "Clubhouse" to Saturdays to make room for "The Amazing Race," which is a better show but is (usually) less baseball-related.

On another note, I'm listening to the Cardinals-Astros game on ESPN Radio. Boy, are these commercials annoying!

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Someone's gonna get sued!

This "compilation" is currently featured on the iTunes Music Store front page. Where would they have gotten the idea? Actually, a couple of songs on their baseball-related playlist were ones I thought of but discarded, including "Glory Days" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."


Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Jeff Kent

Why, oh, why could Jeff Kent not have looked out at his truck yesterday morning and decided it needed a quick wash?

Original comments...

Steve: Hello friends, I haven't checked in for a while but are any of you Damon lovers troubled by the fact that he's gone from hero to zero in about 10 seconds? His .009 batting average is not going to help the Red Sox dispatch the Yankees and it will also make it difficult for him to get that Pert plus endorsement even though Piazza is kind of washed up. In no way am I trying to say "I told you so" because I never did and am frankly upset at his poor performance but I would say at least 75% of the Red Sox problems start with Mr. Lovelylocks. What say you who have been lining up to get his autograph on your boobs all season? And I don't just mean Stacey!

ps Levi is excused from replying because he has bigger fish to fry right now. I bet his sinker is almost ready and he's warming up to take on Beltran.

Levi: You're right about Damon, sad to say, but he did score the winning run last night.

Oh, and I owe you whatever it is I owe you, as Mr. Bonds did not hit .400. Aargh.

thatbob: My adulation of Damon has almost nothing to do with him being a baseball player, so likewise has almost nothing to do with his slump. I mean, I feel bad for him professionally, and if we were on speaking terms I might even suggest a shave and a haircut to, you know, try and change his luck. But I would still want him to grow it all out again in the post-season.

Has any writing on this blog suggested that (we) like him because he's any good?

stacey: yeah, i'd have to say i'm with bob on this one. my all-cute team has absolutely nothing to do with baseball talent. although johnny's slump is really heart-rending.

Toby: Darn! I knew there was something I forgot the last time I saw Levi. I meant to get his autograph on my boobs.

thatbob: sure hope this link works:

Luke, hanger-on: J Damon homered to right, K Millar, B Mueller and O Cabrera scored.

How 'bout them apples?!?

Luke, hanger-on: J Damon homered to right, O Cabrera scored.

And them apples!

I'm never cutting my hair again.

thatbob: Luke (and everyone not watching from the Rocketship) sorry you missed the discussion we had (initiated by Matthew or Ross?) about JD hitting for the SuperCycle. You know: a 4 run homer, a 3 run homer, a 2 run homer, and a solo shot. It looked like he was working towards it with 2 men on for a couple of at-bats, but alas. Well, maybe we'll get to see it in The Series.

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Still no respect

So now where's the headline reading "Red Sox: Always Finding New Ways to Win"? Nowhere, so far.

On another note, Levi is obviously working too hard to cheer for the Cardinals in the most effective manner. He may not even have the stuffed animals lined up on his couch correctly!

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Sunday, October 17, 2004


No respect, no respect at all

The Associated Press top sports story at this hour is headlined "Red Sox: Always Finding New Ways to Lose."


Saturday, October 16, 2004


When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads

I hope nobody was watching yesterday afternoon's emergency collection of "King of the Hill" reruns on Fox 11 in Los Angeles with their fancy new plasma TV, since the "RAINOUT" graphic that was continuously in the upper right-hand corner would have been burned in forever.

When I had the world's most informal internship at independent station WTMV in Tampa in the summer of 1992 (they've since changed their call letters twice and started using Popeye's parrot as a mascot), they carried games from three of the teams that then had spring training in the Tampa Bay area: the Cardinals, the Reds, and the Blue Jays. The agreed-upon broadcasting technique for a rain delay/rainout is that the announcers will fill exactly 10 minutes at the scheduled start time before returning control to the affiliates. WTMV's second- and third-hand equipment was horrible enough that it would be problematic and awkward for them to backtime a half-hour show and join it in progress at the 10-minute mark, so instead, they had a 20-minute tape of baseball-related music videos that they probably got free from Major League Baseball to carry them to the next half-hour. Then they could start filling time with whatever sitcoms were lying around the control room, which usually meant reruns of "The Munsters Today."

Original comments...

thatbob: Huh, so that's how the sausage gets made.

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Friday, October 15, 2004


Two to go!

I feel bad that, at the best time of the year for baseball, I've been incommunicado. Work has just been too busy. But I couldn't put off at least posting a few post-season thoughts.

1) I've always liked Jorge Posada, but I like him even more now that I learn (from Luke) that he buried Fox Sports' absurd new "Diamond Cam" a few nights ago. The Diamond Cam answers a question that fans have been wishing they could see since before the invention of television: What would a hitter standing in the box look like if you were a zombie just about to dig his way out of his grave right by home plate? Bob deserves the credit for realizing that it was a zombie's point of view that Fox was representing. He also deserves credit for groaning, zombie-style, every time the Zombie cam appears.

2) Last night, we had a nice little crowd at the Rocketship. Sarah brought her knitting and some fine, fine cobbler. Sandy brought his computer and some silicon chips, and Bob brought his appetite and his fine, fine zombie impression. Stacey fell asleep on the couch, but woke up for the good parts. And a couple of audience members had the confidence in our boys in red to go home before the end.

3) One point that I'm sure King Kaufmann is going to touch on in his Salon column today: one part of the three-headed cliche monster that Fox has saddled us with in this series said late in last night's game, "One problem for the Astros is that they haven't been able to get Brad Lidge, their best reliever, in the game." Which, of course, is not true. The Astros have chosen not to get their best reliever in the game, because their manager, Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner, has not wanted to use Lidge except in a save situation. Only, if you bring in someone else to pitch to Pujols and Rolen in the 8th inning of a tie game, you're not ever going to have a save situation. And suddenly you're in a 2 games to none hole.

4) What can be said about the Red Sox? Sad, sad, sad. Here's hoping that losing to the Yankees won't make Johnny Damon reconsider his grooming habits.

5) Baseball Reference has the 2004 stats up. That was quick. Not that many of those links are to 2004, but you folks already know what happened in 2004.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Still watching "Clubhouse" so you don't have to

What I learned from "Clubhouse" this week: the New York Empires' scheduling is such that they would play a night game Friday, and then what was referred to several times as a "morning game" on Saturday. (This was presented as the justification for the batboys having a sleepover in the stadium.) Also, while baseball players may enjoy dancing with Brazilian swimsuit models, they enjoy even more talking about Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions" with the model's translator, who turns out to be her mother (who for some reason never bothered to teach her daughter English, despite she herself knowing enough English to read Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions").

On next week's episode, equipment manager Doc Brown gets a computer put on his desk, but he doesn't know how to work it. However, batboy Pete, our hero, is a 16-year-old boy and therefore a computer expert. I guess Doc Brown isn't comfortable with any technology within the range 1985-2015 (i.e., anything that comes after the DeLorean and before the Mr. Fusion).

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Monday, October 11, 2004


Why would Levi be jealous of me?

I'm over 6 feet tall, I have a full head of hair, I have a cat who doesn't get up on the kitchen counter, and also...

Jason and Todd got tickets through a contact at their job, so there we were in the top deck of Dodger Stadium for Game 4 of the National League Division Series, the Dodgers needing a win against the Cardinals to stay alive.

Jason invited me, and Todd invited his wife Jenn, of course. So here she is eating pizza...

This was the first time I had sat in the top deck at Dodger Stadium. It was not bad. I'm pretty sure I was closer to the field than when I had sat in the upper deck in San Diego in May, and I was definitely closer to the field than I was in the upper deck in Philadelphia in August. And these seats are only $6.00 general admission during the regular season. (They were jacked up to $12.00 reserved for this first round of the playoffs.)

It must be the playoffs, because there's the bunting...

And a special logo painted on the field...

And a blimp...

And what seems like hundreds of umpires...

So many umpires, in fact, that they don't display them at the bottom of the scoreboard because there's only space for four of them (it's not really visible in this photo, but trust me, they'd normally be at the bottom)...

And they handed out everyone's favorite loud and annoying item, Thunderstix...

So let's all think blue! Or think 76 or 980, if you'd rather think about numbers than colors...

Odalis Perez pitching in the top of the first...

And then some stuff happened that I didn't take pictures of because I was trying to follow the game, but night fell with the Dodgers behind 6-2...

It was time to summon the giant floating heads of Eric Gagne...

He did pretty well against the Cardinals, but the damage had already been done...

Noted Kenny G fan Ray King got into the game and was effective against the Dodgers...

Perhaps he and Mike Metheney were humming "Songbird" during their meeting on the mound...

Since this auxiliary scoreboard wasn't needed for its usual purpose of displaying out-of-town scores, it was instead pressed into service for additional statistic display duty...

See the taillights in the parking lot? Yep, people are leaving in the 8th inning, despite the number of come-from-behind wins the Dodgers have had this season...

It's the bottom of the 9th, the Dodgers are down by four runs, the fans are being exhorted to show their blue (not "show they're blue"), and this is all seeming familiar to Jason and me, as if it happened just a week and a half ago...

Speaking of which, the note about Alex Cora that was displayed as he was batting in the bottom of the 9th seemed very familiar...

But on September 28th, the Dodgers were facing the Rockies' bullpen. The Cardinals' bullpen, and Jason Isringhausen in particular, is a somewhat different story. So, long story short, some happy Cardinals...

The Dodgers wish them well in the NLCS, especially if they're going to be playing the Braves...

And even though the Dodgers lost, it was a great and highly improbable season, so the stadium crew thinks it deserves a playing of "I Love L.A."...

Oh, and by the way, this game set a new Dodger Stadium attendance record...

Go Cards.

Original comments...

Levi: Ah, that was a fun series. And I feel really good about Round 2, whomever we face. I'm rooting for tonight's Braves/Astros game to go 22 innings.

And I loved seeing the hugs and handshakes. It made me really happy, and it seemed a better send-off for the Dodgers than just retreating to the clubhouse would have been.

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Saturday, October 09, 2004


Jose Lima bean

A thought on Saturday night's Dodgers-Cardinals game: since Joe Buck was off for his NFL football broadcasting duties, wouldn't it have been great if Fox had told Tim McCarver to stay in St. Louis and instead had the game called by a certain Los Angeles-based announcer who's been around since the last Ice Age and has more broadcasting talent in his little finger than Tim McCarver has in all the shoe-polished strands of his hair combined?

No such luck, and even if I had been watching live instead of TiVo-delayed, I couldn't have listened to him on the radio because of the delay inherent in DirecTV. Eventually, I put the TV on mute and listened to Brian Wilson's "Smile" on my iPod instead.

Original comments...

Toby: Levi, Did you happen to catch Fox Sports' "Beyond the Glory" special on Kirk Gibson's WS Game 1 HR in 1988? It was narrated by Joe Buck. ...Was a great piece.

The thing that struck me, though, was that they played Vin Scully's call of the homer first, then used Jack Buck's a little later. I had never heard anything but Jack Buck's call of that homer. It was very interesting.

You're so right about Vin Scully and McCarver, though. Why does he seem to worry so much about how deep the outfielders are playing?

Toby: Whoops - Just noticed that Jim posted that. Regardless, my comments wouldn't change--just direct it at Jim, instead of Levi.

Jim: They did an entire "Beyond the Glory" on Kirk Gibson's home run? Wow. I've closed-captioned a couple of those, and they're pretty good, but I've never watched one at home.

In the video of the home run, you can see one car in the parking lot beyond center field leaving early. Its taillights suddenly come on just as the ball leaves the stadium, and it apparently syncs up perfectly with Vin Scully's call, as if the occupant of the car was listening to the game on the radio and reacted to the home run by slamming on the brakes.

By the way, it turns out that if you actually go to a Division Series game at Dodger Stadium, not only do you not have to listen to Tim McCarver on your TV, you get to listen to Vin Scully's calls of memorable moments from the past season. His call of Steve Finley's grand slam to clinch the division was something like:

"Wherever it comes down, the Dodgers are division champs." (35 seconds of crowd noise)

Can you imagine Tim McCarver being quiet for 35 consecutive seconds?

Toby: NO! He'd be talking about how one of the fans in the seventh row was playing too deep to catch the home run ball.

maura: chris berman was silent after vladdy's grand slam the other night. as was ALL OF FENWAY. it was totally creepy and everyone at work was just looking at each other all alarmed-like.

thatbob: fucking yanx

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Thursday, October 07, 2004


Chili today, hot tamale

First of all, after Kevin Millar made a good defensive play in the bottom of the first inning of the Sox-Angels game, ESPN color commentator Rick Sutcliffe asked the director for a close-up of Kevin Millar's face to make sure it wasn't Doug Mientkewicz in a Kevin Millar uniform. Someone's been reading!

Second, and more important, I commiserated with the Rocketship by making chili con carne to eat during the game, and this is the recipe I used.

2 pounds lean ground beef (I guess any ground meat would be okay)
2 medium onions
2 bell peppers (I used one green and one red)
2 garlic cloves
1 28-ounce can ready-cut ("Recipe Ready") tomatoes (because cutting up the onions, peppers, and garlic is plenty without having to cut up tomatoes, too)
1 15-ounce can kidney beans
1 15-ounce can pinto beans
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of salt
Shredded cheese

Chop the onions and bell peppers into small pieces. Chop the garlic into very, very small pieces.

Brown the meat and drain.

In a big pot, stir together everything but the beans and cheese. Cook, covered, over low-to-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the beans and stir them into the chili. Continue cooking, still covered, for another 30 minutes.

Serve in bowls and put shredded cheese on top. As listed above, the recipe makes about 8 servings of chili, which is good in my case because although it's good right after it's made, it's even better as a leftover. It should be fairly easy to halve, although you'll probably have to make a choice between kidney beans and pinto beans instead of having both. (Why am I not having people over to my place? Fewer baseball fans among my southern California friends, worse start times in terms of people being able to drop by for the game after work, and the fact that my bathroom is a mess because the apartment complex maintenance staff is working on the ceiling.)

Here's what it looks like before the cheese is put on top (and, no, you don't use the whole bag on one bowl unless you like cheese more than you like chili)...

Goes great with $7.00 beer, and Sarah Michelle Gellar...

And it tastes even better when Johnny Damon is on TV...

Incidentally, the advantage to having a local team in the playoffs while you're trying to TiVo their game, airing on ESPN, is that the coverage is duplicated on a local channel. In this case, the game bounced from ESPN2 to ESPN once the Twins-Yankees game finally ended, but L.A.'s UPN 13 carried it straight through, with a minimum of scrolling messages informing all 10 or 11 potential viewers of the UPN show "Kevin Hill" that tonight's episode would be airing on Saturday.

Original comments...

Levi: One thing you might try in the future, Jim: Fritos. I think the only reason they're on the earth is to be put in chili just before you put in the cheese.

We didn't see much baseball last night, just a bit in a hotel bar while waiting for Stacey's aunt and uncle to show up from the airport. So we saw the Yankees leeding 5-3 in the 8th, Rivera coming in. "Oh, we don't need to watch--we can go sit in the lobby. We saw Rivera blow a lead in 2001, so we won't see that again for another few years."

Checking in a few minutes later, finding it 5-5, we decided to leave a note at the desk telling Auntie where to find us.

But then, at dinner, it all went bad. Stacey and I were occasionally our heads in the bar--where the bartendress was a Minneapolis transplant and where there was also one Yankee fan who, when I said to the bartendress, "Everybody hates the Yankees!", said, "Not everybody!". Stacey saw that the Twins had gone ahead in the 12th. Next thing I knew, I saw from across the restaurant a crowd of bouncing Yankees. And they didn't look like they were bouncing the bounce of despair.

Oh, well. There's always game 3.

Jim: "Bartendress"?

By the way, Rogue Dead Guy Ale was a $7.00 beer in Pittsburgh, and it's still a $7.00 beer in L.A....but in this case, it's $7.00 for a 6-pack at BevMo in Van Nuys. Actually, $6.99 plus "CRV" (deposit).

Dan: SMG, still hot? I lost track a few years back.

Jim: She's no Alyson Hannigan, that's for sure (although Alyson is admittedly more "intensely cute" than "hot").

Levi: I'm so with Jim on the Alyson Hannigan thing, although I do tend to think SMG is hotter than, say, most blondes. But that's mainly because she kills vampires, who are not hot.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Two more things

1) I really like watching Johan Santana, even when he isn't completely on his game, like last night. The patented Fox Extreme Nosehair Closeups showed me a man who is terminally worried, kind of like John Tudor used to look. Midway through the game I decided what the look on Santana's face is: it's the look of a man who can see the future, but is powerless to change it! Like, "Oh, no, no, no. I'm going to throw a hanger and he's going to belt it out of the park. Why must that be my destiny?" Tragic. But if that's his look when he's pitching like Bob Gibson, imagine how tortured he'd look if he ever looked into the future and saw himself giving up a run!

2) Jim sent a packet of baseball articles and such last week, and two elements of it found their way to our mantelpiece last night. For October, we try to replace the usual items on our mantel with baseball-related items, one for every team in the playoffs. The only thing I couldn't find last night was a picture of William T. Sherman to represent the impending downfall of the Braves. From Jim I got a big photo of Don Zimmer, which might, if we're lucky, curse the Yankees for letting him go, and as a general backdrop, the chart Jim used to figure out the logistics of our trip. So thanks, Jim!

Original comments...

Jim: You actually have my father to thank for the Don Zimmer picture. He gave it to me when I was visiting him in May. I think he had used it to test his color printer, or something like that.

Jason: Is it framed?

stacey: it's framed with our hatred of the yankees (which is crocheted with care out of my love for the cardinals, johnny damon, eric gagne, baseball playoffs, and beer).

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The first games

I'm still busy busy busy at work, but I couldn't let the first games pass with no comment, so here's a quick post with no links, mainly designed to get other people's impressions of yesterday's games.

1) I know one game does not a series make, but I very much enjoyed the dazed look that Odalis Perez wore when he left the mound in yesterday's Cards/Dodgers game. The last time a team hit five home runs in a game in a division series--wait--no team had ever done that before. It was a good start.

2) I was a bit bothered by the curtain calls at Busch Stadium yesterday, though. Curtain calls seem to me to be a bit disrespectful. I know players feel like the crowd is compelling them to come out, and they have to do it to shut up the crowd, but like a band after playing a perfunctory encore, they should just ignore the noise. Eventually it'll go away. No matter how hard I stomped my feet at his show, Nick Lowe wasn't going to come back out and play "I've Been Everywhere."

3) The Red Sox did as expected. I expect they'll do more of the same in games 2 and 3. And Johnny Damon's hair seems to be even longer than before: it's down past his shoulders.

4) I finally saw Scooter the Talking Baseball last night. Acting as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world, Joe Buck said, "And now, to tell us some more about the change-up, here's Scooter." And there he was, unsettlingly flesh-colored, with a weird stitching mouth and backwards ball cap. Until that moment, I was still trying to make myself believe that he was a figment of Jim's imagination. But no: Fox really does think kids are this stupid.

5) After the umpires took back the Sierra home run last night, deciding that it was foul after all, I decided that the only thing better than a Yankee making an out is a Yankee thinking he's hit a home run, then making an out. I decided that every time a Yankee hits a foul ball--even just a grounder--the umpires should wave their fingers for a home run, make the hitter run the bases, then confer and send him back to the plate. Now that would be fun.

Original comments...

Levi: Oh, and how could I have forgotten the way the radar gun reading bursts into flames any time a pitch gets above about 92 mph? What a wealth of new excitement that brought to my enjoyment of the game! Thank you, Fox! Thank you!

maura: that near-hr was ruben sierra's, actually. he promptly struck out.

Levi: Thanks, Mo. I fixed it.

Jason: When is Fox going to bring out the blue dot to follow where the ball goes? And when will we see Calista Flockhart eating a hot dog?!?!?

stacey: i was DEEPLY disappointed that sierra was not required to run the bases in reverse.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004


It's chili time!

Those of you who haven't been living here recently--or ever--should know that for the last three baseball seasons, Stacey and I have done our best to turn October at The Rocketship into a baseball open house. I find that the best way to end the baseball season is surrounded by friends and big simmering pots of vegetarian chili, some cornbread, some cider, and some marveling at the color of Tim McCarver's hair dye.

Though most of the people around these parts have trouble working up any interest in American League baseball, we're kicking things off tonight with the Yankees and the Twins, and who can't work up enthusiasm for seeing Johan Santana strike out Yanks? We'll have even more trouble if any Astros/Braves games sneak into prime time: I know it's a fundamental rule of life that one roots against the Braves, but I find rooting for Houston to be almost as difficult. I've been likening it to an election where you have a corrupt, unpalatable Democrat against a corrupt, unpalatable Republican. In that case, I'll always go for the guy with the (D) by his name. In this case, that's Houston.

So you're all welcome to come out. All of you I know, that is. If you're a stranger reading this blog from, say, jail, you're not necessarily invited. We'll have to discuss it. Here's a schedule for the rest of the week.

First, however, we have to root the Cardinals past the Dodgers today at noon. I blame Fox for the fact that I have to listen to this game at work rather than watch it at home. I suppose if I were in LA I could watch it over brunch.

I'm still really busy at work--hence the staying here today instead of going home--but some quick picks:

Twins over Yanks
Red Sox over Angels
Red Sox over Twins

Cards over LA
Braves over Astros
Cads over Braves

Cards over Red Sox

You knew that was where I was headed, didn't you? And what are your picks?

Original comments...

Dan: My gut:

Yanks over Twins // Sox over Angels
Sox over Yankees

Cards over LA // Braves over Astros
Braves over Cards

Braves over Sox.

Trust me, I hate that scenario. Just the gut feeling about the Braves this year.

Jim: Darn it, I was distracted by the lack of Hostess Baseballs at the supermarket yesterday, and forgot that I was going to get chili ingredients in order to have my own Rocketship-esque playoff viewing here in L.A. (Only "Rocketship-esque" because I prefer chili of the con carne variety.) But I wasn't planning to watch a game tonight, so I can wait until tomorrow night, for the Red Sox-Angels game at 7:00 PDT. I think a few Bostonians are going to be very tired Thursday morning!

Levi: Time for baseball!

Go, Cardinals!

Luke: > What are your picks?

I like rice and pasta for the division series, then chili and Moose Tracks for the LCS's. I'm leaning toward pizza and bratwurst for the World Series.

Oh, baseball? ABY: Anyone but Yankees. I'll root for the Cards in the N.L., and then the Red Sox and Twins in the A.L., but will have to defer to the Sox when they meet, as I always will when a grass team plays a non-grass one.

Jason: What I'd like to see:

Twins over Yankees
Angels over Red Sox
Twins over Angels

Dodgers over Cardinals
Astros over Braves
Dodgers over Astros

Twins over Dodgers

What I'll probably see:

Yankees over Twins
Red Sox over Angels
Yankees over Red Sox

Cardinals over Dodgers
Braves over Astros
Braves over Cardinals

Yankees over Braves in six in the 3rd least-viewed World Series in history (narrowly better than Yankees-Mets in 2000 and the other 20 times Yankees-Braves have faced off)

stacey: i'd just like to note that, although the chili is vegetarian, one of the optional condiments is bacon. lots of bacon.

maura: i have a weird feeling about an astros-sox world series. (you know fox would eat that up with a spoon, too -- hell, they'd probably send their "news"casters down for live, snicker-filled remotes from halliburton park.)

Levi: Yeah, Luke: should I be eating pasta today instead of leftover chili? Am I setting myself up for a 9:47 marathon?

Oh, and shame on you, Dan. Did William T. Sherman look at Atlanta and think, "I wish I could burn this shithole to the ground, but I think it won't happen?"

The Astros, though worthy of hate, are the William T. Shermans of the Division Series.

Jim: Bacon on chili?!

Luke, hanger-on: You're probably OK today, but by Thursday or Friday you should consider a moratorium on all, let's say, gastronomically complicated food. Just as you don't see large plumes of smelly exhaust shat out by Indy 500 race cars, so too do you want to avoid combustion issues of your own come Sunday.

Jason: Have you ever tried adding a little chocolate to your chili? It's not bad.

Matt B.: How Dare you compare the Atlanta Braves to "a corrupt, unpalatable Republican" - The Atlanta baseball franchise has been steadfast in its support of stem cell research!

Levi: We usuall put in about a quarter-cup of cocoa powder, which does give the chili a little hint of some dark, rich taste. If Stacey will allow, I'll post the Rocketship Baseball Chili recipe in coming weeks so you can all play along at home!

Dan: I'm not saying I WANT the Braves to win -- trust me, if it was up to me, I'd want the Mets to play the NY Jets in the World Series, that way I'll be happy regardless who wins. It was just a lousy gut feeling. Especially lousy considering how shitty they played yesterday.

Jason: Re: Chili or pasta?

Why not have both? Pour the leftover chili on to your spaghetti or linguine or rotini or what have you for a real taste treat!

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Monday, October 04, 2004


The end of the baseball season hits home

Today, the shelf space at my local Ralphs that had been set aside for Hostess Baseballs since March was now filled with some Halloween snack cake instead: chocolate cupcakes covered with orange frosting, called something like Hostess Booballs (not the real name, but it should be).



And what a season it was

Levi's obviously extremely busy at work, but if we all clap our hands, maybe he'll show up and make some observations on the playoffs once they get under way tomorrow.

Subheads in today's L.A. Times: "Angels have conjured a special season, and if the franchise is haunted by ghosts of '86 playoff loss to Boston, the players seem unaware of it" and "The Dodgers had 53 come-from-behind wins, 26 in final at-bat, but keeping that magic going against powerful Cardinals won't be easy."

Now we get to make fun of Sports Illustrated for being very wrong about the National League division winners in their before-the-season predictions. The teams we saw on the trip are in bold.

SI Prediction Actual Results

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves Florida Marlins
Montreal Expos New York Mets
New York Mets Montreal Expos

NL Central
Chicago Cubs St. Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates Milwaukee Brewers

NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks L.A. Dodgers
San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres San Diego Padres
L.A. Dodgers Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies Arizona Diamondbacks

AL East
New York Yankees New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central
Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers Kansas City Royals

AL West
Oakland A's Anaheim Angels
Anaheim Angels Oakland A's
Seattle Mariners Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers Seattle Mariners

In other news, over the offseason, the Dodgers are going to add 1,600 more ridiculously expensive seats to Dodger Stadium by moving the dugouts forward into what's now foul territory and putting in more seats between the current ridiculously expensive seats behind home plate and the new dugouts. They'll also be transforming the current rubberized warning track into a dirt track. I hope having the new expensive seats distracts them from raising ticket prices elsewhere in the stadium, namely, the reserved level (third deck) tickets that are currently $17, $12, and $10.

Original comments...

Toby: Levi is probably too busy still celebrating NU's big win over Ohio State Saturday. ...And rightfully so.

Jim: But he's not posting on the Football-Related Program Activities blog, either! Oh, wait, there is no such thing. Football ticket prices (especially in the NFL) and game schedules don't lend themselves to road trips.

An e-mail from my father: "Wore my NU hat to the Bucs game and was literally hugged by Buckeye haters." That's "Bucs" for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Saturday, October 02, 2004


The Rays won't finish last! The Rays won't finish last!

With only two games to go, the Devil Rays are 3 games ahead of the Blue Jays for fourth place in the AL East.


Friday, October 01, 2004


Bicycle rider, just see what you've done

Think us seeing 11 games in 11 cities in 10 days was an accomplishment? A man named Charlie Hamilton went to all 30 major league ballparks over this season, traveling around North America by bicycle, raising money for charity, occasionally staying in motels like this one, which probably isn't listed in the AAA book.

His web site is a little bit behind on updates, but that's understandable, since he was traveling around North America by bicycle for much of the baseball season. I know he did finally make it to the Red Sox-Yankees game on September 26th because it was mentioned in the L.A. Times.

His journal entries are amusing, and Levi and the hangers-on who regularly ride bicycles will probably enjoy them even more than I do. But he also makes pronouncements I think we all can get behind, such as, "I got to see more of [Johnny] Damon, and he's acting a little weird. When he signs something or other for someone, do you think he signs it 'Johnny H. Damon'?" and "In my book, anyone who spoils the cat is fine people."

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