Saturday, September 30, 2006

It was fun - I'm not ready for the off season

Eliminated on the second to last game of the season? Not bad, not bad at all. I had hoped for a .500 season when it began, and, well, one win tomorrow gets that. The thought of a playoff race had never crossed my mind when spring rolled around, but then we had that awesome April - remember how fun that was? And just to think, if Jerry hadn't given up and stopped trying to win in September, we could have won a game or two more, and, well, that may have just been enough...

I'm going to write a post on the season as soon as it sinks in that we are really done. However, right now I wanted to post about one of my off-season projects, one of many (including the start of a displaced fan club which I will write about later.)

November is National Novel Writing Month. For the second year in a row, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo, a contest of sorts that challenges aspiring novelists to write 50,000 words in one month. I hit 50,000 with nine hours to spare last year on my story, tentively titled Lester Barry Speaks Out or Had Enough.

This year, I will be writing about a guy who loves baseball so much that he has developed the ability to feel what is going to happen before it occurs. He spends all of is free time on baseball, but hanging out with the wrong crowd nearly destroys his love for the game, as he becomes embroiled with a bookie and the gambling crowd who abuse his gift. It's a story about appreciating life and the little things - like baseball - that make it worthwhile.

A minor subplot will theorize about W. P. Kinsella being J.D. Salinger, in much more detail than my previous post on it. I haven't quite decided the dynamic of this part of the story, but it should be fun. I'm reading Margaret Salinger's memoir Dream Catcher - a fascinating look at a very strange and hurting man (ease his pain).

I will be posting chapters here in November, so I hope you will all continue to come to church services. I'd appreciate any feedback and criticism, too, as I will be writing with the intent to publish. One caveat, though - as the nature of this "contest" is to write so many words in so little time, I will be writing quickly to reach the required number of words, which also comes at the expense of quality at times. There will be typos, too. I hate typos.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sausage Voodoo

A lot of people don't know this, but there is good voodoo, too - it's not all just sticking pins in a doll to curse someone. Now, this being the Church of Baseball and all, which, by the way, is non-denominational, and voodoo being another religion, I thought I would try positive voodoo today.

These dolls are "handmade and blessed by our wonderful group of local New Orleans Voodoo Practitioners. In New Orleans, we use dolls like these as focusing tools - they help us to enrich our lives with Love, Prosperity, Good Health, and many other positive influences." Oh yeah, and I've added a little touch of mascot with love and care and the irrational, illogical, delusory hope that the stars will align and things will go our way.

So we have to depend on fate or destiny or god or gods or God or coincindence or the stars or something to pull this out, but who knows? Maybe he or she or it or they or He or She or It or They will take a break from the horrors of the world and give us this day our daily win and forgive us our tresspasses.

It's tough to root for the hated Braves, but this weekend I am Braves fan number one. As for the Sausages, go Bill Hall!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


And so I sink into another furry of darkness - a deep, cold feeling of despair and anguish - for my gods have abandoned me in my time of need. I curse the bases that were impediments to home plate. I curse the Donkey for his Ks. I curse Michalak who should never don a Major League uniform. But most of all I curse Jerry Morron, a man who has no business putting a pencil to a lineup.

The cruel powers that be have tortured us again, giving us hope where no hope should have existed, pulling us from the mire only to fling us back into the wretched pits, abandoned, lost, without faith. Oh, what dreams had come to all of us, what mirages of October, when the crisp, cool air rustles the trees of destiny and leaves us glorious memories for all of our mortal existence. Alas, those dreams have been stolen from us not by our opponents but by our own heartless team, a team that threw away opportunities time and time again, showering us with frustration and agony. Those dreams were our joy, but they are beaten, mangled, ripped to pieces...

And now - dead.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boom, boom, clap!

Ok, here's what we have to do - we have to channel all of our positive energy into getting the Reds to win the rest of their games. Forget about expending any hope on the Cardinals losing - they seem to be highly capable of doing that themselves - we need all of the energy to go to the Reds. Also, we need to polish the karma a bit, get it looking shiny. So, nobody do anything bad, mean, immoral, unethical for the next week, ok? Don't think bad thoughts, don't lie (not even white ones), don't get into any arguments with anyone. Say hello to frowning people on the sidewalk. Pick up a piece of litter off the ground. Save the whales. We need good karma!

2.5 games out with five games to play. Go Reds!

UPDATE: Just so I don't pick one diety over another, I am offering a prayer to some others:

Monday, September 25, 2006

The geezer has a burst of energy

I remember the first year. He was about as far away from Southwest Ohio that you could get while still being in the United States, back before teh internets, when newspapers were still the way people got their news. The time difference made all but highlights nearly impossible to watch, but I always checked to see what he had done.

In a way, the distance already made him a legend in my mind. He was this guy I never saw who was supposed to be the greatest baseball player since Willie Mays and whose hometown was Cincinnati - was he real? I had a poster of him over my bed (that was stolen when my sister had a party when everyone was out of town) and pages of his baseball cards. I often thought about how great it'd be for him to come to the Reds - we hadn't had a true superstar in my lifetime, the kind of player that would draw national attention to the team.

And then it happened. It was a holiday, an unbelievable feat accomplished by Leatherpants Vampire. Ken Griffey, Jr. was a Red. He was going to break Hank Aaron's record in the hallowed uniform. He was going to bring our team some championships after narrowly missing the year before. He was going to walk on water, turn the Ohio River into beer, and take us during the Rapture.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Still, Junior moved into the top ten all time while donning the wishbone C. This was a fun win, but damnit, it reinstilled that illogical sense of hope in me. Cardinals lost again. Reds 3.5 games back with six games to play.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Playoff Realty©


Oh yeah - remember that guy Trevor something the Reds drafted all those years ago? He just did something.

Fat Austin broke Nick's leg

Quel horreur!

UPDATE: "In a two-hour procedure, a titanium rod was inserted into Nick's fractured right femur. The surgery went well. He is expected to make a full recovery, and be ready for Spring Training 2007. Nick will remain in the hospital for one or two days, and begin his rehabilitation today."

Johnson suffered a fractured right femur in the bottom of the eighth inning of Saturday's game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. He underwent surgery to repair the femur last night at New York Hospital Queens. Dr. Peter Dzenis performed the surgery with assistance from Dr. Shaffer.
Poor Nick. Will this keep Austin away from the buffet?

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's election season!


god I love this game

"Eckersley battling Kirk Gibson; outfielders deep straightaway. Here it comes: Outside, ball one. Throw to first -- Davis had to struggle to get back in first. And Hassey almost picked him off. That would have been a terrible way for this Dodger team to end the game. One ball, two strikes the count. Gibson heaves a deep sigh, digs back in, gets back in and waits. One ball, two strikes, here comes another: The runner going, swing and a foul, out of play, off to the left. Boy, what a tough cookie this Gibson is. ... He's playing hurt, hurt, hurt. He's up there with a one-ball, two-strike count, two out, tying run at first, bottom of the ninth. The pitch: high, two and two.

"Two and two the count to Gibson, tying run at first, two out. Throw to first, the runner's back. The A's are leading, 4 to 3, bottom of the ninth, 55,000-plus for the first game of this '88 Series. Gibson will get back in with a 2-2 count, and sooner or later Eckersley's gonna have to come to him again. He had a two-strike count, now it's 2-2. The right-hander is ready. Here it comes, the runner going, it's outside. No throw, stolen base. Tying run at second, two out and 3-2 on Gibson!

"And now an easier opportunity to tie this game if Gibson can solve the Dennis Eckersley who saved 45 games for the A's this year. He's trying to save it for Dave Stewart. Mike Davis at second base with two out. Three and two to Gibson. A base hit would tie it, a home run would win it for the Dodgers. If Gibson gets on, Sax comes up. From the stretch -- time called by Gibson.

"We have a big 3-2 pitch coming here from Eckersley. Gibson swings, and a fly ball to deep right field. This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the Dodgers have won the game, 5 to 4. I don't believe what I just saw! I don't believe what I just saw!

"One of the most remarkable finishes to any World Series game. A one-handed home run by Kirk Gibson, and the Dodgers have won it, 5 to 4, and I am stunned. ... I have seen a lot of dramatic finishes in a lot of sports, but this one might top almost every other one. ... Will you give me a slap alongside the head so I can realize that what I saw is the truth?"

I come from a baseball family

My mother and sister are going to the fan appreciation game on Sunday. Here's what Mom has to say about it:

The excitement about sitting 6 rows behind the Reds dugout is gone. The only person we will know is Jerry Morron because the REAL Reds are gone.

The bullpen will be little league players from down in Kentucky, and the outfield will be a bunch of guys they picked off 5th and Vine St.

Probably one 1 or 2 concessions will be open and the leftover hotdogs from Saturday will be reheated for Sunday's game.

Ken Griffey Jr. shirts with #30 on them will be half price along with Casey shirts, Lopez shirts, Kearns shirts, and all of the other pitchers who came and went this season!

Our fan appreciation gifts will probably be a piece of fruit from Castillini's market, or the old used bullpen scorecards with scribbles on them.

I'm seriously not looking forward to going, for the first time in my life, just because of all the disappoint that the team has given me in the past two months. It was such a fun ride in the beginning of the summer, but when it counted the most, they let us down!

I've watched them in LA, San Diego, DC, NY, Detroit, and as often as I can on FoxSports. No matter what, I still love my REDS but my heart is broken.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jerry didn't even try to win this game

This was the most pathetic game of the season. Why? Because Jerry didn't even try.

With an attitude like that, it's no wonder the Reds collapsed. No one on this team gives a damn. You have Baby Griffey out with a sore toe, Adam Dunn hitting .1something in the last month, and Olmedo, Wise, Clayton, and Castro are in the same lineup.

Nice, Jerry, real nice.

Game recap in haiku

Oh look! A good win
Against the hated Asstros
The juice box has leaked.

But so! It's too late
So many losses this month
Out of contention.

A miracle is
Winning the rest of the games
Angels heard on high.

The bats did come out
More hits than a few this time
I miss the offense.

Denorfia hit
A Crawford Boxes home run
Reds led after that.

BP used his face
Instead of his glove to stop
A ball that stopped him.

The pen was the suck
As usual we had to
Stop breathing a bit.

ARRRRRRRR! said the whole team
`Tis Talk like a Pirate Day
Silly pirate jokes.

Today's game in sun
Texass 2pm start time
I will watch at work.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Put me on the DL

I'm having sympathy pains.

The Reds collapse brought about my own collapse this morning. I'm sure all of the losing and the subsequent depression is a contributing factor to my inability to sleep recently. Oh yes, I try to sleep. As soon as we finished making llama meat out of Michael's* latest anti-Dunn tirade at Red Reporter last night, I went to bed. But I couldn't sleep.

This morning I got out of bed without waking up. I don't even remember getting dressed, but that could be a result of what followed shortly after. See, I walked out the door, late to work as usual, and my legs weren't quite awake. I'm not a clutz, honestly. I just have a really difficult time waking up in the mornings, especially when I'm not sleeping at night. I was trying to button my sleeves while walking when my legs just gave way, and I fell down three concrete stairs onto the rigid sidewalk below. Oh, it hurt. It hurt in ways I can't even describe, for I can't figure out how I managed to land on my left knee and wrist, twist my back, scrape up my right shin and left hip, and hit my head.

I laid on the sidewalk for a bit, flat on my back, with the woman who had just passed my house turning to look and continuing to walk without helping or even bothering to ask if I was ok, and I could have used some help getting up. When I finally got up and limped to the dreadful bus stop, everything started to go black for about 30 seconds. Concussion? I still feel really strange, and I just can't think of anything to write. Although with the recent outcomes that have transpired, one doesn't have to suffer a head injury to not have anything to say.

At least the wiki is fun.

*Is Michael really Marty Brennamen having some fun?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why does baseball hurt sometimes?

You're a kid, and a summer treat is to go to a baseball game. You love it so much that you wish you could have your birthday in the summer instead of the dead of winter just so you could have a ticket as a present every year. Your school district gives you free tickets for getting straight A's, and that idea is on your mind every time you take a test during the last few days of the school year. Your teachers pull televisions into the rooms on Opening Days so you can watch the games. You go down on Safety Patrol Day and nearly cry when you have to go home because the game is rained out. You like that black rubbery stuff in the sidewalks because it's squishy and you're a kid and kids like squishiness. The boats speed down the river while you’re eating pre-game lunch on its muddy banks, and you talk about one day getting to take boats to a baseball game. The Reds win the World Series and then...

You grow up a bit. Your passions mature. You go to high school, and the squishy stuff doesn't amuse you anymore, but the enthusiasm for the game is still there. You understand more than just pitch the ball and hit it. You look at the numbers. You know the runners are going on a 3-2, 2 out pitch and you understand why they do it. You get out of school for the summer. The humidity from the Ohio makes the balls sail through the summer nights like shooting stars. You are a senior. You cry when baseball goes on strike, especially since your team was in first place. Real life is coming - it's already there, smashing your heart to bits.

College arrives. Your team gets swept in the NLCS. The sting lasts through the darkness of winter, but with spring always comes rebirth, and you feel hope. You skip class to watch Opening Day only to discover you can't watch it because freshmen can't have cable in their dorms and the holy day is no longer broadcast on network television. It doesn't matter, though, because the umpire has a heart attack on the field and dies, and the game is postponed. More real life, harsh and finite and more mortal than your young mind can comprehend. In college you learn things that shock your whole belief system, simple things like your country is not infallible and evil is real. But you still have baseball, and when the players are between those white lines, nothing else matters. You go to student discount nights at the ballpark since you live closer to the stadium than you ever have. There is losing. Lots of losing.

You go away to Europe for a year. You watch the World Series on tape delay with a Frenchman who has never seen a baseball game; he is fascinated with the fact that a guy named Devon White is black. You watch another game in a bar, one of those old geezer townee bars, where you and another female friend ask the bartender if you can watch the game. He looks at you like the universe is imploding, but he obliges. Spring comes again, and the desperate longing for baseball is almost more than you can bear, as MLB.TV had not yet been invented. You had to settle for reading about Opening Day. More losing. You go home.

College ends too soon. The losing has stopped, at least until September, and then the season is over, after one game, just like that, and the hurt is there. During the winter, a seeming miracle happens as your team gets one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but your hero tragically falls time and time again, and the disappointment is great. You go to California and watch another team, but it just isn't the same. Your team visits. You go and have peanuts thrown at you because of your cap.

You move to another ocean, go to a place without baseball, and you have to settle for watching an American League team in the next city over. Then, as if Providence thinks you deserve it, a team falls from the sky. They play in a dumpy stadium with some hasbeens and neverwillbes. You don't care; you have baseball. You have baseball closer than you've ever had, baseball where you can hop a train and be at the ballpark in 15 minutes. You attend the home opener on a beautiful April day where everything is magically perfect as if God himself had taken a day off from overseeing war and poverty and disease and decided to enjoy a day at the ballpark. The team does well, so well that you find yourself at the stadium time and time again, as if some sort of cosmic force is pulling you there, making the team win when it isn't suppose to. The electricity at the ballpark is mezmorizing, addicting, and no one in the city can get enough. But things start to fall apart. In desperation, you find yourself at the ballpark rooting against your childhood team that had fallen out of contention months earlier. September's song rings like a country-western tune, and then it's over. It hurts a bit.

The next season arrives like honey, though your number one team is picked to be one of the worst in all of baseball. The newness has worn off your second team; your heart is back in the right place. And then there is winning - you had almost forgotten how it felt. The winning continues right up to September, just enough winning to keep hope from slipping from the box, but then the length of the season crushes your spirit and your team quits on you. Now you find yourself oddly affected, like this season matters in the grand scheme of life, when logically you know it doesn't. You know there is next year and the year after that and after that, insha'allah, but it doesn't take the sting away, oh no, it doesn't lift the grayness that has descended over your heart.

Dear Mr. Castellini, this is my baseball bio. It spans nearly three decades - three decades in which we have known more disappointment than success. Can you give us 2007? Can you spend the money, just this once, so we don't end up with holes in our souls yet again? I invested more energy into this season than ever before; I feel tired, devoid of energy, emotionally drained. Disappointment rings out through September's waning light as we witness the death of another summer, another dissatisfying season, another post season with the damn Yankees. Oh yes, baseball hurts sometimes. It stings with the force of a thousand pinstriped wasps.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Austin KKKearns

I went to see the Nats play the Sausages last night, a dull game with some rain and no offense until the ninth inning. Felipe Lopez started the ninth with a triple and Ryan "Brooks" Zimmerman brought him in with single for his second RBI of the game, Nats down 5-2. Nick Johnson flied out, Jose Vidro walked, and Brian Schneider walked to load the bases with one out when Ryan Church struck out and Austin Kearns came up to pinch hit for rookie Nook Logan.

Austin is fat. Seriously. I had to make a comment about it outloud because he's put on at least ten, maybe fifteen pounds. Remember his problem in the past? Well, he's fat again, and he's hurt again, reduced to pinch hitting. I thought he looked big on television, but it took seeing him in real life to prove he really has gained a ton of weight.

Austin K'd to kill the rally and end the game.

Thanks to Reds fan Pete Schrok, who generously donated a copy of Photoshop so that I may bring y'all Photoshop fun from my home computer!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Goodbye, Yankees?

Ooh, ooh, exciting news, well, maybe news. The Yankees might end their affiliation with the Columbus Clippers. Good! Get them out of Ohio! The Mets, Orioles, and Nationals are mentioned as not having AAA teams for next year; it'd be great if the Nats would take over the affiliation.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


That is all.

Linguistics 101

All right, class, let's get out your textbooks, turn to page 28, and get this name thing straight. I keep hearing people say Lohse pronounces his name strangely. He doesn't. The name Lohse is German - from Lower Saxony to be precise. The name can be traced back to the late thirteenth century when surnames became common in the Holy Roman Empire, not that that has anything to do with anything.

In German, the name is pronounced "Lohsha," as the "e" at the end of German words is pronounced as another short syllable (and is the reason for spelling mutations like Roma => Rome). As the "s" is a regular "s" and not "ß," the combination of the "s" and the "e" produces a "sh" sound. When you say Lohse that sounds like "loshe," you are not pronouncing the "hs" as the "sh" sound. Instead, the "h" sound is pronounced with the "o," as in "oh" with a little extra breath at the end of the vowel sound. It's L-oh-se, with the "se" pronounced as "sh" for reasons previously mentioned.

While we English speaking folk do cut the short syllable "e" even shorter, if you slowly say Lohse Lohse Lohse a few times, you'll notice that you do say the extra syllable. Try it.

Go Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse Lohse!!!!!11!1!

If you say it even slooower, you will hear that it really sounds like Loooohsepleasewin.

One of the very few, perhaps the only bright spot in yesterday's shelling is the fact that Lohse can pitch this weekend, so we don't need to go Sunny D and T.B.D. Suck back to back, assuming Kremchek got it wrong again and Milton's arm falls off in the first inning on Sunday. Marty says Lohse might go Saturday. No way he can have as bad an outing as yesterday, is there?

Hat tip to Jacci and Red Hot Mama for the inspiration.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Valley of the Dolls

Meet Voodoo Jerry

Sorry, Jerry, we have to resort to this, but we can't have Ryan Franklin come in any more close games. Nor can we have Hollandsworthless or McClayton pinch hitting in critical situations. Nor can we have McClayton batting second. So, Jerry, every time you even think about putting your team into one of these situations, you get a pin.

I don't care if says this in defense of your "Manager of the Year" credentials (puke):
Jerry Narron, Reds: Given an ownership change in January and a new general manager shortly thereafter, not much was expected of the Reds in the NL Central this season. Narron was given the job in 2005 after Dave Miley was fired and the term "interim" never had a chance. Under Narron, the previously 27-43 Reds finished the season on a 46-46 run. And with the return for most of this season of a healthy Ken Griffey Jr., they made a run at the Cardinals in their division and are still hot to trot in the Wild Card race. This despite a shaky bullpen and the usual rash of injuries.
That was some win last night, eh? (But it never should have come to that in the first place.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The guy has got to be the biggest moron in baseball. Ryan Frankin blows the lead EVERY TIME, yet Jerry keeps putting him out there in close games!!! And then, when he gives up the tying run, he puts freaking Cormier in to give up the lead. Fool me once...


FIRE NARRON. (Or at least take away his phone privileges.)


I love America.

As I was riding the dreadful bus home from work today, I passed by several polling stations, all of them surrounded by campaign workers with signs of all colors and sizes, a pure rainbow of democracy, of human rights.

There are many things that make me unhappy with the direction this country is going in right now, but seeing those people out there making democracy work is awesome. (And then I read the news about all of the problems at the polls today, and I encountered a man cursing Linda Crapp as he was leaving the polls because he was turned away, and sigh...)

Vote Zimmerman, Rookie of the Year! [throws mud at Ethier]

Paradise Regain'd

Who e're while the happy Ballpark sung,
By one mans pitching talent lost, now won
Recover'd Paradise to all Reds fans,
By one mans firm pitching fully tri'd
Through all the homers, and the winning foil'd
In all his walks, defeated and repuls't,
Hope is rais'd in this vast September.

Thy Baseball Gods, who ledst this glorious flyball pitcher
Into GA Ballpark, his Victorious Field
Against the Baseball Foe, and broughtst him thence
By proof th' undoubted Reds are real, inspire,
As thou art used to sucking so bad,
And bear through highth* or depth of the Fathers' lineup,
With prosperous arm ready to tell of deeds
Above Heroic, though in secret done,
And uncelebrated, well, cursed through 2005,
Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung.

John Milton is about the furthest from English an English writer can get and still be considered an English writer, at least it seems that way when you're trying to read him. Can you imagine saying "Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung" instead of "He sucked last year but now he's ok?" You think it's hard to understand reading it? Imagine what it sounds like spoken.

*Please note the word "highth," just like George Grande says!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Today is the 21st anniversary of 4,192

Marty's call, courtesy of ohiobobcat.

Interview with a Leprechaun

I was lucky enough to conduct a phone interview with Farney over the weekend. He generously provided me with information previously unavailable anywhere in the Reds blogosphere.

COB: So, Farney, what has been the best part of the season for you so far?

Farney: Well, I should say the playoff race, but it's been so frustrating at times that it kind of takes the fun out of it. So, I guess I'll say winning the beer mat contest last month at a pub in San Fran.

COB: Sounds like an accomplishment. How many beer mats did you flip?

Farney: 120.

COB: What?!?

Farney: 120.

COB: You're lying. No one can flip 120 beer mats, especially a little person like you.

Farney: What? Are you discriminating against me? Mocking my vertically challengedness? How dare you!

COB: No, no, I'm not mocking you. The Guinness record for beermat flipping is only 111. If you flipped 120, then you broke the record.

Farney: See why it's the best part of the season?

COB: No. What about Adam Dunn's 40 home runs?

Farney: That's not exciting. He does that every year.

COB: Well, what about his grand slam to win that game?

Farney: Fun, but it proved not to be the turning point in the season.

COB: Rich Aurilia's year?

Farney: Yeah, Richie's having a great year. I'm proud of him. But he doesn't hold the Guinness record for beer mat flipping.

COB: David Ross?

Farney: What about him?

COB: What do you think about his year?

Farney: Lucky him. He and Scott Hatteberg. I sprinkled a little leprechaun dust on them at the beginning of the year and it worked.

COB: Leprechaun dust?

Farney: If I tell you, I'll have to kill you.

COB: What do you think about Bronson's year?

Farney: More dust.

COB: Phillips?

Farney: Dust.

COB: Encarnacion?

Farney: Dust.

COB: So you're saying that the Reds who are having good years owe it to your magic dust?

Farney: Yep.

COB: Why don't you sprinkle some of that dust on Ryan Franklin and Royce Clayton to get them going? Why not the whole team?

Farney: I don't like Franklin or Clayton. Franklin called me a midget, and Clayton sat on me in the clubhouse and didn't even say sorry.

COB: But the others? Wouldn't your dust help the team to the playoffs?

Farney: Uh, that's all the time I have. Nice talking to you.

COB: Wait...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where's the Dramamine?

The Reds lose two of three to the Giants, I feel like Pandora's box was reopened. The Reds win Friday against the Pirates, I feel like the Wild Card is theirs. They lose Saturday, I feel the season is over. They win today, I feel like the Wild Card is within reach.

I'm already calculating the possibilities for tomorrow's off day. Only two games matter - NY at Florida and Asstros at Deadbirds. Rooting for the Mets is easy, but who do we root for in the battle between the two evils? Do we give up hope for the division title and focus our negative energy on the Asstros, or is that title still within grasp? The Asstros are currently a half game behind the Reds after the Sausages defeated them today.

If team X does this, then we can move Y games up in Z playoff race. But if team Q does that, then team W will move up and team V will do this. So:
∑ = √2 * 3!! + ¿©
Dimenhydrinate, please. There's too much drama here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Deja vu all over again

How can people continue to praise Jerry Narron when he keeps putting Ryan Franklin in close ballgames? What is wrong with you people? What is wrong with Narron? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me a thousand times, uh, uh, you can't get fooled again.

So now, not only did they lose again, to the Pirates, nonetheless, but they also are now in third place. Pathetic. Stick Clayton and LaRue in the same lineup, and what do you expect?

(It's the disappointment in me talking!)


Today I was driving down a regular old street in DC, a good part of town, not an urban warzone, when I saw a guy in a Florida Marlins cap punch a tree. Unphased by the blood dripping from his hand and what could very well have been broken bones, he proceeded to act like Rainman had Rainman taken up boxing. Swinging wildly at the air, he stumbled around the sidewalk boxing poor gas molecules and dark matter and whatever else the handicaps of human eyes fail to see. So, are the Marlins going to start swinging wildly, stumbling around bloodied and broken, hopes and dreams destroyed like the man's mind?

If it truly was a sign, maybe it was countered by the fact that I was stung by a bee earlier while reading at a cafe. I can hardly type, my finger is so swollen (and it happened at least three hours ago!) I guess I've not been stung since I was a child, because I certainly don't remember it hurting this much. I was just sitting there minding my own business when a bee decided to land on the ring finger of my right hand. I didn't notice, and I moved my fingers together, kind of squishing the evil beast a bit. (I'm lucky I believe that jewelry is unnecessary material excess, or I'd have to have a ring cut off.) Bees are yellow and black. Pirates are yellow and black. Coincidence?

As my finger swelled bigger and bigger, I thought I should go home and take an antihistamine. That's when I saw the Marlins man and a few other crazies, too. Of course, along the way I stopped to pick up some beer to drink during the game tonight, but when I got out of the car, I rammed my knee against the steering wheel, hard enough to swell it and draw blood. As I limped to the beer store, I discovered it was closed, which was just annoying.

I think all of this started because I made fun of a book of spells on Thursday. I was sitting after work at a different cafe reading the same book as today. Someone had left a book of spells on the table. (No, I am not making that up.) Thinking I could perhaps find a decent spell to cast on the Deadbirds, the Fathers, the AAA Fish, the Geezers, the Howards, and the Asstros, I picked up the book and started flipping through it. I discovered, to my dismay, that the spells were all "good spells." They helped people out of trouble, win lotteries, get well, you know, good stuff. In my disappointment, not once did I think to find a "good spell" to cast on the Reds, no, my evil mind was only thinking of bad spells for the opposition. I tossed the book aside and mocked it. The guy sitting at the table next to mine kind of laughed at my disappointment. (Then we randomly went to see the Avengers play at a venue across the street, like I had entered a time warp or something. Yes, that same punk band led by Penelope Houston who played the Old Waldorf in San Fran in 1979. I hope when I'm 50 that I have as much energy as she does.)

So, if the Reds lose tonight, I think it's my fault for making fun of the book of spells. Hey, if Jesus makes people hit home runs, then certainly a book of spells can curse me, right?

(All in good fun here, please don't be offended by the sign.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Piracy is illegal

Yo ho ho, the Pirates sailed into Great American Ball()Park convinced they could defeat the measly Reds in battle, as they had the best record in the National League Central since the All-Star break, and well, they were pirates, and surely pirates could beat some men in red socks. They sang their pirate songs, danced their pirate dances, and talked like pirates all the way down the Ohio River. When they arrived at the stadium, however, they were puzzled by the empty park. Where was the battle? Where were these measly Reds they were going to run over?

They looked high and low and long and hard to find their foes to no avail. Captain Tracy smiled for the first time in a long while, because he thought his boys would be declared winners through no-contest, and the booty, whatever the booty was, would be theirs for the taking. They set up camp in the park, singing, dancing, drinking, and living it up in the clubhouse.

"We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot
Drink up me hearties, yo ho

We're Xavier, Randa, Sanchez, and Bay
Drink up me hearties, yo ho
We're Wilson and Burnitz with really bad Ks
Drink up me hearties, yo ho"

Soon, though, they grew bored. They wanted to play baseball. Where were those darn Reds? Captain Tracy had an idea.

The captain and some of his men walked out to Pete Rose Way and carjacked a guy who was driving home from work. They sped away from the scene of yet another of their heinous crimes and drove to the nearest green. Sure enough, the Reds team was all there, decked out in their plaid duds instead of their baseball uniforms, playing golf. Who cared about the playoff race, right? They were all but out of it anyway.

Captain Tracy and his men kidnapped the Reds and brought them back to Great American Ball()Park to play a weekend's worth of contests to small crowds and smaller hopes. Adam "I've read two books in my life" Dunn pouted all the way to the park, and then he pouted some more. Ryan "Human Highlight" Freel thanked the Pirates in private for bringing him back to the park, where he really wanted to be. Jerry Morron busied himself in the dugout with his October vacation plans, while Ken Griffey Jr's hangnail kept him on the bench. Rolls Roycemack Hands of McClayton acted like Stillwell Angel as he watched Richie get the start at short, and then he and LaOut had a whining contest. And that's how the Pirates played baseball with the men in the red socks.

But! Hope still lives. Go Reds!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

And you thought the Reds collapse was depressing has two juxtaposed articles on the homepage this morning. The first is about 22 year old Anibal Sanchez's no-hitter. About the no-no, Sanchez says:
"This is the best moment of my life," an exuberant Sanchez said after turning in the 127th all-time National League no-hitter, and 233rd in Major League history. "I don't know what I think now, because you never think that is going to happen for you. But that happened, and I'm happy right now."
The two year Major League no-hitter drought has finally come to an end, though the Reds desperately tried to make it end sooner several times this year. (How often have we written in blog comments no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter no-hitter just to jinx an opposing team's pitcher?) The no-hitter is quite the accomplishment, right? Especially for a rook like Sanchez, who has just experienced the high of his brief life thus far.

Contrast that with the other article about 22 year old rookie pitcher Jon Lester, who won't be pitching any no-hitters for at least two years. Jon Lester has cancer.

He says:
"It's kind of one of those things you can't describe," Lester said. "You're 22 years old, you think you're just going in there for some back pain and then you find out you have cancer. I mean, that's pretty shocking, but we have a positive outlook in it, [it's] very curable and very fightable, and just go on from there. Taking one day at a time and fight it the best we can."
Some perspective on life, is it not? No-hitters don't mean a damn thing in the grand scheme of things. Baseball is meaningless, sports are meaningless, the whole material world means nothing.

But is baseball meaningless? Won't thinking about pitching in the Majors give Jon Lester the drive to get through his chemo? Don't we go to baseball games to spend precious time with family and friends? Doesn't baseball help us get away from the world for a few hours? It does. It is a great game, with healing powers and magic and spirituality abounding. But losing a game, losing a season, and collapsing in the playoff race have no signficance on the great game of Life.

Dear Reds fans, fret not. We're all depressed right now, I know, but we should get some perspective. There will be other seasons, maybe some winning ones. There is only one life, though, so don't let Ranklin or Morron or McClayton get you down for too long. Take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine, be grateful for life, for it can be taken in a heartbeat.

(And hope still lives...)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A View from the Evening

Taken from my prison cell. I am incarcerated by Disappointment. My crime? Believing the Reds would get to the playoffs this year.

Anticipation has a habit of setting you up for disappointment, doesn't it? I thought for sure I'd see the start of something beautiful - one of those mythical things called a winning streak - when I entered Great American Ball( )Park on Monday. It certainly seemed that way with a 4-2 lead going into the 8th, a red-capped crowd cheering for the Reds instead of against them like I am used to.

Things that happened at the game:

  • Met Ashlee, sukr, and JCH888 at the game - always disconcerting to meet folks you've known through internet chatter for awhile because they look like real people instead of just words on a screen. I half expected them to have lighted square heads with letters running across their faces! Ha, ha!
  • Didn't get Skyline because all but one of the stands were closed, and that one had a mile-long line. Some people several rows in front of us missed what seemed like half a game getting their three ways. I ended up buying five cans at a Kroger in St. Clairsville, the last city along I-70 before you hit West Virginia. Guess I'll have some of it for dinner this week.
  • Bonds got booed, but not as loudly as I expected. And I cheered when he came up to bat. Don't tell sukr, though, that I secretly cursed Bonds when he hit the game tying shot that hurt mini-Griffey.
  • Why is the Fowl Pole serving only beer instead of chicken? And why was half of the beer out when it was only the fourth inning? And why were half of the employees standing around chatting in the back while we were missing a whole inning waiting in line? And why were there jerks buying Miller Piss and Crud Light at the Fowl Pole when they can buy that crap anywhere, but those of us with taste buds who only have a few places to buy beer have to wait for them, too? I don't mind the few places, but the budless ones need to stay in their own lines!
  • Saw Moises sitting his lazy butt down in the bullpen during pitching changes. I know the guy's like 800, but come on. He's leaving the field of play during an inning - isn't that against the rules? Bonds didn't have to go sit in the bullpen with his legs up, and he's pretty much walking on slabs of pain.
  • What's with the pathetic crowd on a holiday, some 25K? Yeah, there was an apocalyptic road trip that just happened, but there is still hope. Or was before the Giants series opened that little box of Pandora's.
There are nine Appalachian hours between here and the ballpark, but I can feel the depressing wind blowing off the Ohio as I finish watching the Reds lose the second of three games to the Giants. I know the Reds are done. Reason and logic tell me so. But I'm one of those people who won't turn off a game even if they're down 9-0 in the ninth, unless it is after midnight on the West Coast and I can't keep my eyes open. These last two weeks, though, well, I wish my eyes would have been closed for them, because watching is painful, and I've since been imprisoned by my gloom.

(5 million bonus points if you get the reference in the title and in the post.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Try to beat, my despondent heart

That's it, none of you can drive anymore! The whole world between SW Ohio and Washington, DC needs their drivers' licences revoked. Except that one woman who let me over, of course. Ha!

I'm too old or something for driving nine hours in a row. I could barely stand the boredom of trees and idiots in metal speeding contraptions coexisting in my personal space. The drear and the gray didn't help either, me driving through the clouds over what they call the Appalachian Mountains and all, which are just a bunch of really tall hills except in wintertime and spring and fall and sometimes summer when the weather is treacherous. They seem more like mountains then, and in the white blindness of the Appalachian fog you can hear "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." At least on the trip back today I got 700 WLW right up to where I parked my car across the street from where I live, right when they were about ready to start the star of the game. Masterpiece, dear savior, masterpiece. Could you kick the other guys in the butts now so they can get it into gear, too? Especially this Sun Please Win character Trader Wayne dug out of the compost heap? Guess you can't say he's any worse than Chris MicSucklik (it's not pronounced how it sounds.)

Before the game started today, the trip was RED RUM boring, cabin fever in the cabin of a speeding silver car with two duct taped windows because we care more about giving speeding tickets than stopping thieves from breaking into cars. For the record, I'm against speed limits as much as I am against thieves breaking the windows of my car, but unfortunately, I don't have a choice in either, so my trip is louder and longer than what is comfortable.

I have never been so disappointed after a baseball game before, but Monday's game was downright depressing. Makes sense, I guess, since I haven't been that excited to see a game in quite awhile, it being two years at least since I've seen the Reds at home. (Don't get me wrong, though. It was my 7th Reds game this year. It was just the first at home.) Reds, I travelled all the way from our nation's capital to see you play. Why didn't you win for me?

I'll write more about it tomorrow. I thought perhaps I had enough energy to write it tonight, but no. I'm dead to the world for the evening, and besides, I need something to do at work tomorrow!

Devil take the Padres. And the Phillies. And the Marlins. And the Giants. And the Asstros. And the Deadbirds. And the Yankees. And the Dodgers. And the Braves.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Go Reds, Beat the Fathers!

It's time for some paternicide!

Shoot, things ain't over yet, folks! Maybe the Reds were just using up the rest of their losses for the season. Regardless, I hope someone has given them a kick in the pants. We've never needed a broom so badly.

I saw my first Reds game in San Diego. It was 1978; I was one year old. I do have a ticket stub from that game, just like I have every ticket stub from nearly every game I've ever attended. Can't say I remember anything about it, though. I did revisit Jack Murphy Stadium a few years ago, but it was called Qualcomm. Whatever. I liked the palm trees behind the outfield fence.

Now, the new stadium is named after dog food. More or less, anyway. Perhaps the offense will show up tonight, use some of that spacious green that Dog Food Stadium is known for.

Since Ernesto is pelting us with wind and rain, I'll be staying in to watch. (I probably would even if it weren't gross outside.)

That was a crazy game of baseball

It was one of the strangest baseball games I've ever attended, I think, and I've attended many over my barely-less-than-three decades of life. I'm still a little, well, confused? Stunned? Surprised? My jaw is still in the drop position.

Both Reds and Nats fans can appreciate this story on account of the Wild Card race and it being a Nats game and all. The sky was held together with Ernesto's clouds, but there was enough light to keep the rains away for a few hours. Hopping on the Metro, I stole a seat and avoided the crush of the standing mostly-Redskins crowd that would continue on two stops down the line. I was late - I'd rather blame it on the Redskins fans than anything I did - and my friend was not at our meeting point when I arrived. I bought two $3 tix, left one at will call, and entered the stadium just in time to see Soriano swing and miss the first pitch. I walked around the upper deck in a half inning, one that saw the Nats score 2 runs, and I found my friend because everyone in the stadium had a whole section to himself. Announced attendance was 22,221, but there weren't more than 12,221 there, honest to god. I have never been to a game with so few people - it was like Montreal all over again. So what if Washington is awaiting the vestiges of Tropical Storm Ernesto? It didn't rain the whole evening (but I'll be surprised if they get the game in against the D'Backs this evening.)

I felt like I was at the game to root against the Phillies more than to root for the Nats. Not that I didn't want the Nats to win, but I had the Reds in my heart at that game. I actually felt like I was at a Reds game, only it was like the Reds were on deck or something. There was definitely a playoff feeling floating through my mind, even as the Spirit of Losing tried to beat it down.

Ryan Howard hit the longest home run I have ever seen in my life, an upper deck shot to center field. At RFK. It sailed high above the home run graveyard, and I could do nothing but applaud. Now, before you criticize me for applauding, I have to say, YOU DIDN'T SEE THE BLAST. I'm still in awe. The thing was going to the moon, but the stadium got in the way of it. The homer broke the single season Phillies record of a certain Michael Jack Schmidt, too, so that was pretty cool to witness.

Fast forward to the ninth, a few hits, an intentional walk to Alf, and a Felipe Lopez hit that tied the game with two outs. Good, tie game, right? Well, in the tenth the Phillies got a run on a stupid "passed ball" thrown by none other than Ryan "Crazy" Wagner, who was pathetic in his outing, like he was trying to get back at the Reds for throwing him on the garbage heap or something. Disgusted, I sat thinking about dropping a half a game further behind the Phils. But no, the Nats came back in the tenth to tie on a Brian Schneider hit.

With runners at first and third with one out, Ryan Church strode to the plate to pinch hit. As he swung and missed, a bizarre thing happened. Marlon Anderson, who was traded to the Dodgers soon after, broke for home as the ball got past the catcher and scored the winning run. Nats win on a strike. Fireworks and all, Nats defeat the Phils, and I'm sitting up writing this because I am still trying to understand how it all happened. You'd think the Nats were in the playoffs with those two comebacks.

For the record, Aurilia haters, Felipe made his 24th error of the year.