Friday, October 27, 2006


Disappointed they aren't real cardinals and tigers

2006 ends as it began...with Chessie on the floor near a TV that's showing a baseball game.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006


Rain delay food and pumpkins

Levi's normally a vegetarian, except when the Cardinals are in the World Series, and that's because he has a superstition that involves eating Lit'l Smokies. And therefore...

Note that Levi is looking around furtively for any fellow vegetarians who might be ready to pounce upon him for this breach of vegetarianism.

Also note that this picture was taken Wednesday night, and Levi is in his kitchen instead of being in front of the TV. Suddenly introducing meat can cause problems for digestive systems that aren't used to it -- and something else that can cause problems for digestive systems is four episodes of "The War at Home" interspersed with Joe Buck telling America that it's still raining in St. Louis. So Levi is wisely attempting to minimize the amount of Kaopectate he'll need later.

On another note, after Johnny Damon in 2004 and Ozzie Guillen in 2005, this year's baseball-related jack-o'-lantern carved by Stacey is...

...Yadier Molina.

Also, in today's L.A. Times, Bill Plaschke writes a column that boils down to "the baseball season should start 10 days earlier so I'm not quite as cold while I'm being paid to attend the World Series." You know, it's warmer during the day, too.

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"The Southpaw Wing"? "Section 60 on Stadium Way"? "Sports Night II"?

Comedy writer Ken Levine brings you a script from Aaron Sorkin's inevitably forthcoming show about baseball.

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Monday, October 23, 2006


Bumper that ran before "Robot Chicken" last night

Hey, New York City

Wasn't this weekend supposed to be

the start of the big Subway Series?

Guess that's not happening.

Unless there's a subway between St. Louis and Detroit.

[adult swim]

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Thursday, October 19, 2006


And he would rather be anywhere else than here today

This is not official hanger-on Dan holding up this sign -- which means there are at least two Mets fans who are also Elvis Costello fans!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


It was 20 years ago, um, next week

You might think there would be nothing new to discover about the Bill Buckner incident. And you would be wrong.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006


Report from Santa Barbara, California

On one hand, my car radio could not pick up the NLCS game while in Santa Barbara this evening, although I could pick up the Raiders-Broncos football game on several stations, including the Raiders' flagship station.

On the other hand, the ice cream stand on Stearns Wharf was serving up Blue Bunny brand ice cream. We like Blue Bunny.

On an unrelated note, for those of you who read this blog but not my personal blog, I start tomorrow as a full-time employee of the Yahoo! corporation. Which means I get paid time off. Which will make it easier to do another baseball road trip in the future. I'm thinking 2008 may be a more realistic proposition than 2007, but I don't know what Levi is thinking.


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Is there anything left to sponsor?

Well, someone is an advertising genius. Coming soon: Blue Jays games will start at 6:49, Tigers games will start at 3:00, Devil Rays games will start at whatever time you can get there.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I am a horrible person

My first thought: "Oh, great, now for the rest of the playoffs all we're going to hear is 'Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees.'" (As opposed to what it would have been, "Yankees, Yankees, teams that are actually in the playoffs, Yankees.")

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Monday, October 09, 2006


The Giambi Apocalypse and the Elven Skipper

Hang around me and Stacey long enough, and you're sure to hear us speculating about the dangers of the coming zombie apocalypse. We'll enter a building and note whether the doors open in (bad) or out (good); we'll speculate on whether a bow is a good anti-zombie weapon (no, because eventually you're going to have to go get the arrows); we'll weigh the merits of having a zombie apocalypse supply cache (shotgun, ammo, canned brains) versus having a bird flu apocalypse supply cache (water, hand crank radio, forty pounds of peanut butter).

Well, after paying close attention to Friday night's Yankees-Tigers game, we're beginning to wonder whether we were focused on the wrong danger. The coming disaster isn't a zombie apocalypse . . . it's a Giambi apocalypse.

Several times during the game, Fox's X-treme Close-up Camera caught Derek Jeter lifting his cap off his large head and adjusting it. The next shot, inevitably, would be of Zombie Giambi, eyes rolling and mouth wide, in near-ecstasy at the thought of Jeter's delectable brains.

So in anticipation of the Giambi Apocalypse, what should we put in our supply cache? After this weekend, I know two things: Kenny Rogers and, just to be safe, this guy.

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Friday, October 06, 2006


Music to watch the playoffs by

At last, some musical content that's more on-topic than the Larry Finlayson update.

I haven't been keeping up very well with the baseball songs page (although I'm planning to update it as part of a renovation of both and my personal site, hopefully by the end of the year if I get around to it). But it's there, and its content is able to be searched, which is how I recently heard from a musician named Howie Newman.

In 1979, he recorded an EP of five original baseball songs called "Baseball's Greatest Hits" -- about a decade before Rhino ripped off the name for their compilation -- which is available both through iTunes and in the popular "compact disc" format.

He also has a couple of other original baseball songs on two more recent releases, also available via iTunes. And he has two baseball songs available as free downloads. One is off "Baseball's Greatest Hits" and is called "Astroturf." The other is more recent and is called -- well, I don't want to totally give away the surprise, so I'll just say that my collection of baseball songs now includes musical mentions of Joe DiMaggio, Ozzie Smith, and Johnny Damon.

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Monday, October 02, 2006



You know things have been going badly for your team when NPR has a feature on their near-choke. But after two weeks of unwanted drama, the Cardinals pulled out their sixth Central Division championship in seven years, which means that, because in the one year they didn't make the playoffs, 2003, the Cubs won the division, there's been a team in which Stacey and I have a serious rooting interest in the playoffs every one of the seven years we've been hosting baseball open house at the Rocketship.

Some notes from last week:

1) Wednesday night, when the Cardinals desperately needed a win against San Diego to end a seven-game losing streak, late in the game Cardinals broadcaster John Rooney said, regarding the extra-inning Astros-Pirates game, "You'll hear the crowd start bubbling in a few minutes, because the magic number has just dropped to four." Stacey and I, while listening to the Cardinals game on the Internet, were also following the Pirates-Astros game on's Gameday, and from what we could tell, the game wasn't over--the Pirates had by no means won.

Rooney came back from a break for a San Diego pitching change saying, "We had some wrong information on that Pittsburgh-Houston game." But before he could explain what had actually happened, Albert Pujols hit one into orbit, giving the Cardinals a good-sized lead. Rooney got caught up in describing the action, and he didn't get back to apologizing and explaining for probably five minutes. Houston would go on to win that game, leaving Rooney in very real danger of having fatally jinxed the team.

2) That mistake also ties in with my brother's biggest complaint about Rooney, whom I've been a big fan of since his days keeping Ed Farmer in check on the White Sox broadcasts: he's profligate with his home run hopes. About once per game, he'll get all excited about a long fly . . . that dies short of the warning track. If you're like me and my brother, and still get most of your baseball through radio announcers (admittedly via the Internet), it's an extremely frustrating habit.

3) On Friday night, with Pujols at the plate again, Mike Shannon delivered the following call:
Shannon: Here's the pitch. Pujols swings, and Ha-ha! You can't sneak the sun past the rooster, boy! And the rooster just crowed!

Rooney: Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Rooney and Shannon work together better than Rooney and Wayne Hagin ever did. I hope Rooney's okay with Shannon's prominence on the broadcast, because they really do make a good team. Shannon, though not a great (or even good, really) play-by-play man, is a wonderful friend to listen to on the broadcasts. So long as he's there, I'll still feel like listening to Cardinals games is the same experience I grew up with, despite Jack Buck's death.

4) Saturday, Stacey and I watched the Cardinals on Fox--cleverly synching up the Internet radio feed to the Tivo so that we could hear Shannon and Rooney instead of Piniella and Whoever--through the end of the seventh. The Cardinals were down 2-0 at that point, but I gathered my things to go to Wrigley Field, because I had a ticket to my last game of the year, an inconsequential tilt between the Cubs and Rockies.

I hopped on my bicycle . . . and got two blocks away, to Wilson Avenue, before I thought, "Why am I leaving an important game, one that I care about, to go see an utterly inconsequential game?" I turned around and got back home for the bottom of the eighth, which allowed me to see Sandfrog lead singer Scott Spiezio's game-breaking triple. As soon as the game was over, I was back on my bike, and by the first pitch of the second inning at Wrigley, I was in my seat.

5) I hope there's no long-term karmic damage from my rooting for Larry "Chipper" Jones and the Braves this weekend. Similarly, I hope St. Louis doesn't get the punishment it probably deserves from the gods for doing the Tomahawk Chop a couple of times this weekend at Busch Stadium. As Lando might say, "There was nothing we could do. They arrived just before you did." Or something like that.

Go, Cardinals!

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Seasonal statistics

As has become custom, it's time to look back at the predictions for the 2006 regular season. This year, not only did we have the Sports Illustrated predictions, but I had also used a simple Bill James formula to make advanced predictions way back on the first day of November 2005.

So...uh, well, nobody foresaw the success of certain AL Central teams, or the non-success of a certain NL East team that's not in the playoffs for the first time since what seems like when Hank Aaron was on the team.

Nov. 1, 2005 prediction         Sports Illustrated      Actual result

NL East

Atlanta Braves (90-72) Atlanta Braves New York Mets (97-65)
Philadelphia Phillies (86-76) New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies (85-77)
Florida Marlins (83-79) Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta Braves (79-83)
New York Mets (80-82) Washington Nationals Florida Marlins (78-84)
Washington Nationals (78-84) Florida Marlins Washington Nationals (71-91)

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals (83-78)
Houston Astros (88-74) Milwaukee Brewers Houston Astros (82-80)
Chicago Cubs (82-80) Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds (80-82)
Milwaukee Brewers (78-84) Chicago Cubs Milwaukee Brewers (75-87)
Cincinnati Reds (76-86) Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Pirates (67-95)
Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90) Cincinnati Reds Chicago Cubs (66-96)

NL West

San Diego Padres (83-79) L.A. Dodgers San Diego Padres (88-74)
San Francisco Giants (81-81) San Francisco Giants L.A. Dodgers (88-74)
L.A. Dodgers (79-83) San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants (76-85)
Arizona Diamondbacks (72-90) Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks (76-86)
Colorado Rockies (71-91) Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies (76-86)

AL East

New York Yankees (93-69) New York Yankees New York Yankees (97-65)
Boston Red Sox (91-71) Boston Red Sox Toronto Blue Jays (87-75)
Toronto Blue Jays (77-85) Toronto Blue Jays Boston Red Sox (86-76)
Baltimore Orioles (76-86) Tampa Bay Devil Rays Baltimore Orioles (70-92)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (71-91) Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Devil Rays (61-101)

AL Central

Chicago White Sox (90-72) Chicago White Sox Minnesota Twins (96-66)
Cleveland Indians (87-75) Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers (95-67)
Minnesota Twins (84-78) Minnesota Twins Chicago White Sox (90-72)
Detroit Tigers (73-89) Detroit Tigers Cleveland Indians (78-84)
Kansas City Royals (62-100) Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals (62-100)

AL West

L.A. Angels (91-71) Oakland A's Oakland A's (93-69)
Oakland A's (87-75) L.A. Angels L.A. Angels (89-73)
Texas Rangers (82-80) Texas Rangers Texas Rangers (80-82)
Seattle Mariners (70-92) Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners (78-84)

Comparing the teams' expected numbers of wins to their actual 2006 wins, here are the teams ranked from least to most disappointing (playoff teams in bold):

1. Detroit Tigers +22
2. New York Mets +17
3. Minnesota Twins +12
4. Toronto Blue Jays +10
5. L.A. Dodgers +9
6. Seattle Mariners +8
7. Oakland A's +6
8. Arizona Diamondbacks +5
8. Colorado Rockies +5
8. San Diego Padres +5
11. Cincinnati Reds +4
11. New York Yankees +4
13. Philadelphia Phillies +1
14. Chicago White Sox EVEN
14. Kansas City Royals EVEN
16. L.A. Angels -2
16. Texas Rangers -2
18. Milwaukee Brewers -3
19. Boston Red Sox -5
19. Florida Marlins -5
19. Pittsburgh Pirates -5
19. San Francisco Giants -5
23. Baltimore Orioles -6
23. Houston Astros -6
25. Washington Nationals -7
26. Cleveland Indians -9
27. Tampa Bay Devil Rays -10
28. Atlanta Braves -11
29. St. Louis Cardinals -14
30. Chicago Cubs -16

Cardinals: ouch!