Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A grain of salt needed

Rosenthal says Dusty Baker asked the Reds about a contract extension, but "evidently the team is not yet ready to decide upon his future."

(via MLB Trade Rumors)

Also a bit on Mike Leake vs. Steven Strasburg.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'll take the credit

I ate my last can of Skyline Chili last night in the hope that it would change the balance of the world and make the Reds win. It worked!

Nice to see Jay starting to hit some.

Pastaleaning Cabrera is just awful.

Remember that one game when Stubbs batted down in the order and actually got on base? Good thing we have Crusty Baker as manager so we can see what works and not do it that way.

Speaking of Crusty, when is Scott Rolen going to start batting cleanup? I remember when I used to hate that guy.

I really believe that Walt's put together a good team but this coaching staff is killing it.

I love Sundays when I can watch them live online for a mere $15 plus the cost of 1.5 liters of beer. It's a good way to fight the Sunday Dread that plagues each evening before the new work week starts, bringing the headaches and heartbreaks and general malaise of existence. It's tough working in the field of international development, because you never see the results of your work, as change is a long and painfully slow process, with periodic wars and conflicts setting you back or forcing you to restart from the beginning. Watching baseball helps like a crutch helps the walking wounded, but watching a loss feels like falling down and breaking all over again. A win is a painkiller, helping for a few hours but wearing off, leaving you wanting more.

Boy, wouldn't it be something to work for the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Club.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


If I save all the receipts for money I spend on Reds baseball, do you think I can send them to the Reds and get a refund?

Come on. I spent $10 for a decent enough internet connection to watch the game tonight (or today, in Cincinnati time.) I also drank a liter of beer during the game at a four star hotel price. The only reason I came to this bar was to watch the game in the only place in Hamra (the cool district in Beirut, the real cool one, not the faux cool one called Gemmeyzeh) that has a decent internet connection in the evening. I spent the same last week to watch that pathetic game against Pitifulsburgh where the Reds were swept. I'll probably do the same tomorrow because day games (which are night games for me) don't happen that often, and though I do watch many of the games the next day on archive, it isn't the same as being live.

And I can't help myself - it's like I HAVE to watch them when I can. I'm willing to bet that if I were to put myself through a series of medical tests, doctors would discover that my need to watch Reds baseball results from the same chemical imbalance that causes addictions. And though it is painful and seems to give me no pleasure, I still watch.

I mean, what even happened in this game? Nothing. There was nothing memorable. The offense stunk as usual. Cueto wasn't too bad but had a few lapses in concentration. But the game was just...BORING. At least Janish got to play, and man, can you tell a difference at shortstop. Too bad he didn't get like eight hits in four at bats to make Crusty Baker notice him.

I posted it the other day, but I did want to reemphasize that there IS something good coming out of Cincinnati these days - my favorite non-U2 band, The National, has their new album streaming on the New York Times website. They just keep getting better and better. This album is incredible. Buy it May 11.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Take that, Codgers

So Mike Leake gets his first Major League victory and it turns out to be the first victory for any Reds starting pitcher on the season. Some thoughts.

It was nice to beat up on the Codgers for two of three games. I think I've given up on Harang, though.

I think Scott Rolen should hit clean up.

Orlando Cabrera is dreadful at shortstop. Pastaleaning Cabrera should be his name - he doesn't even bother attempting to dive.

I love it in the ninth inning with two outs when everyone stands.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Off with his...oh, what's the point?

I no longer have the energy to call for the beheading of yet another incompetent Reds manager, so you won't be seeing any Fire Dusty campaign signs. It's only two weeks into the season but it already feels like any July in the last decade.

In a few weeks the Reds will turn it around and we'll forget all about how it feels like the season is over right now. But a decade is a long time for the same old mistakes and the same old losing and we've been told to be patient for too long now. There's just no patience left. The Reds have no offense partly due to piss poor lineup construction and partly due to piss poor coaching and partly due to piss poor personnel. Look, you don't have to be a stathead to appreciate that people with low on base percentages at the top of your order don't get on base for your strong hitters to hit them in. You don't have to be a genius to see Brandon Phillips does not belong in the clean up spot. He's a good hitter but better suited for the lower part of the order.

Same old, same old.

Well, here's something new and good coming out of Cincinnati.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why does Crusty Baker continue to use Mike Lincoln for more than one inning?

Time zones are funny things. You can be eating dinner somewhere and feel like it’s lunch time in real life. If I want to watch or listen to a Reds game in real time, it has to be a day game, which is usually 8pm my time. Otherwise, I have to wait until the next morning, and unless I tiptoe around the internet, the chances of finding out the outcome before I finish the game are pretty good. Now, if I could avoid Facebook, it’d be easier, but I have to use Facebook as part of my job.

But I CAN watch. If I put it on the lowest quality and watch in the morning before all the morons start playing their Farmville and using up all the bandwidth, the internet in my office is good enough to watch, which means that for a majority of games (i.e. night games), I can see them. This makes me very happy.

However, there’s always the recognition that this already happened, and it just isn’t the same as watching a live game. That’s why I was happy to find one café with good enough internet to watch. It was a joyous Sunday evening, sitting at the bar, drinking almaza, Mike Leake pitching well, the future looking bright, and the Reds rallying in the seventh inning. I was going to make this a Sunday evening ritual.

Then they turned off the internet.

See, in Lebanon, everything is about appearance. Everything is superficial. At 10pm, glowing computer screens are no longer considered ok for the ambiance. So I can either enjoy six innings and not see the end of the game, or I can go somewhere else and listen to the whole game.

So I was watching Monday’s game this morning, ending already blown thanks to Facebook, and see that Mike Lincoln blew Cueto’s W. Lincoln pitched well for one inning, but Baker never learns. At least they managed to win this one. Not a big fan of the ninth inning drama, either. On the flip side, if I were the Marlins fan, I’d be pretty upset.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Three more days...

The things I do for the Cincinnati Reds. Today I booked a reservation in a five star hotel in Nicosia, Cyprus so I could have a decent internet connection to watch Opening Day. I'm leaving tomorrow evening on a 20 minute flight for Larnaca, where I will spend the night before heading to Agia Napa on Saturday morning, a resort area with beautiful beaches and a few 16th century churches. The hotels for these three nights are so cheap that I decided to splurge a little to ensure a good internet connection for Our Holy Day. So Hilton it is.

I am drawn to wartorn countries, and one of the things I am most excited about seeing in Nicosia is the United Nations wall that divides Greek and Turkish Cyprus. Now, this is one country I have known very little about until recently. Basically this is what happened. The Greek and Turkish Cypriots used to live together across all parts of the island, though they hated each other since the Ottomans invaded in the 16th century. The British took over after the Russian-Ottoman War in the 1870s and there were various attempts by the Greeks to unite with Greece, which naturally pissed off the Turks, who began to advocate for partition of the island. Turkey invaded in 1974, the Greeks in the north were evicted from their homes and the Turks in the south moved to the North. The Turks declared independence but today only Turkey recognizes this so-called independence. Nicosia was divided, and it was just two years ago that part of the wall in Nicosia came down, allowing people to pass from north to south. I look forward to walking through this checkpoint.

At any rate, I look forward to finding products I can't get in Lebanon, as Cyprus is part of the EU and European goods pass freely into the country. I think I'll raid the duty free on the way back...

But back to baseball...Gonna be going back in time for the first two months of the season...back to listening to all the Reds games on the radio, but this time, it will be the day after they are played except day games. It shouldn't be too much of a problem to avoid knowing the outcome of the games before I hear them. Listened to yesterday's Spring Training game today - such joy! Baseball is here!