Thursday, August 30, 2007

And Here Comes the Hatred.

Boy, I tried. I really did. I gave it the proper thought and exercised the caution of an optimistic fan. I expected mediocrity and I got nonchalance; ineffectiveness. I'm affected. I can't watch this team with the same love when J.D. "Nancy" Drew is on the field. I've given it all I have.

It really hit me when a friend of mine said, "I keep waiting to be surprised by this guy, but it never happens." For this season (and I suspect beyond that), I don't think we will be surprised. Not ever, not at any point. I've given up on the five/six hole in the lineup. That's an important slot with an automatic out affixed to it. And it's the reason the Red Sox won't get past the second round of the playoffs.

With Beckett and Dice followed by Schilling (a clutch performer when the time comes) Boston may be able to make the playoffs and may handle their first round opponent. But ALCS? With this lineup? Who is afraid of Kevin Youkilis? Who thinks, by a show of hands, that either Covelli Crisp or Julie Lugo is going to get on base enough? Papi and Manny have been slow to start, slow to improve and finally slow to help. Now, Manny is injured and Eric Hinske is helping to shoulder the load of losses to playoff ready teams. Mike Lowell, well, he should be given a statue for all he has done this year (same for Perdroia).

But in the middle of all the failings of this offense stands Nancy. An albatross of a contract, a pitiful sense of timing (get the bat off of your fucking SHOULDER) and an immense amount of pressure have formed a sagging underbelly ready to burst, leaving a mucus covered middle of the lineup to stare at the causing infection... J.D. Drew. It sounds melodramatic. I know. That's because it is melodramatic. I don't even have the heart to look up stats as I watch the second consecutive late-season sweep the Yankees have hoisted upon a lineup in dire need of change. I just know that every time any pressure begins to come about, Nancy is going to watch three perfectly hittable pitches drop into the zone. Maybe he'll foul one off, maybe he'll draw a walk to leave the bottom half of the lineup to do his work for him or maybe he'll ground into an inning-ending rally-killing double play.

No matter what happens, I'm through watching. I've created a plan to get more work done, be more efficient in my life and maximize the time I have off form working two jobs. I am going to use the five to ten minutes of Nancy's at bats to do one of the following things:
Clear off my coffee table
Take a load of laundry to the laundromat
Set up dates with women
kill myself ritualistically
Construct a worthwhile opening sentence to a short story
Read a poem (Li-Young Lee, preferably)
Shoot at my basketball hoops stationed on either side of the den
Sweep the hallway
die alone
Listen to one of my favorite Jawbreaker songs

Any one of these things is more productive than an at-bat by the man responsible for more dead rallies than he is meaningful moments this year. Nancy, you are my scapegoat. Good luck the rest of the season. I won't be watching. I just can't.

Friday, August 24, 2007

M.O.D. Are You Out There?

Hello friends,

My name is Stan. I'll be contributing here from time to time. That is, I'll be here until the kind proprietors of this site realize that they've made a huge mistake, which I'm guessing will be shortly after I start talking about tennis. A bit about me: I blog irregularly here and I'm the co-host of a fortnightly sports trivia night in New York. My rooting interests: Giants(SF), Niners, Warriors, Sharks, Reading F.C., the Dillon Panthers, Teen Wolf. I'll try to keep the blatant homerism to a minimum, though, as nobody really likes the Giants (I know) and cause everyone assumes that people from the Bay Area are all smug and superior (Well. Yeah.).

I mention my rooting interests for this reason--I'm now the only writer on this site whose baseball team is wildly out of playoff contention. And I mean... they recently finished a five game winning streak and found themselves 16.5 games back. Mediocrity, thy time has come. So what does a sports fan do in August when his/her baseball team is a sweaty pile of shit? It's a good question, I'm glad you asked.

1) Holy crap, it's kids with curveballs! (Image, right: Taipei Personality) I hope everyone caught Thursday's barnburner between Chinese Taipei and Japan. This was some seriously ballsy extra-inning baseball, including one Taiwanese kid (not the guy pictured at right, cause dude, they don't all look alike, okay?) ringing up two strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth, stranding the winning run at third. Of course, they'd end up losing the game, but it's hard to feel bad for Taipei. They're like the Yankees of this shit. Except that, in a more literal and accurate way, the Americans are the Yankees of this shit. But it's okay to feel bad for the Americans when they lose. Because they're white.

2) FOOTBALL. Were you aware! Football starts in two weeks! OMG FOOTBALL. Football football football football football.

3) The US Open begins on Monday. This is my favorite of all the tennis grand slams. For one thing, it gives Andy Roddick and James Blake home court advantage, so they can choke on their own terms. For another, it just feels so distinctly American. Wimbledon has tradition, we have cat calls. The French has clay, we have traditional American hardcourts. And the Australian... at least our toilet water flows clockwise, like God intended.

Of course, in the time it took me to introduce myself, the Giants won another two games. Maybe the season isn't lost after all!

I'll be crying in the shower if anyone needs me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Life is More than a Blitz Package

As everyone in the known world -- the media, the public, the NFL, the bloggers, the pundits, Larry your bartender, PETA, HSUS, the dog in "Underdog" -- buries Michael Vick under an avalanche of hate, it's easy to strap on the skis and glide on down.

He's a deplorable human being. He should never be allowed to play football again. We should take him to the dog park and tie some pork chops around his neck and throw a T-bone in his lap.

The entire free-thinking planet is ready to play judge, jury and executioner with Vick's career and, possibly, life.

But I have a question: aside from Texas, does anybody put the mentally challenged to death? In other words, should Vick be given some slack because he's obviously incredibly, tremendously, unbelievably stupid?

I have no reason to defend Vick, and I have (enough) faith that our legal system will do what's necessary to punish him mightily for his transgressions. But it's apparent that, since his transcendent athletic skills were discovered, Michael Vick has never had to do much of anything in his whole life. Wake up: think about playing football. Go to school: wait to play football. Leave school: play football. Party: talk about playing football.

What kind of adult in his mid-20s, that travels -- chartered flights or not -- as constantly as Vick does, try to take a water bottle with a secret compartment that may or may not have contained weed through airport security and onto a plane in 2007;? And what sort of person, upon signing a 10-year, $130 million contract, turns it over to his cousins and friends to fund a large criminal organization?

That's right: a pretty damn dumb one.

Bugs fly into zappers. Cows march hypnotically into slaughterhouses. Lemmings fall off cliffs and drown during migration. Humans do enough mindless things to fill up a shelf's worth of "Darwin Awards" books.

Unfortunately, Vick took some innocent animals down with him. But nobody should be surprised that he went down. He obviously never had the brains to look up.

Monday, August 20, 2007


That's right: there's some changes a-brewin' around these here parts.

After having finally moved and successfully navigated the laptop's seemingly endless array of dipshit-switches and buttons and whatchamahoobeys that made it unable to hook up to the new place's wireless, yours truly made some tweaks on this barren wasteland of a website.

Some may be purely cosmetic, but the important ones -- the ones that will rock your coccyx until it taints your taint -- are deftly hidden, like Michael Kay's sense of objectivity.

I feel renewed. Rejuvenated. Rekindled. Reborn. Really, really hungry.

All I've had today was a bagel and a banana in the morning. I was going to eat tonight, but I got so caught up in redesigning and whatnot that I didn't even bother to eat.

That's how it's going to be know. The appetite will suffer. The workload will pile up. The social scene will fade into oblivion. The sex life will assuredly take the inevitable tumble off whatever cliff it was straddling in the first place. All ties, all relationships, all links to the outside world will be severed.

More posts. More jokes. More absurd analogies. More terms like "banana-eating shitpuffs." More hackneyed, cockeyed opinions. MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE.

Because that's the way it should be.

And to help us on this endeavor will be a new member. They will be introduced shortly, and feted with a half-drank Steel Reserve and a ticker-tape parade of my old pay stubs and tax forms.

Fuck the past. Live the future. Get busy blogging, or get busy dying.

Or something like that.

Oh, and another thing we're doing is acting all accountable and shit. Above photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Escape Engine 6: Jason Lives

This may be one of the the only times you'll ever see this here, but:

Yep, it's time to examine the Yankees. First, the explanation:

The fast rise and fall of a bullpen is a tragic thing to watch. A month of fantastic pitching could just as easily crumble as continue, as anyone knows, but to predict such a fall is divine. Since sportswriters mention bullpens more than they actually talk about them, we've decided to devote a little time to some contenders' bullpens (with little focus on the closer, since they get enough airtime already). This week we've focused on the New York Yankees, currently 5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East at 62-47 and tied for the wildcard lead. We have them finishing second in the division (and out of the playoffs, we know... we know) if you must know.

Let's Get This Guy Out of the Way, Shall We?:
Old man in AL All-Star Hat: OYES, OYES! The Afraid of Joba Chamberlain Society will now hear from the floor! Mr. Leisure?
Business or Leisure: Holy shit, have you seen this guy? Dear LORD.
Members mumble, someone audibly says, "fuck."
Old man in AL All-Star Hat: This meeting is adjourned.
He bangs a gavel.

Late Innings: The aforementioned Chamberlain is joined by Luis Vizcaino and Kyle Farnsworth. I remember the day Farnsworth was signed as if it were my first whiskey and coke on my roof in college (boy was I smiling) and Vizcaino is less than reliable from night to night. It's a wash, except, well, see above commentary. Chamberlain is the future closer and the serious threat the Yanks needed all along. Say what you will about the boys making the decisions, but the shrewdness of the Proctor for Chamberlain (oh, you thought Wilson Betemit was the reason he left?) deal was the best one they've made since they signed Pettite. I know it was just last offseason, but this is a team built on moving and shaking. This was genius.

Middle Innings and Long Relief: Here's where it gets trickier. If Torre was smart (or even not asleep at the wheel), he would use the "best pitcher for the biggest outs" situation. If that means holding a lead when the facsimile of Clemens leaves after 4 1/3, do it. Fuck the later innings, just keep the lead. However, the team now relies on Sean Henn and Ron Villone. They are effective at times, but essentially a step away from disaster. There's a reason this team isn't losing: the lineup. Oh, and if you can name a game in which Edwar Ramirez made a difference, I'll mail you a picture of him.

Long-Term Eye: With Joba fresh armed and the lineup killing the damn ball right now, the Yanks are going to have to hope that the runs keep coming and the bullpen stays rested. Mariano isn't exactly blowing people away right now and the team's hope rests on a much harder schedule than they've faced in the last two weeks or so. If they expect to beat the Tigers, Red Sox, Angels and Mariners down the stretch, they better get production unseen in the Orioles series. They have a lot to do before the playoffs are handed to them (namely, find out if Kyle and Luis are even going to see the 8th inning anymore).

Fun Fact: Did you know that George Steinbrenner is made out of smoke? Entirely? Bet you didn't.

Prediction: I stand by my earlier assumption that this team doesn't make the playoffs. It will be close, as the Mariners and Angels both get head-to-head chances after beating up on the NL Central for a minute first. Plus, Cleveland gets Tampa Bay next. The Yanks have a tough road ahead of them and I don't know if I would trust 5 out of 7 of these guys without having a finger or two crossed that they don't have to face inherited runners. With a staff of old men, a closer alongside them and a crew of possibles, anything could go wrong. As of yet, it hasn't. I say it will, but I feel like I say that every year.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Escape Engine 5: Escapeder Harderer

(Editor's note: Escape Engine will be a series of baseball features on this site. The first month of the series will focus on bullpens.)

The fast rise and fall of a bullpen is a tragic thing to watch. A month of fantastic pitching could just as easily crumble as continue, as anyone knows, but to predict such a fall is divine. Since sportswriters mention bullpens more than they actually talk about them, we've decided to devote a little time to some contenders' bullpens (with little focus on the closer, since they get enough airtime already). This week we've focused on the New York Metropolitans, currently 3.5 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East at 60-47. We have them finishing third in the division if you must know.

Man, let's just get right to it:

Scott Schoeneweis is still pitching: How does this happen? Why does Willie Randolph put so much faith in this man when you can hear penises and vaginas clinch throughout Queens as soon as he starts warming up? He's the National League's Joe Borowski, only he blows earlier in the game. I don't know the Mets' farm system that well, but SOMEONE has to be laying around. I mean damn, a 5.59 ERA? In the National League? And you STILL get in in non-Aaron Sele time? Speaking of which...

Aaron Sele is still pitching: Really? His arm is hanging on with chewing gum and used chocolate. I swear to God I was clutching his rookie card in the womb. I am shocked this man's 'Nam tattoos aren't showing in the summer sleeves. His ERA of 4.30 is only shocking because it's not 60.45 in Tampa Bay. Man, it can't get any worse, right?

Late Innings: Uh, well, it's not worse at least. I like Pedro Feliciano. He has five holds and four earned runs in his last 10 appearances, though all four came in two games. Still, a decent K/BB ratio and a sub 3.00 ERA can't hurt in the 7th/8th getting to Wagner. Guillermo Mota's shtick still works in spots, including a nice little performance tonight against the Brewers for a pair of scoreless innings. Problem is, next time he pitches he'll give up 9 hits in two innings. His maddening inconsistency reminds me of Alejandro Pena or Mike Timlin just a couple of months ago (or in three weeks). Those aren't compliments, by the way.

Oh yeah, that Heilman kid/Long Term Eye: You gotta love him. Remember his temper-tantrums to be a starter when he was a fairly ineffective one or two-inning guy? Now, those days are long behind us. Now, he's a 3.50 ERA guy with a few strikeouts under his belt. If this consistency holds up, he and Feliciano can help the Mets retain the lead in the East.

If he fails, though, I can only imagine what could happen. Billy Wagner only has so many chances, so the Mets need to hope these guys can bridge them. If not, the Braves and Phillies are going to battle for first soon enough. I mean, how do Sele and Schoeneweis sound coming down the stretch? As good as a warm Bud Light with a cigarette butt floating around in it right now.

Fun Fact: This is the goofiest picture in the known universe. Christ, what a banana-eating shitpuff. Will somebody get this motherfucker high please? (I'm looking at you, Mota. Or is Jose holding?)

I can't believe this crew has lasted this long in first place, honestly, and I can't see them winning the NL East. Somewhere in the Mota-Schowie-Heily-Sele natural disaster in the making, someone will be the guy who wants to DJ but keeps playing that new Common record during the dance party (I mean, c'mon, everyone knows that Dirty South shit keeps the party going). When one falls, the added pressure may just take the rest out too. I'd bet money on it, if I had enough to get my phone turned back on. Le sigh. Maybe Schoeneweis will float me a loan, he certainly isn't helping anyone else.