Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I oversleep and miss the Indians hammer New York 22-0. So weird.

I always kind of found Deion annoying before, but now that he plays for Baltimore, he has reached a new area of being annoying. It would not surprise me if Deion doesn't last the season. Not because he's annoying, but because he's 37.
"I'm thitty seven, I'm naught old."
Sorry Deion.
It's now official. Deion will be saying "Get out of my yard ya whippersnappers," to receivers any day now.
All kidding of course.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Best baseball cities
1. St. Louis
2. Chicago
3. Boston
4. New York
5. Cincinnati
6. Cleveland
7. Detroit

John McCain vs. Michael Moore
For those who felt a strange joy out of watching Fahrenheit 9-11, I imagine I now have a feeling to compare it to. Watching John McCain call Moore a "disingenuous filmmaker" gave me the type of buzz I haven't felt in a while. As mentioned many times, I just don't like that guy.
The same way many just don't like Bush.
Well, it was fun for me, and I'm sure for many others.
If it's McCain vs. Moore, I side with John McCain.
All that said, I probably would have rather seen the Senator just ignore Moore. This may not lead to much good.

Convention Update

Bush has 792 votes. Think he'll get the nomination?
Boy, the drama is missing here.

Song quote of the day
You've got to roll me--Rolling Stones

Jumpin Zach Flash
So this is the week of the Republican convention, and no, loyal readers, I am not one of Ohio's delegates. I will be watching a good deal of it though, and I am really looking forward to Arnold's speech.
But a year ago, I was optimistic about neither Arnold or the Republican party. So for perspective on my political views, I suggest you read this and this. My anti-recall column from a year ago drew a rather passionate response from a native Californian.
I still don't think the recall was necessary and I don't think political parties are really necessary, but it is pretty obvious the latter is not going away any time soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Vitamin Z's Magnificent Seven: Best Rolling Stones Songs
1. Brown Sugar
2. Satisfaction
3. Let's spend the night together
4. Tumbling Dice
5. Under My Thumb
6. Wild Horses
7. Jumpin Jack Flash

Song Quote of the day
Cause I've tried
and I've tried
and I've tried
and I've tried
and I've tried
I can't get no ..Satisfaction-Rolling Stones

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Favorite Living Actors
1. Gary Oldman
2. Willem Dafoe
3. Robert Duvall
4. Tom Hanks
5. Denzel Washington
6. Jim Broadbent
7. Daniel Day Lewis

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Angels are bowling
Big storm in Kenton right now. It's funny because I used to be horrified by thunderstorms. I remember my grandmother would comfort me, saying, "Don't worry Zach, it's just the angels bowling.
That has always stayed with me, even on the lonely, stormy nights.
From the sounds of the thunder, someone must be bowling a three hundred game up there.

A sign just outside my local bank said the following:
"Open up a checking account this week and get free passes to the Hardin County Coon Dog Race Trials."


Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Top Republican Celebrities
In honor of the republican convention, I'd like to note that the meeting in New York will likely not be attended by many celebrities. Let's face it, the party I am aligned with just doesn't usually have A-listers. It just doesn't work for Hollywood, which is fine.
Really, the Democrats have the star power, with my favorite musicians (James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen), my favorite actors (Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks) and my favorite comedians (Robin Williams and so on, and you really could go on forever.)
Still, there are some who are on the right. Will they attend the convention? Most probably won't. But I really haven't done a Magnificent seven in a while, so here you go.

1. Dennis Miller
2. Gary Oldman
3. Robert Duvall
4. Kelsey Grammer
5. Bo Derek
6. Dennis Hopper
7. Bruce Willis
*I exclude Arnold because he's a politician, and others who I am pretty sure about but haven't come out and said it. Stephen Baldwin will be at the convention however, and I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during that family Thanksgiving get together.

Song quote of the day
We're caught in a trap
I can't walk out
because I love you too much baby--Elvis

Friday, August 27, 2004

Song Quote of the Day
Are you ready for some football?
Friday night party?
All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight--Hank Williams Jr.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

If John McCain faces Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential election, who wins? My answer later.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

DMB not having a good day

Hmmmm. I thought Dave and his band were environmentalists. You know, this is why I'm weary of celebrities. I am not the most environmental person you'll ever find, but I don't use rivers that way.

Re-inventing a slob
My place is going to get clean tonight. That way I won't be so emberrassed about my dwelling.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Song quote of the day
What you wouldn't give right now
to be another face in the crowd--Roy Orbison

Last year, Schwarzenegger. This year, Joe Piscopo? Dear god. What, was Frank Stallone not available to take over in New Jersey?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Bob Dole
Bob Dole has been back in the news a bit more lately, and for me, that's always a good thing. Dole is, in my opinion, an honest man and a hero, and someone I greatly admire.
Dole has been saying a lot of what I believe lately -- that this election should be about the future and not the past, and that instead of focusing on what happened 30 years ago, the focus should be on recent events--Bush's performance in the last four years and Kerry's senate record. To me, this is what matters.
Dole criticized John Kerry and called for an apology last week on the part of Kerry. Dole's description of the conversation is exactly what I think. Is there a difference between MOVEON.org and the Swift Boat Veterans? What about Michael Moore? The fact is, it's the same, and Kerry didn't denounce Michael Moore's act at the Democratic convention.
Basically, both sides are doing so called election "dirty work," even though the candidates themselves are not (or may not) be directly involved.
Dole's interview can be read here.

Song quote of the day
It's time to move on
time to get goin'
what lies ahead I have no way of knowin'--Tom Petty

Professor passes away
One of my former history professors, Stuart Givens, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. A World War II veteran, I found him to be more interesting than the subjects he taught, and found it remarkable he had the passion to teach college courses when he could have been out on the golf course.
That's dedication.
I remember him telling us on the last day of class he wouldn't be handing out teacher evaluations because, "When you get this old, they just don't care."
He was a good man and a good professor.
May he rest in peace.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A story of love
This is a great story.

Song quote of the day
The only difference that I see
Is you are exactly the same
as you used to be--Wallflowers

Pennant Recall
The Indians have lost their seventh straight. The bandwagon is going to have to slow down because so many people have been jumping off of it lately.

Friday, August 20, 2004

On the voice
Because god knows that after spending nearly 20 hours today staring at a computer, the first thing I want to do when I get home is stare at a computer.
President Bush is stopping in Lima next week, and the running joke around my office is that I will drop everything to go to his speech. Such is life when you are the lone conservative in an working area.
I remember what Professor Gerald Earl said in a lecture in my first few weeks in college in a mass com class.
He told us that he was conservative when he got into journalism, and the liberal bias that he believed existed has made him more and more conservative.
Maybe something similar is happening to me, although I haven't sensed any such bias where I work. (HA! Mr. Robinson is smiling) Even my family has remarked that they have noticed a turn to the right since moving. (Of course, I was never what you would call a liberal, as I discussed last week.)
Will I drop everything to see the President? No. I would probably rather catch up on sleep.
But part of me was hoping I would be asked to make the trip. I have never seen a president before, after all. (Well, except for when I was president of Pine Elementary school in 1991-1992. I won the election by rapping about Dr. Suess. More on this later. Let's just say he died the day of the speech, but BEFORE it took place. So I am in no way responsible. Still, it was pretty weird, even by my standards.)
So no, I will not be in Lima next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

John Smoltz and best closers
Just caught John Smoltz on Best Damn Sports Show Period. While I have always considered the show to be a complete waste of even mandnatory wasted time, Smoltz's appearance made me want to watch.
We never know what athletes are like, but John comes accross as a normal, likable guy with good perspective on his job.
He's the best closer in baseball today. I know Eric Gagne is a beast, but if I have Smoltz appears to be a bit less erratic in his style. Bottom line: If I needed a closer to get the last three outs of a game where I had a one run lead, I'd take Smoltz.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Top closers of all time
1. Dennis Eckersley
2. John Smoltz
3. Rollie Fingers
4. Tug McGraw
5. John Franco
6. Randy Myers
7. Bobby Thigpen

Not putting Quisenberry on there is a failure on my part. But I can't include Gossage because of the fact that his most famous moment is giving up a series clinching homerun is the ugliest uniform ever devised. And I'm INCLUDING the Astros home uniforms from 1980-1986.
Thigpen I include simply because of his record in 1990, which may be one of the best seasons by a closer ever. Still, Quisenberry may cause him to get bumped.
Mariano Rivera is a Yankee, and I need players on that team to retire before I can stop hating them.

Story Time, Vol.1
When I was in my fourth year of college, I found myself in a typical conversation.
Throughout my life, there has been one thing that has been re-occurring: Lots of people know me, but I don't know lots of people. Rather, I know them, but not their names.
Or in some cases, I am completely clueless as to who they are. Today a woman greeted me and I just smiled and said hi, trying to escape before I was forced to engage is a serious, prolonged and potentially embarrassing conversation.
In this case, I was sitting with two guys in my hall. I knew one of the men's names,but not the other. Frantically, I started a conversation about the predicament I had been in many times:
"You know what always happens to me?" I asked, "People are always coming up to me and calling me by name like they know me, and I don't know their names.
We went back and fourth for a while, and the mystery man told me some stories about his past where that had happened.
"It's hard," I continued, "Because I'm so gratified that they know me, but I can't say their name because I don't know it."
Now, I have no idea if the man was onto me now, but he finally said, "Well, if this is some elaborate plan of yours, my name is Jared."
We both laughed. He laughed because it was a funny thought. I laughed because it was completely true.
The moral here is that creativity can get you out of some tough situations. It can also save you from being red-faced time and time again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Song quote of the day
What's my line
I'm happy cleaning windows
Take my time
I'll see you when my love grows
Don't let slide
I'm a workin' man in my prime
cleaning windows--Van Morrison

Down the road I go
-Maybe Deion Sanders needs to remember he didn't retire in his prime three years ago, but rather retired because he couldn't cut it anymore. In either sport. Hearing sportscasters gush over what he can do for the Ravens is funny, because if you look at it, they're talking about a player that no longer exists.

-I wouldn't trust the word of Muqtada al-Sadr, no matter what deal is struck.

-Nice to see Oprah involved in the process of law. Most people hate jury duty, but I enjoyed it, probably because it got me out of my frustrating summer job. I also got to vote against an obvious free-loader. Good times.

-Now THIS is the Indians team I remember.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The whole idea of the top 25 sports commercials is insulting.
Seeing people compare the Michael Jordan-Mia Hamm commercials to a major breakthrough in women's rights is so over-the-top ridiculous I don't have the words to describe it.
It was also silly for ESPN to have their OWN sportscenter commercials on their countdown.
ESPN used to be what I wanted to watch. Now I fear when they will next launch into another self-congratulatory rant, and then get more analytical and describe that:
I can see it now:
The top 25 ESPN self congratulatory moments
Mutt Lange: The production here pushed new boundries ...
and so on.

Zach's No. 1 actress marries ... someone else!
In all seriousness, best of luck. :)She doesn't read the blog anyway.

Monday, August 16, 2004

song quote of the day
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
and I will sing a lullaby--The Beatles

Olympics column
My latest 210 west column, on the olympics, can be found here.

My faith in Butch Davis and the Cleveland Browns may be at a more demoralized state than the US basketball team. But Peter King feels otherwise. I hope he's right.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Song Quote of the day
I'll be the weeping willow
drowning in my tears
and you can go swimming
when you are here--Otis Redding

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Best baseball teams
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. New York Yankees
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Oakland A's
5. Minnesota Twins
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
7. Cleveland Indians

Modern Politics
If you hear it once, you hear it forever.
The majority of the people in this country are moderates, centrist.
Ed Koch has said it, John McCain has said it, and my Aunt, perhaps the smartest person I have ever met, has said it.
But I don't believe it.
In my opinion, people view themselves as moderates--I know that I did. Voting for John McCain in 2000, my admiration for Joe Lieberman, Bob Dole, George Voinovich and others.
I saw myself as a moderate.
But I am not a moderate, and I am not a centrist.
While I saw my political beliefs as in the center, most people around me saw me as different. A hard line, Reagan-esque conservative. I saw them as liberals.
The truth is that in politics, we can't define ourselves. Other people have to do it for us. While I am liberal on certain issues--gun control, gay marriage to name a few, it didn't stop my friend and fellow BG News writer Joe Bugbee from referring to me as "my conservative counterpart" in his final column.
Was it because of my support for the president? My distrust of Howard Dean? My lack of faith in the effectiveness of Clinton politics? Did it even matter?
Well it doesn't matter, and I've made my peace with it.
George Bush is a uniter in his own mind--a right wing fanatic to others.
John Kerry is a moderate democrat in his own mind--a pinko commie to some.
But I know what I am now. If being a moderate is being Bill Maher, then count me out. If being a moderate is believing that a baby's life starts at birth, than count me out.
I love liberals and moderates and I think that we need them for balance. A completely conservative world wouldn't work, nor would a completely liberal one. We need all kinds, because beyond all of the bickering, it doesn't matter if you support John Kerry to me, or Ralph Nader. Political orientation doesn't and shouldn't define us. Some of my best friends have very little in common with me politically. That's the way it is.
That's my opinion, from one conservative's perspective.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Commercials that are like allergies
A medical radio commercial that airs during Indians games:
What's your favorite sport to play? Is it golf? Or maybe jogging?

OK, jogging is not a sport. People who jog are not athletes. In fact, they invented jogging for people who were too unathletic to run. Jogging is an activity, like chess is an activity. As a sportswriter, I cover running, and I cover golf. Jogging is not something I write about. It isn't in the olympics, and the mere insinuation that jogging is a sport umdermines the term "sport" in general.
The very idea that this commercial was ever made gives me pause about understanding human intelligence.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

10 years
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the baseball strike, which did its best to kill the greatest sport of them all. The sport survives because it's the best, no other reason.
As it turns out, Cleveland's fears about losing their first contender were unfounded, and the Indians played in the world series in 1995. So in that sense, it worked out ok.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Off the field
I hope to one day to make 40 million dollars without doing anything professionally. Kellen Winslow had better be a hall of famer, because that's how Cleveland is paying him. It's not that I blame the guy--If I could hold out 11 days and get that type of money, I would too.
But the pressure will be immense.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

My Fair someday
It's August 10. The elections are less than three months away, and I find myself exhausted. The debates will decide it. I've made up my mind, but so many people I know said that they haven't, which leads me to the previously stated conclusion. But as for now I will try to forget the frustrations that come with these races.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Song Quote of the Day
You and your sweet desire
you took me
higher and higher baby--ELO

Cleaning the closet
Random thoughts for a Monday
-I don't give political endorsements, because, let's face it I'm a nobody, but lets just say I strongly encourage voters in Northeast Ohio to consider Ed Herman for congress. It's time to take the Hollywood dreamer out of Ohio politics. People have told me they're "yellow dog" democrats, and while I am and always will be a Yellow dog-anti-Kucinich voter, I really do think Herman would be a good change for the district. He will look out for Ohioans I think, instead of parading across the country in some Hollywood-inspired Magical Mystery Tour of a Campaign.

-CBS Sportsline has a good story up on the Browns' battle at running back between William Green and Lee Suggs.

-Brock Lesner got into a fight at an NFL scrimmage. I am pulling for Brock, just because I think it's a good story, but he isn't helping himself there.

-Indians have a big game tonight against the White Sox, and all of my friends who are fans have been telling me that they are getting excited. As someone who has bashed the Indians on a constant basis since March, it may be a little hypocritical of me to jump on the bandwagon with loud overtones. However, I have still followed the team and can admit I may, just may have been wrong about them.
But why the heck did they release Baez then?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Hall of Fame Thoughts
- If you were born in Cleveland, the name of John Elway is enough to send chills up your spine, much like the names of Michael Jordan, Willie Mays and Edgar Renteria. It's been 17 years since the drive, but the highlights air so often on ESPN Classic, it's enough to feel the frustration again, just like it was 1987.
I was six when the drive took place, consoled by my father as I cried and cried. He comforted me perfectly, as he often did, reminding me that there was always next year. Looking back, I imagine he felt the same way that I did. He just didn't show it.
Of course,"next year" brought on another heartbreaker. It's pretty amazing that I could live in Cleveland, have all these bad things happen to my teams,and still become a sportswriter.
Which brings me to another story.
The year was 1999, and the Browns were in their first year back in the NFL. Akili Smith, who had been shunned by the Browns in the previous draft, led the Bengals on a game-winning drive, what turned out to be the highlite of his career.
After the drive, he hopped around like a jackass, pumping his chest and taunting the Browns fans.
It was a long drive back to Bowling Green, just my dad and me. We were just getting off the highway and had been quiet for about a half hour, both frustrated about the loss.
Finally, my Dad broke the silence.
"Zach," he said, "Do you remember Elway, all the times he beat us, ever acting like that?"
"No," I said.
"Marino, Esiason, Moon, anyone?"
All were quarterbacks who had at one time or another frustrated us, and none had ever rubbed it in our face like that.
The point is, Elway had every right to be an arrogant jerk, and never really was. I hated to see him break our hearts, but I couldn't say anything bad about the way he handled himself on the field.
Enjoy the day John, you deserve it.
-Barry Sanders was the best running back in my lifetime. I used to be the Lions in Tecmo Super Bowl, just to run the unbeatable side sweep. He retired at 31, and I can't blame him. I just miss watching him run. He was the best.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Most frustrating sports moments
In honor of John Elway's Hall of Fame induction:
1. 1997 World Series Game 7
2. The Drive
3. The Fumble
4. The Shot
5. Baltimore Ravens: 2000 super bowl champions
6. Browns-Steelers 2002 playoff game
7. Gary Carter's induction into the Hall of fame

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Playoff Bound baseball teams in 2004
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. New York Yankees
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Oakland A's
6. Atlanta Braves
7. Chicago Cubs
(8. Boston Red Sox)

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Top NFL teams in 2004
1. New England Patriots
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Carolina Panthers
6. St. Louis Rams
7. Atlanta Falcons

Friday, August 06, 2004

Forgetting the Sugar
- Who ever invented golf must have been into self-mutilation,self loathing, or both. I never intend to be Bobby Jones, but I hope to one day play like my dad--well. Right now I need to shave about 20 strokes off my game to get to that point.
-I don't like the criticism of the way Bush sat in the classroom after hearing about 9-11. While I try to see two sides of an argument, I just can't see the other side of this one. First off, the criticism is entirely pointless, considering that it has been over two years. Yet we are still playing the blame game on one of the worst tragedies in American history. Is there a template on human emotion for tragedy? It's very easy to attack someone for an impulsive response three years after the fact. It is much harder to be in the position Bush was in. I realize a lot of you will probably disagree, and that's fine, but I just had to say something.
-Frank Thomas is out for the season, making Chicago's acquisition of Carl Everett and Roberto Alomar even more pointless.

Rick James RIP
Rick James, of "Super-Freak" fame, has died. I always liked Super freak, and it seemed like he had finally overcome his demons, according to recent profiles. Too bad.
Rest in peace, Mr. James

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Meeting of the minds:
White Sox GM: Wow, aquiring Robbie Alomar and Carl Everett helped us so much last season in getting to the playoffs, lets do it again!

Various White Sox Underlings: BRILLIANT!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Man, Pardon the Interruption really loses something without Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. It's being hosted this week by Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayliss, and I can say, without any inkling of reservation, that if blowing hot air was an olympic sport, these two idiots would have a number of gold medals.
Memo to Bayliss and Smith: Take a breath, or shut up already.

Song quote of the day
It's got what it takes
So tell me why can't this be love
Straight from the heart
why can't this be love--Van Halen

Monday, August 02, 2004

Ben Affleck and grammer
What was the bad actor's advice for John Kerry at the Democratic Convention?
In Mark Steyn's latest column, he has an interesting quote from the Reindeer Games star:
"You have to enervate the base," the Hollywood heartthrob advised solemnly.
Hmmmm. Good one Matt. Now, Bush is known for this kind of stuff (the term 'misunderestimating' comes to mind) but for many in Hollywood who believe the president is too stupid to be president ... well, you know.

No such thing
Some MLB trade talk:
-As hard as I tried, I couldn't come up with a reason why Paul Loduca was traded. Paul was, by most accounts, the inspirational leader for the Dodgers. I understand that LA felt that they needed pitching help, but I wouldn't have made this deal unless the acquisition of Randy Johnson was a certainty.
The Marlins made out big time in this deal, in my opinion. They rid themselves of a decent pitcher and some bench players while picking up a "Pudge-like" leader and helping their outfield. The thing is, they still may not be able to catch Atlanta, who is currently sailing to another title.
-Nomar goes to the Cubs, Doug Mientkiewicz goes to the Red Sox, Justin Jones goes to the Twins ... and a bunch of other transactions I haven't calculated yet. The big winner here is my friend Nick Weber, who, a loyal cubs fan, is probably screaming "NOMAHHHH!" to unsuspecting Japanese citizens.
Nomar not playing for the Red Sox is kind of like Carlos Bearga playing with the Mets at first: It doesn't seem right, but it had to be done.
Nomar was really messed with by Boston, and I am pretty certain the Cubs fans will give him a much needed self-esteem revival.
Mientkiewicz's leaving the Twins surprised me. The Twins are still in a pennant race with the down-trodden White Sox, and I thought that Minnesota would have learned its lesson about subtraction after trading Matt Lawton to the Mets for Rick Reed in 2001. Still, the White Sox and Indians are not good enough to beat the Twins, so maybe the deal makes sense.
-Estabon Loaiza for Jose Contreres is just one overrated starter for another, in my opinion.