Wednesday, May 30, 2007
  Complicated complications and momentous moments
Well, it's been a while and I have been, admittedly, in a bit of a rut.

Blogger's block? Perhaps.

Abject laziness? To some extent.

Lack of material? Never.

So, I'll tread through the file of stuff I've kept for the past week or so, spin it together, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, bake for 30-45 minutes, and hopefully it will yield a tasty meal.

And I'll try to keep my comments regarding a certain team tied for last in the AL East to a minimum. Like our Captain once said, "we don't throw at .260 hitters." Well, we here at TLBR don't comment on 4th place teams that are 14.5 back of the race and 8.5 out of the Wild Card.
This is why I moved.
This is another one.
And yet another one.
Well, former Yankee (not current, so it's not piling on) Bernie Williams was the commencement speaker at the former employer/sort-of alma mater.

Great idea. Book a guy who went to a music high school in Puerto Rico and skipped college in order to sign a million dollar contract to play baseball.

What life lesson could he possibly share with the folks at the Theater at Madison Square Garden? Here are a few of the tidbits that Bern, Baby, Bern could have shared with the class of 2007.

"I'm worth a shampooload of money and never had to take a core class. You just spent a shampooload of money on your education and were stuck in 'intro to western civilization.' How you like them apples?"

"Want to hear me play soulful jazz guitar?"

"I bet I couldn't throw a wrinkled-up program from the dais and hit the girl in the front row."

"So, in summation, none of you will hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a World Series game, win a batting title, or be named the World Series MVP. But keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

"We're in the same boat - both actively looking for a job."

Connecticut is in New England. But they continue to support the 4th place team in the AL East ('s so hard...must...not...mock...).

Good, then maybe Connecticut can go to the Iona commencement (see above).

But, I believe that the official TLBR stance on Connecticut has been established in previous posts, but I'll be happy to recap it (with apologies to my Nutmeg State readers).

In a nutshell: Abolish Connecticut.

Everything North of New Haven, give to Rhode Island. We're the Ocean State, we know how to handle a shoreline. Granted, the bucolic shores of Branford can't hold a candle to, say, Oakland Beach in Warwick, but still. And R.I. can get the casinos they're so closely coveted.

Everything south of New Haven, give it to New York. That's what they want to be (or, wannabe for that matter), so screw it. Take it. Enjoy Bridgeport - it'll give NY yet another minor league baseball team (the urge to mock is so, so tough...)

And everything from Wallingford up, through Hartford, give it to Massachusetts. Because, whatever, Western Mass needs a capital. And that can be the "Rising Star of New England," Hartford.

Now, using my economics training as an undergrad, the next logical question is: well, that throws the whole flag business out of whack. The costs of modifying the Stars and Stripes, and then replacing the well over 15,000,000 U.S. flags in this country would be staggering. It might even cost more than filling up a fleet of SUV's!

Well, I have a solution there, too. Keep the flag at 50 stars. Keep the country at 50 states.

Invade Canada.

At least liquor stores don't close at 8 p.m. there.
I bet this boat trip would friggin' rock. Literally, figuratively, etc.
I recently saw the movie/documentary/ESPN informercial called "Once in a Lifetime" - about the NY Cosmos of the late, great NASL. It was a solid documentary - would have been better with Pele's involvement, but still.

It gets me thinking about David Beckham and the MLS. (Yes, I think about soccer.)

I'm not the biggest Becks guy - mostly for his off-the-pitch exploits - but at the MLS level, he should excel.
Good behavior. Good behavior?

To paraphrase Chris Rock - "that's what you're SUPPOSED TO DO!"

You're supposed to show up for court on time. You're not supposed to drive on a suspended license, or after two bottles of vodka.

Not that 23 days in prison isn't "hell" for this shampooing shampoo (for more on the true identity of the second "shampoo," click here ), but still. What a friggin' joke.
reason #432 to love Vermont:

They write good headlines.
Yeah, trade Rocco Baldelli. He's expendible. This guy is threatening to domestically violate his wife (thanks, Rick Dempsey) and you want to get rid of my boy Rocco.

Maybe that's why Tampa Bay is, in the words of one wiser than me, The Triple-A Devil Rays.
What's even better is that Gary Sheffield offered to "mentor" the troubled young man.

Damn Gary, you trying to get into heaven or something? What on Earth could you possibly help this P.O.S. with?

"Don't be like me. Or my Uncle. Any questions?"

That's like Chris Farley taking Lindsay Lohan under his wing.
Chivalry ain't dead. Even if it's fake chivalry.
I can understand buying a knock-off Prada purse, or maybe some fake Nikes, but this one takes the cake.

That's not even close to being funny.
To steal one of the greatest Mike Breen lines ever, Tampa Bay's Elijah Dukes hit for the natural cycle last night: he hit a single, a double, a triple, and his wife.
Ok, gotta get back to getting back.

We'll talk again real soon, I hope.

oh yeah, forgot to add this. classic stuff...
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
  This blog might need a re-name
Something like "Throws Left, Right Elbow Tendinitis."

I've got the "itis." It hurts.

Big Gibraltar-sized ice bag on my elbow. It hurts.

I can barely lift my right arm, I did so many of them.

But if pain is weakness leaving the body, there's an Acela Express pulling out of my hamstrings, quads and core region.

And if you see Saint Annie, tell her thanks a lot.
I cannot move, my fingers are all in a knot.
I don't have the strength to get up and take another shot,
And my best friend, my doctor, won't even say what it is I've got.

yh&os, I remain. (In traction. But getting fit.)

(p.s., Tuesday's are arms & back).
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  Yeah, It's Been A While
And not just for posting here. For that, I am truly sorry.

But it's been a while. (let you mind wander into the gutter, if you must, but I'm not going there)

And the journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step. And the first workout day.

And the first day becomes a second day; the second day becomes a third day...and that, my good, good people is a streak.

A streak becomes a week, which morphs into a string, and then a plan, and then dividends begin to get paid off.
For all the Sox fans (and Yankees fans) out there who think that 9.5 games is some monumental mountain to cross, think about 9.5 years.

9.5 years of eating rubbish, sitting around, staying relatively inactive, getting fat, and just generally being a sloth.

No more.
But it's been a while.

And the layoff still yields a universal: dry heaving sucks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007
  The Lusty Month of May
Here's my opinion/interest level with regard to Curtis Montague Schilling.

Every fifth game, when he walks to the pitcher's mound, I'm very interested in what he does. It's usually a pretty good display of pitching.

Immediately after said game, I'm also interested in what he says. It's usually a pretty interesting and honest assessment of his performance.

In between the first and fourth days, with the advent of his blog (, he's marginally interesting when he discusses pitching and baseball.

Otherwise, I have little to no interest in Schilling's doings and sayings. I don't care what he thinks of Barry Bonds, President Bush, or the world in general.

I care about his pitching. C'est ca. He does a lot of charity work, which is tremendous and admirable. But as for anything else, it's inconsequential to me.
Adam Jones.

You might know him better as "Pacman."

His legal troubles have been well-documented. And those legal travails have earned him a year-long suspension from the National Football League by commish Roger Goodell.

One of those off-the-field issues involved the shooting of a bouncer at a Las Vegas strip club.

Well, on the eve of an appeal hearing btw. Pacman and Goodell, the troubled DB headed to where? You guessed it...a strip club. Nothing like a little trip to Scores to take the edge off, you know?

And Goodell, like the all-knowing father or the Department of Homeland Security, found out about it. The strip club's security called the NFL to let them know. Stuart Scott might say "what's going on, Dog?" Might want to just order up some room service and a movie on the next trip to NYC...
Top Five Songs for When a Fight Breaks Out at a Ben Folds/Boston Pops Concert

5. Still Fighting It
4. Missing the War
3. Landed (punches, that is)
2. Boxing
1. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces
Teddy Ballgame. The best hitter who ever lived.

And into safety.

I'll admit, I'm a Brewers fan. They're my National League team. Which is akin to talking to someone in a bar, but not really paying attention because you're waiting for the blonde over by the jukebox to stop talking to the group of frat boy schnooks. You know those kind of schnooks - they're doing their best not to drool, head-butt each other, or light their farts while attempting to be charming. And she's either feigning interest or is truly interested, which kinda makes her Curt Schilling discussing the Magna Carta, and holy run-on sentence, Batman, am I making any sense here?

Basically, when you live(d) in the MKE, you either grew up there or moved there, but there's not many other options than the Crew. So you join the bandwagon and celebrate them having the best record in baseball.

And, like with many of the other related celebration options in Brew City, if the celebration lasts for quite a while, there's a real good chance of you pissing your pants. This website just kind puts it all together.

As a good friend - and Brewer enthusiast - pointed out today: "If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis."

Got a nice little Saturday planned. Heading to the Hub - to see the team with the second-best record in baseball.

No bed-wetting for the Sox. I see it as the "act like you've been there before" mentality.

But I'm really liking the way this team is playing.

While I'm not convinced they're going to stay at their current pace - which would be 111 wins - I'm not sure they're going to fall that far off. And it's not the top of the order that's winning every game. It's been a mix of everybody in the lineup. Bench contributions. Bullpen. Starters. Everyone.

And I read yesterday they signed two Japanese pitchers. Wow, I wish they'd cover that a little bit more. It's like, an international story almost.

So we'll see.

Worst Sportscast in Human History - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!
Everyone loves good TV bloopers.
Ok, that's it. TLBR is off tomorrow, for a little bit of the golfing thing.

Have a good weekend.

yh&os, I remain...
Monday, May 07, 2007
  Forget the Short-Term Rocket, the Sox have Long-Range Missiles
In a Boston Globe column this morning, one AL front office executive pondered about the next step.


What would the Red Sox do?

In Nick Cafardo's piece, the executive was quoted as saying: "One thing you learn pretty quickly is never rule out the Yankees. I'm guessing Boston is going to come up with something at a later date to trump this. Short of obtaining Rich Harden, not sure what that would be."

I'm sorry, but no. The days of the Red Sox making moves just to trump the Yankees are over.

It ended on October 20, 2004, with a ball that began in Alan Embree's hand, then bounced off Ruben Sierra's bat and the Yankee Stadium infield, into Pokey Reese's glove, and then went from his hand into the glove of Doug Mientkiewicz. (no word on the whereabouts of that ball, either).

That's when it ended. That's when it all changed.

Not to get all mystical, but things sort of had a cosmical shift at that point.

And in the moves made since - as the Red Sox took a youthful approach, lending toward player development rather than player purchase, the pattern has been established. And through 30 games this season, it's been a success.
Meanwhile, at stately Steinbrenner manor, the 21st Century Yankees resemble the Celtics of the late 1980's-early 1990's. The old guard, the ones that brought home title after title, are getting old. They're breaking down. A wise sage once spoke of the Celtics as Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Larry Bird not walking through a door. And if they did, the trio would be old.

He spoke of those three retired players as a point of reference for his young, inexperienced and - pardon the pun - green team.

The 2007 Yankees are a living, breathing, walking (and losing) museum of their winning ways from 1996-2000.

You get to watch Mariano Rivera break down in front of your eyes - yielding 13 hits, nine runs and three walks in 9.2 innings. Andy Pettitte gets to throws out of the bullpen out of sheer necessity, while sporting a close-to-six ERA over his six starts. He's also flirted with the DL with a bad back. Mike Mussina can't stay healthy, either.

And the other bags of shit - Kei Igawa, Darrell Rasner, Jeff Karstens and Chase "back-to-back-to-back-to-back-and-belly-to-belly-to-belly-to-belly" Wright - haven't exactly kept the ship afloat.

And now, the Yankees get Roger Clemens back on the hill in the month of June, picking up close to a million dollars per six-inning start.

The Yankee bullpen - once a feared entity, 1-5 - is fortified with the likes of Sean Henn, Colter Bean, Kyle Farnsworth and Brian Bruney. Mike Myers threw three innings the other night. Scott Proctor's arm might just fall off, like Frank Fitchard's in Anchorman.

Where have you gone, John Wetteland and Jeff Nelson?
The Roger Clemens sweepstakes was - and always has been - about one thing. Money.

It wasn't about the chance to be with his family (perhaps helping wife Debbie use the bedazzler on a few more articles of clothing), or to have a chance to throw to his boy - to have a Major League Baseball box score display a Clemens-Clemens battery. If it was, the Rocket would have stayed in Houston.

It was never about passing Cy Young as the all-time winningest pitcher in Boston baseball club history. If it was, Joe Cochran would have to issue the #21 jersey for the first time since the 1996 season.

It also wasn't about going to a team where he had the best chance to win a World Series title, because that would also be the Red Sox.

It was about the money.

It took a pro-rated $28 million dollar contract that will pay him close to a cool milly per six-inning stint (it's costing the Yankees $1.4 mil., more proof of their desperation) to "woo" Roger to the Bronx.

Because if he cared to do his homework, he'd see that in his final two seasons in the AL East, his ERA was 4.11. Not terrible, but not the mark of 2.40 he had in his last three seasons in Houston. And if you look at his innings pitched in Houston - a little more than 6.1 innings per outing - and factor in that the lineups he faced in the NL Central were not as daunting as the Blue Jays, Red Sox, or even Devil Rays (they'd be a GREAT NL team).

So, for the sake of the argument (and without some excel sheet to give me projections), say Rocket pitches six-solid every start for the Yanks. Say he gives up 3-4 runs per start. It opens up a second set of questions: who does Joe Torre hand the ball to?

The Yankees, at last check, were not a particularly good-hitting team after the 7th inning. I know during the recent Red Sox series, the Yanks were about at the Mendoza (not Ramiro, but the Yanks might want to see if he can join the bullpen, too) line, batting .204.

Now, take out Derek Jeter's numbers - who at that time was on an 18-game hit streak or so - and the Bombers dropped to .125. That was with Mr. April's 14 home run spree. A .125 BA? Damn, that's lower than Tony LaRussa's BAC in Spring Training. (wow, that was unnecessary)

No moves are necessary for the Red Sox. None. Not now.

Why? Because they're dedicated to their plan. And the plan is working. And like Hannibal, I love it when a plan comes together.
In full disclosure, I'd have liked to see Roger Clemens come to Boston and for the simple fact that I'd like to see his number retired in Fenway.

I don't think much of the man, or his money-grubbing ways, but he was a hell of a hurler for the hometown team, and it'd be pretty neat to have such a guy as the fifth starter.

There. That's the rub. Fifth starter. He'd be taking Julian Tavarez' spot in the rotation.

Tavarez, by the way, has done a solid job in the five-hole. He's faced five "aces" in each of his five starts for the Red Sox. Five aces isn't good to face in poker, or in baseball. But he's managed to pitch well enough to win two of those games (vs. Roy Halladay on 4/19 and against Chien Ming Wang on 4/29), while keep it respectable in two others (against Kevin Millwood on 4/7 and Johan Santana on 5/5). That's the two-time reigning Cy Young award winner, the runner up from '06, and the guy who won it before Santana's days. The Sox are 2-3 in those games. Respectible for the #5 starter. (quick, name the other #5 starters in the AL East).

Clemens coming to the Hub would help those numbers, but he'd be a fifth starter. He'd be holding the spot for Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, or whomever else is waiting in the wings for next season. He'd give Josh Beckett a chance to team up with his idol. It'd make for a cool picture with Curt Schilling. It'd give Tim Wakefield a chance to have someone who could actually answer the question: "remember what a douche Dan Duquette was?"

He'd be a stopgap and nothing more. Signing/renting Clemens would be an "old-time" move, certainly not along the same lines of the recent way of thinking on Yawkey Way.

The Red Sox made their new moves of spending money and thinking already. They made their investments with an eye on the long-term, not a three-month bandaid. They spent money on 26-year old Daisuke Matsuzaka with a six-year deal. They locked up Josh Beckett, another 26-year old, for three years. They opted not to re-up Curt Schilling, all 40 years of him, but would still have a chance in the offseason. Tim Wakefield and the Sox have a sweetheart of a deal - if both parties want to stay, they do. If not, they don't. And they have Jon Lester and others in the farm system.

Right now, the Yankees' rotation is old, older, and Clemens. Mussina, Pettitte, and Clemens are in the twilight of their careers - ok, maybe that's a bad reference, but still... Their best years are behind them. Chien Ming Wang is terrific and, by all accounts, so is Phillip Hughes. But what else. What next?

The Red Sox have their long-term plans set up. The Yankees don't. Which is why Cashman and crew will continue to try to win press conferences and headlines, stirring up Yankee lore while throwing money around in the same fashion that has yielded zero World Titles under the practice.

Let them do that. Because Theo and Terry will focus on putting together a roster and plan to pile up more important wins: the ones on the field.
A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 / 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 /

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