dxmachina: (Koufax2)
(For some of us, Opening Day is the new year...)

The Dodgers opened with a good victory over the hated Jints, with Clayton Kershaw both throwing a four-hit shutout and hitting the game winning home run. Even Koufax never did that. (Koufax couldn't hit a lick.)

Speaking of the elder left-hander whose name starts with K, the opening ceremony was pretty cool, especially at the end when Mattingly went to the mound to bring in a lefty reliever for the opening pitch.



Read more... )
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Matt "the Bison" Kemp helps Abby on Sesame street in the Cutest. Video. Ever.




As a side note, Vin Scully once dated Joan Ganz Cooney, In fact, he took her to the post '55 World Series celebration, after Brooklyn won their only World Series.

Another favorite Kemp video of mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH4KP6uqtMg
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
Heading to Jersey for the weekend to visit mom and family in general. Mom is doing well and spamming folks with her laptop. Have remembered to load spaghetti squash in the truck for delivery, which is better than the last couple of years when I didn't remember to do it until Easter.

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It's been rainy lately, so there have been few opportunities to ride. Played volleyball Thursday, and went out for dinner after. That's half the reason I started going again, to get out of the house to socialize. Now that I'm home all the time, I rarely speak to anybody, other than to myself.

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I watched the entire run of Young Justice over the last few days, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I have a tenuous connection to it in that Greg Weisman, the producer, is the brother of Jon Weisman, the owner of Dodger Thoughts, the baseball blog I most often hung out at. Jon wrote of few of the episodes for the show. Alas, Jon retired Dodger Thoughts a couple of weeks ago, but for 10 years it was the best Dodger blog out there.

Time to hit the road.
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
Even the gods think Vin Scully is the best baseball announcer ever.



I mean, really, what are the odds of a rainbow showing up over Dodger Stadium as Vin tosses out the first pitch on Vin Scully Bobblehead night?

The best news in Dodger baseball last week had nothing to do with massive trades, but rather that Vin has decided to come back for another year.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Johnny PeskyThe foul pole in right field at Fenway Park is called Pesky's Pole, in honor of Johnny Pesky. It's a bit of an ironic name in that in his ten-year playing career, Pesky only hit six home runs at Fenway. The story goes that one of those six, a short little hook shot fly ball that curled around the pole as it just barely made it into the stands, saved the bacon of Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell. Parnell named it, and then popularized it when he moved into the Sox broadcasting booth.

I bring this up because Johnny Pesky passed away today, too young at age 92. He was born John Paveskovich and wanted to be a hockey player. In 1942 he had the best season by a rookie shortstop ever, at least according to Bill James in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract*. That year he finished third in the American League MVP voting. In 1943 he was in the Navy, and he didn't play again until 1946, when he finished 4th in the MVP race. One of baseball's all time great what-ifs** is how time lost to military service during the war (and also during Korea) affected various players' careers. In Pesky's case, the lost seasons may have cost him a shot at the Hall of Fame. He was an exceptional shortstop in the seven seasons surrounding his service. Add another three years in his prime, and he becomes the subject of some argument***.

* The NBJHBA was published in 2001, some 47 years after Pesky's last game. In the same entry, James also ranked Pesky the 20th best shortstop ever, which is odd because in the original The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, published 16 years earlier, he includes entries for 25 shortstops, none of whom is Pesky.

** Probably second only to
what if black players had been allowed to play in the majors prior to 1947?, which is the ne plus ultra of such questions.

***The rub here is that Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, who are in the Hall and are the most likely contemporary shortstops to compare to Pesky, also lost those three years, as did Arky Vaughan, by far the best shortstop of that era.


After his playing days, he remained in baseball in one job or another almost to the day he died. He was on the Red Sox payroll for more than sixty years all told, as a player, as a coach, occasionally as the manager, and always as an ambassador for the game and the team.

I had the privilege of meeting Johnny Pesky a couple of times over the years at events at PawSox games, and he was a joy to talk to. The ball he autographed for me is my second favorite after my Koufax ball. Bill James's comment in TNBJHBA mirrors my own experience:

Pesky is a gregarious, cheerful man who can tell stories about old-time baseball for hours—not the well-formed, punch line anecdotes retold a hundred times, but random, slice-of-life stories that resist efforts to move them to paper. Are athletes special people? In general, no, but occasionally, yes. Johnny Pesky at 75 was trim, youthful, optimistic, and practically exploding with energy.

Rest in peace, Johnny. There aren't many ballplayers who get parts of their home fields named after them. Even the Yankees had a moment of silence for him before their game tonight.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
I'm going camping in Canada next Thursday, on the 10th anniversary of the last time I went camping, also in Canada*, in exactly the same provincial park. One of my friends grew up in the area, and her family holds a big annual shindig, the Otty Lake Blues Cruise, on the first weekend of August. A bunch of us went up ten years ago, and now we're returning. There will be biking, golf, and tennis, among other activities. A good time is anticipated.

* I just now realized that I've had this journal for ten years now. Holy cats!

I should have all the camping gear I need. However, I haven't used any of it in ten years now**, so I figured that as long as I have all this free time, I might as well check to make sure it's all in good shape. A stitch in time saves nine, right?

** I used to go camping somewhere almost every year, but got out of the habit. Stupid, that.

The first thing I checked was my air mattress to make sure it would still hold air.

Pump it up... )

---
Apart from the nasty thunderstorm at 5 am that left my neighborhood without power for an hour, today was a nice sunny day, so I washed my sleeping bag and hung it out to dry on the clothesline. Smells like springtime!

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One of the activities planned for the trip is a round of golf. The last time I played golf was ten years ago at the same event. I like to play, but I has no one handy to play golf with, so I never got around to it and fell out of the habit. Plus, it's gotten tres expensive round here. Still, I'm looking forward to it, and in anticipation, I figured I'd better go hit a bucket of balls to see if I could still play.

Well, it wasn't pretty, but I didn't embarrass myself, either. Apparently my days of hitting the ball a couple hundred yards in the air are long gone, but I can hit it 150 or so, and it was usually straight. And hitting it shorter has the benefit of making it harder to really lose a ball when you hit it wrong. Unless you're trying to clear a water hazard.

I also took 10 swings in the slow pitch batting cage, also for like the first time in ten years. I can still hit a line drive, so there's that. I do miss playing ball.
dxmachina: (Emphatic)
...or the slow of reflexes.

Edited to remove what turned out to be a faked up advertisement. I should know better.


dxmachina: (Bike Snow)
No sooner did we pass equinox in these parts than the weather turned cold again. There was even a couple of inches of snow mid-week, which then vanished thanks to an icy rain. I did no riding until yesterday, and then only because I had to drop the Machinamobile off for repairs. Well, it had seemed like a good idea when I made the appointment, but yesterday morning with the local temperature at 27°F and a stiff wind had me cursing myself as I started my pedal home from the repair shop. It was colder than when I did the same back in December. By the time I got home my fingers were numb, despite two pair of gloves. Yeesh.

The trip back was only marginally warmer, but at least it was up above freezing. The wind had picked up, so it didn't feel much different.

Today was nicer, so much so that I headed down to the bike path, only to find that it felt quite a bit colder there, as usual. Sigh. I know it'll warm up eventually.

As it is, this is my best March ever, mileage wise. Not that there was a high milestone to beat, since my previous best was 76 miles. I'm now at 84 with a few days still to go. If it warms up at all before Friday, one good ride puts me over 100.

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Murray Chass used to be the national baseball columnist for the New York Times. Now he is definitely NOT a blogger*. A few days ago he used his not-a-blog to post a monstrous attack on the character of Stan Musial, by all accounts (except for Chass's) one of the most decent human beings to ever to play the game. Among other things, Chass accused Musial of racism, leaping to a conclusion based upon a story told to him by Marvin Miller, who claimed he heard it from Musial's teammate, Curt Flood. The irony here is that had Chass acted as the journalist he claims to be and fact checked the story, he'd have discovered a more complete version of the same events in Flood's own autobiography, one which very much contradicts Chass's leap. I was irate about this, because Musial is a favorite of mine, and because I couldn't believe anyone would stoop so low as to twist and/or omit the facts of the story to deliberately libel a 90 year-old man. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt this way, because the baseball blogosphere went nuts. Nobody likes Chass, but this went beyond the pale. Anyway, this has all been by way of leading up to Joe Posnanski ripping Chass a new one, a blog post with which I totally agree.

* In his previous job, Chass expressed nothing but contempt for baseball bloggers. Now that he is in the same position, he continues to hold other bloggers in contempt, and calls what he does an online column. What. Ever.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Despite the surprise snowstorm that greeted my neighborhood this morning, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it actually the pattern of light on my monitor, which is currently showing me the first Dodgers TV game of spring training. Huzzah!

---
When he was managing the Amazin' Mets in the early sixties, Casey Stengel was talking to some reporters about two young players, Ed Kranepool and Greg Goossen. He pointed at Kranepool and said, "See that fellow over there? He's 20 years old. In ten years he has a chance to be a star. The he pointed at Goossen. "Now, that fellow over there, he's 20, too. In ten years he has a chance to be 30." Kranepool never became a star, but he was a solid player for the Mets for eighteen years, and has sort of become the franchise's grand old man. Goossen never became a star, either, or even became a regular, although he achieved some small measure of baseball immortality by being one of Jim Bouton's teammates 1969 Seattle Pilots, the season Bouton recorded in Ball Four. He was out of baseball by age 25, but he did make it to 30. Among other things, he became an actor and stuntman, with bit parts in a handful of movies. Much like his baseball career, he never became a star, or a regular, but he did achieve some fame as Gene Hackman's stand-in in numerous films.

I bring all this up because Goossen passed away yesterday at the age of 65, which is way too young.

---
(Edited to update)

And Charley Steiner just mentioned on the broadcast that Duke Snider, the Duke of Flatbush, has also passed away. He was 84. Not a good day. I just took a photo of his jersey at the Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. Terry Cashman wrote the song "Talkin' Baseball" about the time when New York had the three best centerfielders in baseball.



---
(Further update)

Jon Weisman's remembrance.

Cooperstown

Feb. 6th, 2011 01:02 pm
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
Last weekend I joined my friend Tom Z on his annual pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I'd never been before, despite it being no more than 15 miles from my brothers' farm. Tom goes every year for a F2F with his online fantasy baseball buddies. Now I know how civilians feel at b.org gatherings.

We were a little worried about the weather, as snow showers were predicted, but they didn't really materialize. If fact, there was less snow on the ground in Cooperstown than in coastal Rhody, and far less that at Tom's house in central Connecticut. We were all supposed to meet up for breakfast, but the usual restaurant was closed for renovations, and we chose the wrong backup. We met up with the group at the Hall and spent most of the day there. I have pictures here.

It was fun. It's not a big museum, and there are areas where you think they might have done a better job, although a lot of that might be personal preference. You get a little bit of everything, but not a lot of depth, which I suppose is par for the course in any museum. One item actually annoyed me. In a generally well-done exhibit about baseball movies, they include a jersey Tim Robbins wore in Bull Durham. What annoys is that this is the same institution that banned Robbins from speaking at a celebration of that movie because of his political views. Jerks*.

* The museum is currently embroiled in a bit of a scandal of another sort. Sometime in the 80's some items went missing from their collection. Some of these have now turned up at some high end auction houses. An employee at one of the houses notified the HoF, and reports they seem to show no inclination of getting the artifacts that they were entrusted with back, along with apparently refusing to assist the FBI in its investigation. Meanwhile, the nY Public Library has been much more active in trying to sort out similar thefts from their collection. More information here and elsewhere on that site, which is for a forthcoming book on the subject.

Midway through the day we all had lunch, and the conversation turned into a bit of a wake. These guys are all heavy hitters in the world of fantasy baseball, and one type of game in particular**, a game that was just canceled by the company running it. I got to hear more about the politics and business aspects of running fantasy baseball competitions than I need to know, but not enough to put me off the day (my own leanings are to baseball simulation games, and the search for the perfect sim, so I know from the zeal). Apparently the company that originally ran the game was the outfit that successfully fought MLB's bogus attempt to copyright game data. They won, but used up a lot of dough in doing so, and sold out to another company. That company was sold to the conglomerate that owns the Atlanta Braves, among other things, and the corporate PTB decided to get out of fantasy baseball. So, RIP, Diamond Challenge. Or maybe not. One of the guys at lunch apparently helped launch the game back in the day, and is now trying to launch it again under new management. I hope it works out.

** Normal fantasy baseball involves drafting a team from the current list of ML players, and seeing how they perform over the course of the season. The late, lamented game (Diamond Challenge) has the same goal, but a different approach to rosters. In the usual game, once a player is drafted no one else can get him for their team, just like in real life. In the Diamond Challenge, players are assigned "salaries", and more than any team can draft any player, as long as they stay below a set salary total. Thus every team in the league can put Albert Pujols on their roster, but paying his humongous salary doesn't leave much to spend on the rest of the team.

Anyway, it was good day.

---
I stumbled across Momma Mia! on TBS last night, and watched it for the first time. So, who thought it was a good idea to have Pierce Brosnan sing? Because he makes Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon sound like Pavoratti.
dxmachina: (Pitching)
Bob Feller
Bob Feller taught me how to pitch. Or at least he tried to. When I was a kid, I picked up a used copy of his book, How to Pitch. I still have it, and the inside cover informs me that it cost me 20¢. It's a thin volume, only 90 pages, but there is quite a bit useful information, especially should I have ever found myself in the unlikely position of having to come up with the perfect pitch to throw to Ted Williams. Alas, the ragginess of my arm never allowed me to put Feller's tips to effective use. It's one thing to know what to do. It's quite another to have the physical ability to actually do it.

Feller died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 92. I suppose one shouldn't be much surprised when a 92 year-old man dies, but until he took ill with leukemia earlier in the year, he was still one helluva a vigorous nonagenarian*. He had some of the best nicknames in baseball—Rapid Robert, Bullet Bob, and the Heater from Van Meter.

* Feller was one of the starting pitchers at the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame Classic last year (photo below). Apparently he could still bring it. And unlike a lot of celebrity throwers of a first pitches, the ones who bounce them from forty feet out on national television, Feller always insisted on throwing them from the rubber.

For those unfamiliar with his work, Feller was the Nolan Ryan of his era, a pitcher who threw fast balls that blurred**. Like Ryan, he occasionally had control issues. Not only did he often lead the league in strikeouts, but also in walks and hit batsmen. And like Ryan, the control eventually came.

** Feller once threw a pitch that was clocked at 107.6 mph.

Feller became a national sensation in 1936 at the age of 17. He signed with the Cleveland Indians in his junior year of high school, and, as he later put it, spent his summer vacation pitching in the major leagues. His high school graduation in Van Meter, IA, was covered by the NBC radio network. He never did play in the minors.

Bob Feller at 91
In the three years (1939-41) leading up to the war, he established himself as the best pitcher in the American League, leading the league in wins and strikeouts every single year, and in ERA in 1940. Even so, when Pearl Harbor was attacked he enlisted in the navy the very next day, the first ballplayer to do so. Given his stature, he could easily have pulled light duty in Hawaii***, but he volunteered for combat duty, and served as an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the battleship Alabama. He lost almost four full seasons to the war. He returned to baseball towards the end of the '45 season.

*** <coughDiMaggiocough>

After the war he picked up pretty much where he left off, and pitched for another 11 years. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1962. He is the only chief petty officer in the Hall.

He was ahead of his time in many areas, and always outspoken in an era when outspokeness wasn't especially appreciated. In the off-season he barnstormed around the country with Negro League players (he often pitched against Satchel Paige), and was an advocate for integration of the majors. The barnstorming also left him financially independent, so that he did not need an off-season job, a rarity in those days. This afforded him the time to work on his conditioning all year round, another rarity among ballplayers of that era. There's a whole chapter in his book about conditioning. He also spoke out against the reserve system, long before there was a players union.

He did not fade quietly into the background once his career ended. Perhaps the best adjective to describe him was irascible. He often chided modern players over various matters****, and once the internet fully kicked in, it often seemed that the snark "Get off my lawn," was invented for him. And yet even when he was at his most curmudgeonly, a fair reading of his comments would almost always find that he was making a valid point. He became the grand old man of baseball, and he will be sorely missed.

**** Most recently it was over the hoopla surrounding young phenom Stephen Strasburg, who has occasionally been compared to Feller. Feller's comment about the young man, who has pitched all of 12 games in the majors, paraphrased, was let's wait till he wins a hundred games or so before doing any comparisons. Not long after that Strasburg blew out his elbow, and required Tommy John surgery. He'll miss most, if not all, of next season.
dxmachina: (Charlie Brown 2)
...the man who hit the Shot Heard 'Round The World.




By all accounts he was a class act, and became long-time friends with the man who gave up the homer, Ralph Branca. One interesting thing about that game is that if Thomson hadn't hit the home run and the Dodgers had won, he likely would've been the goat for having earlier tried to stretch a single into a double only to discover that teammate Whitey Lockman had stopped at second in front of him, leading to two Giants trying to stand on the same base. Oops.

Thank goodness I wasn't alive yet when it happened. It would've been a stake through the heart.
 
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Easter weekend had terrific weather, but I was down in Jersey so didn't get a chance to ride at all. I did get to play a little wiffle ball with a niece and a couple of nephews. It's the first time I've swung any kind of bat in almost a decade, yet I'm the only one of the crew who actually hit the ball. Apparently none of them have their uncle's hand-eye coordination. I blame my sisters. Actually, I whiffed on my first two swings, then tomahawked a pitch that was about two feet over my head for a line drive that reached the street. Go me!

---
Al, Durrah, and I took a ride down to the hobby shop in Magnolia, then stopped at an LL Bean on the way back. Never been to one before. I spent most of my time looking at overpriced bicycle accessories and clothing. Nice stuff, but nothing I couldn't get cheaper at a local shop. They did have one bike, though, that I liked quite a bit. Alas, I already have plenty of bikes.

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The weather continued to be nice for most of the week, and I did get a couple of rides in. And Thursday I tried to give the lawn it's first mow of the season, but was stymied by my old adversary, the Briggs and Stratton two-cycle engine. Wouldn't start for love nor money. So I bundled it off the the repair shop Saturday. It should be ready to take on the meadow outside my front door sometime later in the week.

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The basement continues to dry out. Friday I tossed out a couple of loads of soggy trash, and with that and the dehumidifier still doing yeoman's work, by Saturday morning it was smelling a lot less musty down there. Still feeling pretty lucky about it all as one of my coworkers still has water coming into his basement as fast as he can pump it out.

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I finished varnishing the cabinets, drawer fronts, and cupboard door for the hobby bench Saturday, and today I attached various pulls and hinges, and attached the drawer fronts to the drawer bodies. I just need to fill some nail holes and I can bring them both upstairs... Um... After I clear out some space in the nerd hole.

Still to do are the bench top and a pair of sliding shelves for the cupboard. The plywood for the bench top is cut. The edges need to be trimmed out, then I need to finish it somehow or another, with something that can stand up to spilled paint thinner. I'm running a small experiment with epoxy appliance paint, which is only recommended for painting metal, to see if it'll work on primed wood as well. So far, so good.

---
Meanwhile, I've been hacking up my lungs since Friday. I'm not sure if it's a chest cold or allergy/asthma due to all the plants popping off so early. Am taking loratidine and tussin in the am and nyquil in the pm. Whatever, I've felt like crap all weekend, enough so that for another weekend I didn't get any rides in. Blehh!

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"I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait till
it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up." - Bob Uecker


Charlie Haeger, a knuckleballer, started for the Dodgers today and turned in one heck of an outing, striking out 12 in six innings of work. Only ten of the twelve strikeouts actually resulted in outs as catcher A.J. Ellis was having as much trouble catching the knuckler as the Marlins' batters were having hitting it. Alas, it was all for naught as the bullpen blew another game in the late innings.
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
I was shocked to find daffodils in full bloom in the bed alongside the house. I thought it was a bit early, given that the crocuses had only popped a few days before, so I checked my Livejournal archives. Last year they didn't bloom until around April 12th. That's some kind of early blooms. Time to think about starting some tomato seedlings.

---
Drove down to Connecticut for the annual March Madness w/ribs at Tom's. Watched some terrific basketball, especially the Northern Iowa-Kansas game, which saw plucky N. Iowa outplaying number one seed Kansas for the almost the entire game. Then in the final couple of minutes Kansas's pressure defense seemed to have N. Iowa coming completely unglued. Kansas got within a point, but Iowa finally solved the defense, making a three and drawing a timely offensive foul from the Jayhawks, and it was all over. Another bracket busted.

I'm having an awful tournament as far as my brackets go. At one point in my competition with Tom (where we make our picks one round at a time), I was down 33 pts. I think I'm still down about 22. The bracket I have in the Dodger Thoughts competition over at ESPN got wrecked by the Big East's seeming total lack of interest in showing up for the tournament. I mean really... Georgetown? Villanova?

---
My alma mater, Seton Hall, took a slightly different approach to tournament time it seems. They failed to make the NCAAs (as usual), but did make the NIT, and were even favored in the nationally televised opening game. Five minutes in, one of the Hall's better players got a little miffed apparently, and punched one of the opposing players in the groin. Way to represent, champ. The player, quite naturally got tossed, and things quickly went downhill from there. The next day the coach was fired for conduct unbecoming the University. About time, too. He was a jerk; an abrasive individual who antagonized pretty much everyone he came in contact with, including his players.

Meanwhile, player who only a week before had been dismissed from the team for criticizing the coach was arrested for an armed robbery in which he duct-taped eight people while stealing their credit crads and cash during a break-in. I guess since basketball had turned out to be a dead end, he'd decided to try a new career.

---
Vin Scully was back on the job today, two days after the entire Dodger community and fandom held its collective breath after Vin had a fall at home that required staples and an overnight hospital stay. Fortunately it turned out to be nothing serious.

What's funny about this is that Vin actually apologized on air today for causing such a fuss.

"Hi everybody, and a very pleasant Sunday to you, wherever you may be. Hope you don't mind if I take a moment out: First of all, I am sorry to have caused the accident that caused so much stress. I'm very sorry for that. I'd also like to salute the gentle heroes of 911 in Calabasas, and the doctors and nurses at West Hills Hospital, for taken care of me so very, very well. However, now that I've done that, let's get to the more important thing, and that is the game. The Dodgers and the Indians. Jake Westbrook will be on the mound for Cleveland. Left-hander Eric Stults will be on the mound for the Dodgers. And Lord, I am happy to be here. We'll be with the ballgame, right after this."

There's more here from his brief press conference today, including his own self-deprecating play-by-play of the accident. The man is a treasure.

Which reminds me of one of his more famous quotes:

"Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to-day... Aren't we all?"

I've been getting the MLB Gameday audio package now for a few years just so I could listen to him do the games. But he only does the first three innings on the radio, so this year, since it is likely to be his last, I decided to splurge on the MLB TV package for the year. They give you a discount if you're a returning subscriber, even if it was just the radio feeds, so that's good. What was less so was today's spring training game was going to be Vin's first of the year, but the feed wasn't available. Feh, I say!
dxmachina: (Bike)
Rode again today, although not as far. The reasons I cut it short were that my legs were still protesting the sudden onset of exercise yesterday, the numerous moving speed bumps the good weather brought out in spades, and did I mention that my legs were really tired? The most annoying of the speed bumps were the large clutches of people who didn't see any reason not to stand dead in the middle of the path whilst conversing with other clutches of people. Well them and the clueless frelling parents who fail to pay attention as their progeny wander of into oncoming traffic. Twice I was cut off by adorable little blond girls riding tiny pink bikes with white tires as their parents paid attention to pretty much anything but their kids. And really, don't they realize that red bikes are faster?

Ah well, soon enough the CFPs get bored of dragging the kids all the way over to the bike path and let them ride in the streets near home instead, as nature intended.

My heel still hurts when I walk, or stand up, and it really stiffened up over night so that merely rotating my ankle early this morning was enough to bring me from mostly asleep to totally awake and in pain in microseconds. Doesn't bother me at all when I pedal, though.

---
Speaking of sunshine and spring-like temperatures, there was this, posted by commenter Hollywood Joe over at Dodger Thoughts (which has moved from the LA Times to much nicer digs at ESPN):

"I was in ATL this week, it was snowy and cold, and I was walking a tradeshow floor - ugh. I got tired and hungry, so I ran across the street in the snow, and into a bar for some lunch (food lunch, not the liquid kind thank you). Lo and behold BASEBALL, GLORIOUS BASEBALL there on the TV, in the bar, in the middle of the day.

It was like being blown a kiss from god."


Amen.
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
Behind the bag, gets through Buckner Holliday...

The Dodgers and Cardinals have played two pretty exciting games in the Divisional Series to this point. The first game, while hardly an artistic triumph, was exciting just because so many men from both teams were on base at any point in the game (30 men left on base between the two teams), so that either team could have broken the game wide open with a well-timed hit. But the kaboom never came, and the Dodgers managed to push across two more runs than the Cards.

In contrast, last night's game was a true white knuckler, as Adam Wainwright and Clayton Kershaw mowed down the opposing batters. Each team had singleton homers, and the Cards managed to push across a second run against Kershaw in the seventh to take a thin lead that held up into the bottom of the ninth with the heart of the Dodger batting order due up. But both Andre Ethier and Manny flied out, leaving things looking mighty dismal for the LA nine. James Loney stepped to the plate and rocketed a line drive to left field, but it was right at Matt Holliday who charged in to make what should have been a game-ending catch. But somehow he misjudged the ball, missing it with his glove completely. He got caught in the transition between holding the glove palm up or palm forward. Instead, the ball hit him in the groin* and caromed away while Loney chugged into second base.

* As Vin Scully noted on the radio broadcast, it was a painful error in more ways than one.

Still, no harm done, except to Holliday's pride, and perhaps his plans for future progeny. The Cards still lead by one with two out. Speedy Juan Pierre was sent out to second to pinch run for the lumbering Loney, and Casey Blake stepped up to the plate.

Has there ever been a better baseball name than Casey Blake? It could only be better if his middle name was Flynn. He's not a great player, but he's a good one, one who never seems to have a bad at bat. After nine pitches and several foul balls, he managed to work a walk to keep the inning going. Men on first and second, still two outs.

Rafael Belliard stepped to the plate. Belliard is sometimes called Mini-Manny because he is short, pudgy, and grew up idolizing Manny Ramirez. Unlike Manny and Blake, he often has bad looking at bats, but he'd been hot since joining the Dodgers in August. He smacked the first pitch into center field, bring home Pierre to tie the game.

Russell Martin was up next. Martin, an all-star in 2007 and 2008 had a terrible year this year. That said, he is adept at drawing walks, and did so, loading the bases for pinch hitter Mark Loretta. There was some trepidation when Loretta was named to the post-season roster. He started the year hot in his role as a bench player/pinch hitter, but as the season wore on the 37 year-old seemed to wear out. He didn't hit at all well down the stretch. It didn't matter, though. Loretta hit a soft flair into short center field, scoring Blake and ending the game in a totally unlikely Dodger victory.

I watch the game on TBS, but I had the sound muted so I could listen to Vin Scully's radio call of the action instead of TBS's lesser announcers. Some smart person at MLB mashed up the TBS video with Scully's call of the final five at bats, which is a terrific idea. There is also the shorter, good parts version, with all three announcer feeds contributing.
dxmachina: (Aldrin)

So, supposing there had been a baseball diamond on the moon, right where Armstrong wanted to land the Eagle. NASA has a picture of what the moonwalk would've looked like. Lars at Wezen-Ball discusses this further.


Man, I remember the landing like it was yesterday. The History Channel is currently rebroadcasting CBS's coverage of the event, which is just neat. And speaking of "Just neat...", next up is Moonshot, with James Marsters as Aldrin.

Walter Cronkite was such a tech geek.


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