Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Hardest Job
One has to pity Mike Brown.
Yes, a multi-million dollar deal to stand around and watch LeBron James may seem like a great deal. It is.
Until you see who the Cavaliers are bringing in as your boss.
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate: "It's not that Larry Brown is hard to like. He's impossible to like."
Which is not the primary problem with Larry Brown joining the Cavs.
To most fans, most media, and certainly to Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert -- Larry Brown is "the coach" in the NBA. He guided the Pistons to a five game win over Shaq and Kobe, when no one thought it possible. He helped make AI something more than artificial intelligence.
Now Gilbert brings the coach in. Only not to coach.
This may be a health decision. But what makes Brown think he can be a successful team president? And what happens when his health is restored?
For Mike Brown, he better hope he wins. Alot.
Because the second things go poorly, the phones will start ringing, the rumors will start flowing. Could Larry pull a Dallas Green?
Green was in the Philadelphia Phillies' front office until 1980, when he decided he could manage. He could. Philadelphia took home their first (and only) World Series title.
If Brown struggles as a coach, fans will think, the media will think, Dan Gibert will think, and maybe Larry Brown will think he could do better.
And if Larry walks into Dan Gilbert's office one day and says "I want to coach this team," is Gilbert going to say no?
Good luck Mike.

And I thought it was Ford
Now we know the truth.
Still, I'd rather know who Carly Simon was writing about. I bet you think this post is about you, Carly.

Phone rings. It's Vivek.
"The coward finally fessed up," he said.

Buddy Bell takes over Royals
What do he and John Kerry have in common? He has as much chance of being successful as Kerry does of being the Dem's nomination in 2008.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

For Wrestling Fans Only
WWE has the ability for one more great angle, and Mike Mooneyham shows them how to do it.

Favorite Indians by position
1B Pat Tabler
2B Tony Fernandez
SS Omar Vizquel
3B Brook Jacoby
LF Albert Belle
CF Brad Komminsk
RF Cory Snyder
C Sandy Alomar
DH Eddie Murray
P Bartolo Colon
P Doug Jones

Pre-Memorial Day Musings
The Cavs have a coach ... I think. It seems somewhat backwards to me to hire the coach, then the general manager. It only leads me to the conclusion that Dan Gilbert will be the definition of "activist owner."
That's not to say that Mike Brown is a bad choice. He's experienced and ready. But Gilbert had better know something we don't. Like, say, who the GM might be.
The Indians not playing on Memorial Day is like them not playing on July 4 last season. There is plenty of reason to believe that the monkees running professional baseball have no sense of history, no sense of perspective, and no long term thinking.
But Memorial Day is a day to honor the past, to honor those who sacrificed for our freedoms.
On the lighter side, it's a day for cookouts, friends, family and, oh yes ... BASEBALL.
Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. It's a day for baseball. And yet, my team is off, like the rest of the country. It seems wrong to me.
But baseball is clueless, as usual.

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Favorite Patriotic songs
1. God Bless America
2. Star Spangled Banner
3. Born in the USA
4. Philadelphia Freedom
5. The City of New Orleans
6. Pink Houses
7. God Bless the USA
* Yes, the meaning of some of the songs on this list are not lost on me. Still Bruce's song will always remind me of certain things, the same things that make me proud to be American. I have no idea if that would make him happy. But it's how I feel.

Sweep out the A's(hes)
The Indians swept the A's today with a 6-2 victory.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that the team is heading out on the road trip of all road trips. It starts in Minnesota Tuesday.
The good news is that Ronnie Belliard is on fire, Jody Gerut and Grady Sizemore are performing better than expected, and the starting pitching has been solid.
The bad news is that Aaron Boone is making Indians fans long for the days of Jeff Manto, Casey Blake is playing like Casey Blake played before 2003, and Bob Wickman is banged up.
The good news is that the Indians were 5-2 on the homestand.
The bad news is that all they did was beat Oakland, a team so bad its Elephant mascot is emberassed to be associated with them.
The good news is that the offense, as a hole, is responding.
The bad news is that Eric Wedge still looks like a porn star.

Conservative Rocker
It's not easy being a conservative and liking rock music. OK, it is, but here is my point.
I was trying to prove to a friend that their are conservative rock 'n' roll songs out there. I became determined to make a magnificent seven list.
Then I set about compiling it.
I got the Beatles "Tax Man," right off the bat, then followed with Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom."
Then my mind drew a blank.
I came up with a few borderline songs, "Turn Turn Turn!" and "Revolution" (check the last verse).
But then I had nothing.
So, I hope to open this to the readers. Maybe then I can complete my "Magnificent Seven" list.
If you have ideas, put them in the comment portion. Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Indians game
This was my first one of the year, and it was pretty great. Ben Broussard's homer off Joe Nathan in the ninth made me think that the deal to get him was one of Mark Shapiro's best. (Russell Branyan is with the Brewers, but does anyone in Cleveland miss him?)
It was a different atmosphere than I was used to. The bleachers section appeared populated with young adults, cashing in on the $6 tickets. The attendance overall (just over 15,000) wasn't terrific, but the whole night was reminicent of the old stadium (in a good way) with fans going because they wanted to see the game and not because it was the "place to be". Credit should go to the tribe for the $6 promotion, which is a great way for regular, non club seat fans to enjoy pro sports again. Going to see the Indians tonight was cheaper than a movie, with a much better conclusion.
For once, I was able to drop my snide, sportswriter exterior (for the most part) and enjoy the game like I was 15 again. Plus, they won.
It reminded me why I love baseball.

American Idol
Conversation at tonight's Indians game:
Nihar: I have some bad news. Bo Bice lost.
Zach: Who is Bo Bice?

I just don't care about that show.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shave Eric Wedge Part II
Huh. Apparently Mr. Wedge doesn't have a sense of humor:
We have learned via Bart Swain that you are "not amused" with our site, and our "distaste for your moustache." This is not meant to be an offensive site. We are your friends. We are on your side. If I have something in my teeth, I want my friend to tell me. If I have put 2 different socks on, I want a friend to tell me. I would expect nothing less from you. You have something on your face, that resembles facial hair, but can't be natural, and we all feel that it is time to go. The ironic part is that this site may be the only thing "offensive" in the city of Cleveland; for the nine men that daily make up your batting order certainly haven't done a thing that could be even loosely labeled "offensive." Please Eric, for your team's sake, for your city's sake, shave the thing. I'll even buy the razor.

And so would I Eric. So would I.

Song quote of the day
I tell my friends I'm happy
but they read me like a book
and when today I heard them say
your name that's all it took--Gram Parsons

Monday, May 23, 2005

The finale for 24 was the worst episode of the season, and perhaps, the worst of the series. So, to the world, Jack Bauer is dead. Except, I have a few questions ...
A)Is anyone going to tell Kim?
B) Is anyone going to check to see if Keeler will survive?
C)Was Tony able to kick his alcoholism is less than a day?
D)If you were going to drop Jack off, wouldn't you drive further than just a block and a half (about as far as they could drive in the allotted time)?
E)Does Michelle Dessler have ANY facial expressions?
F)How on earth is Audrey going to deal with all of this?
G) Will someone please knock the smirk off Logan's face?

Basically, the last 30 minutes seemed tacked on, in a rushed, ridiculous attempt to set up next season. It would have made a lot more sense to have Jack in prison, since that would set up an interesting opening next year.
This year was pretty good, but the last hour made the season only my second favorite, behind the incomparable first season.
I almost felt like the season wrapped up, only to see there were 30 minutes left.
Plus, the destruction of the missile was anti-climatic, Marwan's demise was, well, it wasn't exactly Dennis Hopper.
Basically, the episode just irritated me, more than anything else, and left a bad taste in my mouth after what had been an exciting season.

Song quote of the day
In the month of May
In the city of Paris --Van Morrison

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hitch, Part II
It would be an outright lie if I said I had a favorite writer,and then gave any other name than Christopher Hitchens to finish the thought. Yes, the man who, a week after the death of Ronald Reagan referred to him as a "lizard" is now my favorite writer.
I became interested in him, however, after he wrote the most complete rebuttal of "Farenheit 9-11".
It's not just his neo-conesque politics that interest me though. Lord knows I enjoy Gore Vidal's books, but couldn't disagree more with his politics.
Hitchens attacks an issue fearlessly, writing in an effortless style that is often controversial, but always interesting.
In his latest work (which can be accessed under the "columnists" section) Hitchens looks at George Galloway, the British MP who allegedly profited in the Oil-for-Food scandal. Hitchens writes about the man, destroys his arguments and looks at his rather frightening past. There are too many lines and striking paragraphs to quote here, so I'll just post the link.
Hitchens also has a book coming out about Thomas Jefferson, which I will order very soon. I will also be sure to send one to a former collegue, who knows who he is.

It's amazing
Yes, in America convicted rapists can marry their victims, but God forbid two people of the same sex who have lived together for years be granted those same rights.

Interleague Gray
Yeah, I hate it. Hate the idea that my two favorite teams play each other, hate the fact that we have matchups like San Diego and Texas, hate that it's gone on nine years, and its lost all its intrigue. Hate that it ruins the all-star game, hate how annoying that woman is on Fox. I hate how the World Series can be broken down by regular season matchups. I hate that the Indians only make, at most, two trips to Boston this season because the interleague games forced an unbalanced schedule.
The Reds-Indians game drew less than 30,000 last night. That was, even a few years ago, a top series.
Baseball had one thing no other sport had, and they ruined it for short term glory. Baseball doesn't have, and hasn't had, any long term vision. It explains the steroid scandal, the expansion, the fact that there are TWO teams in Florida.

Song quote of the day
I'm goin' up on cripple creek
she sends me
if I spring a leak
she mends me
I don't have to speak
she defends me
a drunkard's dream if I ever did see one--The Band

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Crisp possibly out 3 months
More good news. It's as if Gerut and Coco just switched places. One has to hope that Jody can regain his 2003 form. One also has to hope that somehow, Juan Gonzalez will return and play well.

WWE Smackdown! moves to Friday
Uh... Goodbye Smackdown!

Song quote of the day
The man in me will hide sometimes
to keep from being seen
but that's just because he doesn't want to turn into some machine
it takes a woman like your kind
to find the man in me--Bob Dylan

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

When you look back at it, when you break it down, Jake Westbrook did outpitch Bartolo Colon.--Indians "broadcaster" Matt Underwood after the Indians' 2-1 loss to the Angels.

This game sums up the Indians for me right now. Westbrook pitched the game of his life, setting down 21 in a row. But the Indians offense, which has had the competence of an East German Olympics drug test, couldn't score anymore than one run off Bartolo Colon. The run came from Jody Gerut, who was called up today from AAA to replace Coco Crisp.
I will not knock Jake, who struck out eight. But he was outpitched by Colon. You know how we know? Westbrook lost and Colon won. That's it.
The Indians are done. Finished. As bad as they played, they had a chance to win another series, but couldn't. Westbrook did everything he could, and they STILL couldn't score more than a run.
Three hitters in the Indians lineup (Blake, Boone and Martinez) are under .200. This is not an early season swoon. It is May 18. Martinez has less than 15 RBIs. Blake has 12, at least six from homers.
The Indians broadcasters praised Colon, a pitcher the Indians had on their roster.
"He's one of the best in the league," Mike Hegan said.
He is, and I will resist the temptation to go on about trading "one of the best in the league," because what's done is done.
But the Indians are a major league team (sort of) and they will have to face tough pitchers. The Indians will not have the luxury of facing a rookie making his first start every night.
It's becoming more and more apparent that Omar Vizquel and Matt Lawton had a lot to do with the Indians success last year. Now they are both gone because they were too expensive. I don't blame the Indians on Vizquel, but Lawton's departure is killing them. Couldn't they have traded someone else for Rhodes?
Blame hitting coach Eddie Murray, blame Shapiro, blame Wedge, blame that ridiculous thing under his nose.
Who cares?
The Indians have failed their fans. The season is now doomed.
Yes, this is an angry rant. But I am an angry fan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Journalism as it stands now
Here is what Rathergate and the Newsweek story have done.
Journalists and their credibility are now in question. Not just the journalists that wrote the story in Newsweek, not just the producers who sent the National Guard story to air, but all journalists.
As a writer, the worst thing that can happen to you is to get a story wrong. Yes, you may miss a name, you may miss something important. You may write a bad story.
But the worst thing is to send a story to print (or air) only to find out that the story was incorrect.
When a news story is written, that should be the final word. This is what happened. Period. There is no room for discussion, question, whatever. These are the facts.
What I think is happening now is that the people will look at a cover story, look at a news program, and ask themselves "Are they sure about this?"
This is a high horse I'm riding, given my line of work. I am already having visions about the sports story I wrote tonight coming back with holes in it.
If I sent a story to print and found out that I had miscounted how many hits or how many strikeouts a team had, I'd feel bad. But I got the important part, (who won, who lost, the gist of the game) right. I could go on writing, albeit with an understanding that I am already straining the reader's trust in me.
But, if say, I had a story that could potentially ruin someone's life, I'd make sure the story was accurate. I'd have it backed up 20 times to make sure I wasn't overstepping of falsifying. But the thing is, all these things are already known by the journalists in question.
So how is it that we are getting retractions on these stories?
I don't know, and I'm sure they don't either.
At least in hindsight.
This is not a condemnation or a show of support. This source is not in position to give either.
But there is a carryover effect. There is a "boy who cried wolf" effect. CBS realized many viewers could no longer trust Dan Rather, so he had to go. But it didn't exonerate or extinguish the story or the doubt that now exists.
My point is that when someone reads something in the newspaper or magazine, and it's "The story," there should be no room for question or doubt.
There's a difference between a fact and a story.
My observation is that the doubt that has been created will be with the industry for a long time, in every aspect.
If I stay in this business, it's likely that I will screw up. Lord knows I have a few times. But I'd hope that the readers have faith that what I'm writing is the truth. The truth is my responsibility. If I ever violate that responsibility, then I have let not only myself, but the whole industry down.
Not to mention the audience.
That's why, among other reasons, these stories are so concerning.
Now lets see how many mistakes are in this post.

Song quote of the day
I'm gonna love you
till the heavens stop the rain
I'm gonna love you
till the stars fall from the sky
for you and I--The Doors

Monday, May 16, 2005

Suss is back
The funniest writer during my tenure at the BG News has returned to the blogosphere. He's on a baseball kick at the moment, which I can certainly relate to. But really, where else will you hear this trivia:
Fun fact: the 1899 Senators had a player named Dick Padden.

Shave Eric Wedge
My friend Andrew sent me this. It's pretty much right along what I have been saying since Spring Training:
We at ShaveEricWedge.com are dedicated to getting Tribe skipper Eric Wedge to shave the moustache that is responsible for the Indians early season swoon in 2005. We believe that the moustache, which Wedge either grew or bought in the off season is the Achilles Heel of the Tribe's anemic offense. The moustache, which may have been an acquisition by General Manager, Marc Shapiro, joins US Cellular Field and Twins catcher, Matt LeCroy, as the ugliest things in the American League Central. Please help in any way you could, to aid in the removal and destruction of Eric Wedge's moustache. The Tribe, the city of Cleveland, and most importantly Eric Wedge need you.
Over 1,400 people have visited the site. But I suggest we visit as many times as possible to have an impact. It's time for the porn star manager to change the look.

Song quote of the day
Put me on a highway
show me a sign
take it to the limit
one more time--The Eagles

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Beyond the Glory
Fox's Beyond the Glory is to ESPN's SportsCentury what The Single Guy was to Friends: A cheap knockoff of the superior original.
That said, I did watch the BTG on Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run tonight. It wasn't bad, although all I could think was how much better ESPN would have done with it.
Joe Buck even narrated it, giving the special a bit more credibility.
But, after a piece summing up the A's after 1988, this line was uttered:
"The A's were swept in 1990 by an inferior Reds team."
OK, let's just say this didn't sit too well with me. On that World Series, there are two lines of thought.
One, uttered by Fox tonight, is that the Reds were lucky, that the A's were a better team.
The other, said by Peter Gammons the night of the Reds' final triumph, was that Cincinnati was superior, and while the A's posted big names and (at the time thought to be) future Hall of Famers, they also played in a league where the teams were, to quote Gammons, "pretty mediocre."
True, there was no dynasty for Cincinnati, and the only Hall of Famer on the team was Barry Larkin (yes, he will get in).
But they were good, with most of the players on the roster just entering the prime of their careers.
The lineup:
1B -- Hal Morris: He hit .340, but get enough at-bats for a batting title. Still, his play was solid. Todd Benzinger also played first (he caught the last out in the series), but was nearing the end of his usefullness. McGwire would have the edge in head to head though.

2B --Mariano Duncan: Duncan was one of my favorite players at the time, known for getting big hits. He was a solid hitter, though not too strong defensively. That's probably why the Reds kept around Ron Oester and traded (albeit needlessly) for Bill Doran in August. Doran missed the entire postseason due to injury, while Duncan would blast a three-run homer in game three of the NLCS vs. the Pirates that would signal a shift in that series. Willy Randolph was, if memory serves, nearing the end of his career, so Duncan would get the nod.

SS -- Barry Larkin: Walt Weiss ... Barry Larkin. Hmmmm. Larkin was the team's best player, and remained that way for nearly a decade.

3B -- Chris Sabo hit a team high 25 homers in 1990 (another mind-numbing stat in the wake of the steroid era) and was one of the best defesnsive third basemen in the NL. Carney Lansford may have been a tad better, but Sabo had the series of his life, clobbering two home runs in game three of the series and setting a fielding record for put outs.

Right Field -- Jose Canseco, much as I cringe, had a great 1990. We now know why. He was also hurt by the time October rolled around. Paul O'Neil was not the player in Cincinnati he became in New York, but he was very good. The Reds also had Glenn Braggs, who made a leaping catch in game six of the NLCS to protect a lead. He also, in game four of the World Series, swung and missed and broke his bat. This becomes more understandable when one realizes how cut Braggs was. Nowadays he would be signed by Johnny Ace and pushed as a piano player who stutters. But I digress.

Center Field-- You may not know the name Billy Hatcher. But he was the reason the Reds did so well in the 1990 postseason. Hatcher was an average player in the regular season who became a titan when the postseason began.
In 1986, when playing for the Houston Astros in the NLCS, he became a star. He saved Houston's postseason chances with a homer in the 13th innings off Jesse Orosco to tie the Mets at four. This was game six, and the Astros looked to be dead, but Hatcher's homer saved the season ... for two more innings.
And to think, if the Astros had just pushed accross one more run, the Mets would have lost the series, the ball doesn't go through Buckner's legs, and the plane they destroyed would still be flying today.
Hatcher was just as valuable in 1990, lacing eight straight hits against A's pitching. Willie McGee won a batting title for St. Louis that year, but was no match for Hatcher.

Left Field -- Eric Davis vs. Rickey Henderson. OK, Rickey was better. But Davis was the Reds most notable player at that time, and despite injuries, would hit the biggest homer of the series before being hurt again.

Catcher -- Joe Oliver vs. Terry Steinbach. Steinbach is the very definition of overrated. He was so ... ehhh that the A's actually started Jamie Quirk in game four. Yes, THAT Jamie Quirk. Oliver was as solid defensively as anyone. He got a huge game-winning hit in game two of the series. Going in though, you have to argue catcher as even.

Pitching staff:
Reds: Jose Rijo, Danny Jackson, Tom Browning
A's: Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, Mike Moore

I'm tempted to give the edge to the Reds simply because the A's have a pitcher named Michael Moore, but I'll hold off.
OK, this is why the experts picked the A's. Statistically, it's a hard case for Cincinnati to win. While the Reds had solid pitchers like Browning and Jackson and Rijo, Oakland had stars.
Bob Welch was 27 games in 1990. Stewart threw a no hitter and had already won 20 games in each of the last three seasons. Moore, well ... he did win two starts in the '89 series win over the Giants.
Of course, Jose Rijo, en route to World Series MVP, allowed one run in 16 1/3 innings. In game four, he pitched the best World Series game I have ever seen, setting down the final 20 hitters he faced. He was so good that when Lou Pinella (who had yet to earn his reputation as a brilliant manager) pulled him in the ninth with one out, A's fans gave him a standing ovation. I always think of that. It was far classier than I would ever be if I saw Tom Glavine ... oh wait I did.
That brings us to the bullpen:
I remember when the Plain Dealer was stacking up the series, the Reds had only one edge, at shortstop. I was flabbergasted because I couldn't believe the Nasty Boys were so disrespected.
Of course, I was 10 and looking back, the A's had Eckersley. He was awesome, unhittable since the Series two years earlier that inspired the show that inspired the line that inspired the rant.
Of course, the Reds had Myers, Dibble and Norm Charlton. They also had Jack Armstrong, who started the 1990 All-Star game before losing his mojo and never returning to form.
History shows the Reds were better there too. After Jackson was taken out early in game two, Armstrong, Dibble and a host of others shut the A's down.
The Reds dominated the series.
My brother and I used to argue about trivial things. Video games, arm-strength, pitching. Who was better?
We could go back and forth, but in the end, those two words would be uttered:
Prove it.
Same here. The Reds were the best in the NL. The A's were the best in the AL.
They had a series, and the Reds won every game, ouscoring them by 14 runs.
Lansford said afterwards, "They just outplayed us."
Yes, they did. The truth is that the only way to prove the better team is on the field. The Reds did it not once, but four times.
I think "inferior" somehow doesn't fit.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Three in a Row
The meaning of the header?
It's not how many days I have gone without shaving.
It's not how many consecutive obscenities I screamed at Bill Maher last night.
It's not the number of Gram Parsons related albums I have listened to.
No, the Indians have one three in a row for the first time this season. One cannot assume that all is well, but the Indians have received the right combination of pitching and offense to string together some wins.
Plus, the bullpen is the best the Indians have had since 1995. What's interesting is the Indians' bullpen in 1995 was one of the best in baseball history. But it came a year after the bullpen was the worst area of the team.
You don't remember those days?
OK, let's give this a shot.
Steve Farr, Jeff Russell, Eric Plunk, Derek Lilliquist, Jose Mesa (as an inconsistent setup man).
Funny thing was, all it took was Mesa as a closer to put the whole thing in order.
The Indians bullpen this season does not have a fireball finisher, but it does have a dependable, bend-but-don't-break one.
What's the difference this year?
Arthur Rhodes.

Song quote of the day
Wash my hands in the water
I got a date with the captain's daughter
you can go and tell your brother
we sure gonna love one another Oh--The Band

Friday, May 13, 2005

Bill Maher show
Gore Vidal is a great writer. He's also an elitist and an idiot.
"We were not meant to be an empire, we were meant to be a republic," he says to Bill Maher.
That sounds great, except it pretty much makes a mockery of the Marshall Plan. I would argue that worked. Gore's philosophy is to simplify and simplify. Keep saying it and people will believe it.
That's, of course, what he criticizes Bush for.
Vidal doesn't seem to say much, just one zinger after another, usually mocking the President and all the right.
I'm not crazy about the far right either. But fools like this make it hard for me not to defend them.
Republicans are the "party of masochism," Vidal stammers.
Why? Maher asks.
"You ask them, I don't know," Vidal said.
My grandmother and grandfather, my aunt and a lot of great people I know, were Republicans. I am a Republican. You may have problems with the government, Gore, but to bring every Republican into it shows the same ignorance that you campaign against.
Maher, of course, said nothing and laughed.
They say they want America back, but people like this never had it to begin with.
People wonder why the right has been winning in elections. It's because dillusional men like Vidal are treated like folk heroes and never have to back a statement like that up.
Can you imagine how Maher would jump on Bill O'Reilly (another man I can't stand) if he said that about Democrats?
Maher, Vidal and Al Franken made for a fun panel.
Maher claims to love America, but all he does is mock people who disagree with him. Want proof? How about the travel posters he brought out.
"Come to Alabama where everyone's a winner," he said with a snarl. "We can't break a $20 anyway."
Get it? People from the red states are STUPID! HAW HAW HAW.
Jeff Foxworthy can make those jokes, because he's from there.I wonder at times if Maher ever leaves LA.
Bill tops himself with a joke about Ronald Reagan being gay, which even shocked the far left crowd.
"Go F*** yourself,an obvious joke," Maher said.
I hope HBO leaves the show on, so people can see what certain people believe.
I know this doesn't represent the left or even much of it. But watching Maher tonight was an eye-opener.

I know I'm ranting. I know many of you will disagree. But at some point, I have to say something.

Blogging an Indians' ninth
Wickman is on. Somehow I doubt this will be 1-2-3. It never is.
First batter, Eric Hinske. Indians are ahead of the Blue Jays, 6-4.
Eric helps the cause by hacking at the first pitch and hitting a foul. The key to Wickman's success is his ability to get ahead.
Hinke then hacks at the second pitch and lines to right. Good start.
That brings up Vernon Wells, and Wickman destroys my goodwill by getting behind him 2-0. This is a good time to bring up how strange the Blue Jays uniforms are, with black as the dominant colors and gray numerals. Uhh, they're the BLUE Jays, arn't they?
Wells pops to left, and Coco Crisp takes it for the second out. Rick Manning hits on a great point -- Wickman was behind 2-0, and the Indians have a two run lead, yet Wells is swinging 2-0. That's the stuff Paul Sorrento and Jim Thome did that used to drive me nuts.
The last hope for Toronto is Alex Rios, who hit his first homer of the season earlier tonight against Jason Davis. First pitch inside.
Victor goes out to the mound, presumably to discuss post game dinner plans. Wickman's response is a predictable "I'll eat anything," and the conference is short.
And just as short is the ninth, as Rios grounds to Jose Hernandez. Wow, a 1-2-3 ninth and the Indians win.
Wow, I should do this more often.

Song quote of the day
My biggest mistake was loving you too much
and letting you know
now you got me where you want me
and you won't let me go--The Band

Thursday, May 12, 2005

SI lists top young hitters
Among those of interest:
2. Adam Dunn
7. Victor Martinez
18. Wily Mo Pena
20. Coco Crisp
More on this later.

Ike on social security
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54

I like Bush's plan, but this is interesting.

Song quote of the day
Big birds flying flying accross the sky
leaving shadows on our eyes
leaves us helpless helpless helpless
Babe can you hear me now-- Neil Young

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Nixon Now
Sitting at a different location then usual for blogging purposes tonight, I glanced to the left of the keyboard and saw Richard Nixon's smiling face.
It wasn't a vision or a dream, but rather a campaign pin from 1972. "Nixon Now" the button says in big capital letters.
I look at the button now, as I have several times before. I have no idea how it got where it is, and I have no idea how it keeps moving around. I assume it's my father's, but what's weird is that my dad, while Republican, was never a big Nixon guy.
I guess I am amused by its presence. The button sits there, as if it is unaware of the 33 years that followed its creation. Nixon getting in a lot of trouble, Nixon resigning, the Republican disarray that led to the Carter years, and the emergence of Ronald Reagan.
Then the ensuing 14 years, including Nixon's death.
The pin is unaware that Nixon is no longer with us.
"Nixon Now" it implores.
I think of one of my favorite professor's in college, in a Vietnam class I took. I remember what he said about the 37th President.
"Richard Nixon was a terrible father, a terrible husband, a terrible man, an anti-Semite, and a liar," he said. "But he was ... an effective president."
Republicans, and many others, it seems, are still trying to come to grips with his legacy. Of all the presidents, he is likely the most vilified. I still am not sure if he deserves to be the most hated. Certainly, there is some evidence that some corrupt men occupied that chair.
Still, the pin has no idea. It is looking for four more years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pena resigns
The Indians lost again tonight, but the news in baseball is that Tony Pena has resigned as manager of the Royals. Tony was AL Manager of the year just two seasons ago, but the Royals have have been dreadful the past two seasons, losing 104 games last year and winning only eight of their first 32 games (three of those wins have been against the Indians).
I have always had a good feeling for Pena, ever since 1994, when he became the backup catcher on some of the best teams in Indians history.
His homer off Zane Smith in game one in the 1995 ALDS was a moment to remember. I hope Tony gets a chance to manage again, because I can't imagine the Royals are his fault.

The Indians won last night with starting pitching. It's times like this that one begins to wonder what the Indians would be like with a competent offense.
With each passing day, week and month, it becomes apparent that Juan Gonzalez is never going to come back, and thus, never help the offense. Mark Shapiro has been upfront in saying that help is not coming. It's win or lose with the 11 guys he has had in the lineup so far.
You have to admire the Tribe GM's honesty and accountibility. But in the end, the Indians will need at least one more bat. Can they find Mark Whiten in Mexico, like they did seven years ago? Maybe trade for Julio Franco?
Anyway, game two against the Anaheim/Los Angeles/Market Capitalization Angels is tonight. A win tonight assures a winning road trip. Wild.

Song quote of the day
We can talk about it now
It's that same old riddle
gonna start from the middle
I'd fix it but I don't know how-- The Band

Sunday, May 08, 2005

You ain't goin nowhere
The Indians lost again today, held to one two runs. At one point in today's game, Aaron Boone was hitting .118, while Casey Blake was at .207.
Offense was not a problem for most of last season, while the bullpen was. That's why the Tribe dealt Matt Lawton to the Pirates for Arthur Rhodes.
Lawton is doing what he does: Hit for average, but get on base anyway he can. Yet Pittsburgh is where it has been since 1993 -- the middle of nowhere.
Arthur Rhodes has been outstanding, as has most of the bullpen.
But the Indians don't have a leadoff hitter, something that Lawton was. When we say "don't have a leadoff hitter," it doesn't mean mediocrity. It means the Indians would save everyone a lot of time and trouble if they just surrendered the outs -- it'd be as effective.
You have to assume that Boone and Blake will pick it up at some point. But who will set the table? At this point, they may as well try Travis Hafner in the leadoff spot --at least he gets on base.
Note: That was a joke.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Song quote of the day
You say that I'm an outlaw
you say that I'm a thief
well here's a Christmas dinner
for the families on relief-- The Byrds

Friday, May 06, 2005

Yankee Hating
The Yankees are not evil. They are just the closest thing baseball has to it.
They have won the American League East every year but two since the expanded playoffs began in 1994.
That would be reason enough, but then there's the economic end of it. The Yankees are the kid in high school who drives a hummer and has nice clothes and goes to all the cool concerts.
The Yankees payroll is nearly five times the size of the Indians this season, and greater, by far, than any other team in the game.
The Indians had super-high payrolls in the mid to late 90s as well, but the Yankees have outdone anyone who dares to challenge them.
I remember in Ken Burns' Baseball (all done prior to the Yankees dominance in the 1990s) Roger Angell said something about George Steinbrenner which is quite profound.
He essentially said that Steinbrenner is an impatient man. He doesn't really like baseball. He doesn't want to wait and let the games be played. He wants to make it so his team can't lose.
Fast forward to 2005.
The Yankees have had success by the standards of other clubs, but haven't won a World Series since 2000. Add to that, the Yankees became the first team to blow a 3-0 series advantage in the playoffs. Oh, and they accomplished this against the Red Sox.
Steinbrenner responded with another spending spree, bringing in Randy Johnson, Tino Martinez and Jaret Wright.
But George has a problem. His team is old. Randy Johnson is in his 40s, Tino Martinez--I honestly didn't know he was still in the league. And then there's Wright, who was salvaged from the junkyard by Leo Leo Mazzone and the Atlanta Braves, but is hardly a proven champion. And he's hurt.
The Yankees are playing as bad as they have in over a decade. They aren't pitching or hitting. Look for Steinbrenner to go after Ken Griffey next(Not that I want him to. I really want Griffey to do well in Cincinnati).
The Yankees are 11-19.
Am I counting them out? No. I am already readying for the "everyone counted them out," remarks. Look, for 200 million, the Yankees may the only team to spend themselves out of this mess.
But there is a chance that this is the beginning of a long season of chaos at the Bronx Zoo. Billy Martin is long gone, but I assume somewhere, he may be getting a chuckle out of this.
Lord knows the rest of us are.

Country Rock
I just got The Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo," and I really need to ask a question:
What's the difference between country music and country rock?
As far as I can tell, country rock is just country performed by rock musicians.
Great album, by the way.

Freddie's out
There goes one of the Eagles' loudmouth, annoying receivers. The question now becomes how much of Terrell Owens Andy Reid can take before he ditches him.
Owens is a wonderful athlete and a wonderful football player. But he has a habit of alienating his teammates with pointless remarks. You always have to wonder why.

-I'm listening to "Music From the Big Pink," and I would argue that it's one of the best rock albums of all time. The Band's next album, a self titled work, may be superior, but this one almost reaches it. What strikes me is how few guitar solos there are in the Band's songs, which must have been pretty refreshing in the late 1960s.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

With Blair
He retains.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Browns announcer speaks
Every sports fan should be signed up to read the Dayton Daily News, if for no other reason than to read Hal McCoy and Tom Archdeacon.
Now there's another reason, as there's a great interview with Browns play-by-play voice Jim Donovan.

Song quote of the day
No matter I will come to you
with another tale to tell
and you know that we will meet again
if your memory serves you well--The Band

Yes, I wanted to wait a little bit on the Kellen thing. There is a temptation not to blame anyone for the accident -- anyone who knows my recent history would understand why I feel that way -- but there are other reasons.
Kellen Winslow was not a selection by the current Browns management. It's hard to blame them.
It's hard to blame Butch Davis for Winslow. He's a top athlete, no question. Yes, he had some character ... no, call them attitude problems. But Davis had to think he was worth it.
Kellen Winslow has a pretty good pedigree. His father is a Hall of Famer, and one would think Kellen Sr. would ingrain, a sense of dedication and understanding about how fragile health is. I would have thought Junior would have been careful coming off an injury.
But he wasn't. He's young, rich and reckless, and a lot of kids would feel invincible.
I'm not ready to give up on Kellen yet though. Call it blind optimism. In Cleveland, what other choice is there?

So, Jack saves her, her father, stopped a nuclear disaster, prevented millions of deaths ... and Audrey's STILL mad at him because he happened to let her estranged husband die.
Something tells me that relationship can't be repaired.
Other 24 thoughts:
-Does David Palmer live down the street from the White House? How did he get there so fast?
- What party is Mike Novick associated with?
-Another strong episode, though I am not really sure why we need the Chinese angle with three episodes left. I mean, Jack already has to worry about terrorists, his girlfriend hating him for killing her husband, and an unquestioned level of incompetence above him. Leave the poor man alone.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The celebration continues: Magnificent 7: greatest Albums
1. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. Moondance --Van Morrison
3. Abbey Road --The Beatles
4. Blood on the Tracks-- Bob Dylan
5. The Band-- The Band
6. Hunky Dory -- David Bowie
7. Rocky Mountain High-- John Denver

Monday, May 02, 2005

Phil Mushnick has a few paragraphs on wrestling deaths and why no one seems to care. I, for the record, am not offended when Al Michaels says the word "bitch," as long as it's used in that context. Still, it's worth a read.

Song Quote of the day
The beauty of the days gone by
it brings a longing to my soul
to contemplate my own true self
and keep me young, as I grow old-- Van the Man

ESPN did a whose No.1 for their 25th birthday, so I give you:
25 favorite songs
1. Caravan- Van Morrison
2. The Night they drove Old Dixie Down --The Band
3. Full Forced Gail --Van Morrison
4. A Day in the Life--The Beatles
5. Wild Horses --The Rolling Stones
6. Hickory Wind -- Gram Parsons
7. Heart of Gold --Neil Young
8. Oh My Love --John Lennon
9. Tiny Dancer --Elton John
10. Lyndon Arden Stole the Highlights --Van Morrison
11. In Your Eyes --Peter Gabriel
12. Like a Rolling Stone-Bob Dylan
13. You're So Vein --Carly Simon
14. Dweller on the Threshold --Van Morrison
15. Rocky Mountain High -- John Denver
16. Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters
17. Up on the Roof -- The Spinners
18. Changes --David Bowie
19. Shower the People-- James Taylor
20. Why Can't this be love-- Van Halen
21. I fall to pieces --Patsy Cline
22. Don't think twice, it's all right-- Bob Dylan
23. If the phone doesn't ring, you know that it's me --Jimmy Buffett
24. Sunshine of your love --Cream
25. Never Die Young --James Taylor

Pete Rose vs. Mark McGwire
In the romantic and to some religious world of baseball, there is no sin like cheating.
Yet, cheaters are all over the map in the sport that used to be and is still called America's Pastime.
I am a sportswriter without the privledge of voting for the Hall of Fame. I hope this only to be a temporary restriction, but who knows? It's possible, some might argue probable, that I never cast a ballot for Cooperstown.
Long time readers know that being angry about steroid use in the game I love so much is not just a passing fancy, but rather a cause.
Like a spurned husband to be who was left at the alter, I want baseball to come clean about its past, and I want it to pay. I feel so strongly about this that I have abandoned my conservative "big government rarely solves anything" mantra, if only in this case.
About six weeks ago, Mark McGwire, baseball's tarnished homerun king, sounded like a Peter Cetera when he repeated the line "I'm not here to talk about the past."
Without the dramatics or directness, baseball said the same thing.
But here's what baseball doesn't understand. The toughest policy is not going to solve this issue for me.
Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame, and will likely never be. He's not in the Hall of Fame despite 4,256 hits, three World Series rings, and countless all-star appearances.
He is not in the Hall because of gambling.
Now, I will not argue that Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I will argue that as long as he is not, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others should not.
Never. Pete Rose shamed his city, his game and his records. But his problems are no different, and perhaps less troubling, than the sluggers of the 1990s.
Barry Bonds made himself a more feared slugger with a rapidly increasing body mass and head. He hit homeruns and was walked, based on his reputation, which was (alledgedly) enhanced by the juice.
If true, his cheating influenced the outcomes of games. McGwire and others face the same indictment. Their cheating illegally enhanced their teams' chances of winning.
Pete Rose bet on baseball games, as a manager. You could argue that every time Rose didn't bet on his team, he bet against them.
I will not make a case for his irresponsibility.
But I fail to see the distinction between a gambling manager and a player illigally enhancing his abilities.
You can fix the future, you can't the past.
But you can't erase it either.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Song quote of the day
And I will never grow so old again-- Van Morrison

Yeah, my 25th birthday has arrived. Some years ago, birthday's lost their luster for me. When I was four, I had this impression that when I turned five, I would grow up and be four feet taller.
Here we are, now 20 years later, and I'm still not an adult.

To anyone who has my IM address ... if you get an instant message from me, do not open the icon. It's a virus.

Note to users everywhere: Don't try to update unless you are sure what you are doing. Otherwise, you'll end up like me: deleting your entire song list, under the guise of an "update."

Vitamin Z's Magnificent 7: Best baseball teams 5-1
1. Chicago White Sox: They won't last, but as of now, they are the best.
2. Baltimore Orioles: Isn't it nice to not have to put the Yankees and Red Sox here?
3.St. Louis Cardinals: It's early, but it doesn't appear that any team in the Central will catch them.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers: Removing names from the uniforms=good karma.
5. Minnesota Twins: Their pitching will allow them to catch and pass Chicago ...probably. I mean, what do I know? I picked the Indians to win it all.
6. Florida Marlins: Just imagine what would happen if the people in south Florida cared. I think this is the organization the Indians are trying to be like ... and with very good reason.
7. Atlanta Braves: Never bet against them ... in the regular season.