Friday, May 27, 2005

People who write in blogs are losers

Summer still sucks. So does work. At least I still have my finely tuned body.

I'm heading to Charleston this weekend to see Lauren in the big city. She seems to be adapting well and has hit the ground running at the Daily Mail. Since I always miss the eatery options in Chucktown - we are planning a food extravaganza as we be lazy throughout the weekend. Hussons and IHOP top the list, but Steak Escape, Donut Connection, Tudors, Sonic, Olive Garden and Chilis are also under consideration. We are going to be fat people - but happy.

I work with Greg. I hope he reads this. On that note, Greg is ugly, and lies about kissing beauty pageant winners.

My list of greatest sports moments/achievements is still in the works, but you can bet a recent golfing achievements will crack the top 10. It doesn't seem like much - but anyone who has attempted to hit a golf ball would share in the greatness of the moment.

Scrubs still rules. I finished the entire first season, which contained 24 episodes. The cast is so amazing. Each role is perfectly developed, from sometimes 2-second contributions from Nurse Roberts, to "the Janitor," to central characters like Dr. Cox and J.D. I can't get over how perfect this show is - and its just the first season on DVD. Season 2 should be out soon, and I'm sure the episodes will be gone in a matter of days. Fantastic. GO BUY IT!

All right, I'm out like Ken Rider in the WVUBL.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Being poor sucks

I wish I was poor. That's how poor I am right now. It's not like I'm poor and have the world handed to me on a silver platter - like many of my fellow students. It's not like I'm poor and don't work my ass off to support myself. I'm just poor and May is the toughest month of the year, where I make the transition from the school year into summer and the funds just dry up. Then I spend the rest of the summer trying to dig myself out of the financial hole that I find myself neck deep in. Yea, it's depressing, and it sucks. Bring on the summer!

I'm finally moved into the new crib. It's off the hizzle. Come by 514 Cobun Avenue anytime and we can play scrabble or talk about politics or some fly shit like that.

Working midnights has come around again. It's currently 6 a.m. and I have two more hours before I leave this god forsaken place and plunge myself into a web of cold blankets and drift into a peaceful slumber for the duration of the day. It's wonderful.

But the do-nothing shifts that consume my summer workload gives me the chance to catch up on some must-see TV, and not that Reba McIntyre or American Idol crap. I just watched the first eight episodes of Scrubs, Season I, and I must say I'm completely blown away.

The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Family Guy, Friends, Cheers, etc., - some of my personal favorites - none of their first seasons compare to Scrubs. John McGinley is awesome, and the rest of the writing and acting is superb. I can't wait to own all the seasons on DVD. To anyone that knows me, putting this ahead of the debuts of the Simpsons and Family Guy is a real tribute, so take the recommendation and plog the $30 on the DVD.

On that note, remember that Tuesday is the release of Season 2 of the Chappelle's Show. He may be off in S. Africa tending to his mental and spiritual crisis, but that doesn't mean that Wayne Brady and Co. can't take over in 48 hours.

Hopefully Chappelle can come back and complete season 3 before its too late. Comedy Central is already saying that its too late to ever have season 3, but I think that was just a scare tactic on Chappelle. He shot 5 episodes without the in-studio footage - so its not unthinkable that he can come back and complete the rest. Chappelle says Comedy Central had a problem with how far he was pushing the show's content - which to me - is the most unbelievable thing I've ever heard. 1 - how can Chappelle go any further than a blind white supremist and profiling a white mid 50s family named the Niggers, and 2 - why is Comedy Central even considering Dave's content? The man is a genius - let him do his thing.

Peace out, homies.

Monday, May 16, 2005

They're back...

The Yankees have not lost since I ripped the higher-ups in a post last week. The team has won 8-0. The reason? As I mentioned in my post, I criticized the organization for deviating from relying on players like Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez, and not producing talent from within for reasons other than trading chips. Two of the main reasons for the Yankees' success? Tino Martinez and Robinson Cano. Martinez has blasted 8 home runs in the 8 games since my post, and the Yanks are unbeaten in that span. He was brought back to NY with the uncertainty of Jason Giambi, and he has thrived hitting in the middle of a quality lineup. He's 37, but the 314-foot fence in right field at Yankee Stadium gives him ample opportunities to hit as many as 30 homers this season. Cano has been touted in the Yankees farm system for years, but has almost been dealt in numerous trades. He won't be a 30-30 guy like Soriano, but he has a promising bat. In the past four games, Cano has collected an impressive 10 hits in four straight multi-hit games.

The roster hasn't changed in the past 8 days, and the pitching is still old and unstable, so I still believe the Yankees will not ultimately have a successful season by their standards. But the recent success of Tino and Cano's quick adjustment to ML pitching should teach Steinbrenner and Co. a lesson that there's no better way to win than with high-character players like Tino who embody the Yankee spirit, and building within through a strong farm system.

In other news, I officially move to 514 Cobun Avenue tomorrow. It's not the greatest place in the world, but it should be nice when I get everything set up. My current house is going to be an interesting place next year - as it will be very, very empty. I absolutely do not want to leave Greg, though.

Also, my fantasy baseball team lost for the first time in forever, and I was actually quite grateful. I would've got pounded by most teams in the league this week, as my hitting was terrible and the pitching matchups did not offer anything favorable. It was good to get it out of my system early in the season and only lose a 1/2 game in the standings. I got very lucky to not catch a better team.

And lastly, congratulations to all my amigos who graduated this weekend. Have fun in the real world, grad school or med school. All three are sure to suck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Well, the dog days of summer are setting in. Baseball is dominating the airways, the old summer job has crept its way back into the picture and I'm officially broke as ever. But, things are looking up. In just a few days, I will say my goodbye to 458 East Brockway Avenue and start a new chapter at 514 Cobun.

The three-story white house has been my home for five years. That's right - five years. Most people are out of school in that period of time, but I've managed to transition from the dorms (Towers) all the way through a two-year master's program at the same residence. I've endured a total of six roomates, if you count a six-week stay by Lauren in the summer of 2003.

I initially started out with Dupont alum David Hemmings and the lanky one, Matt Griffin. Griff and I had wanted to find a two-person apartment and Hemmings nudged his way into the picture somehow. I think he just didnt want to stay in the dorms an extra year and didnt really have any other friends outside of Brian (who was from Long Beach, Calif.).

So the long search ended at 458 East Brockway. We loved it, and us three manned the house for the first three years. Hemmings moved back home without a degree, and Griff graduated and move on. At the end of the three years, David Lamm and I started to search for a new place to live since the house no longer had three people. We found nothing, but stumbled upon my other friend Andrew Beckner and his need for a new place. He was graduating in December, but Davey and I rolled the dice.

Beckner graduated, and Davey and I were prepared to endure four months of splitting the bills of a three-story house. That's when Greg Pennington - my best friend since 7th grade - expressed an interest in transferring to WVU. If only he had a place to live. How perfect is that?

So through Hemmings, Griff, Davey, Lauren, Beckner and Greg I have remained, perched in my one-room third floor in the most perfect setup of all time. I hate to leave it, because it really is a great room and a great house, but its definitely my time.

Here's a random list of my favorite moments at East Brockway:

*Any and all video games. From my NHL season with Griff (that ended with him winning in Game 7) to my year-long hold on the Jack Palmer Cup to Mario Kart and Goldeneye, Playstation and PS2 (yes, I've lived here so long that we actually played Playstation for the first couple of years, and even Nintendo64) had a grip on the household on most evenings. The dynasties, the seasons, the rivalries and the championship banners will be missed. Graycie and Lauren apparently won't make good NCAA partners.

*My endless pursuit to slide down the steps in a laundry basket.

*Griff fighting with his invisible friend to the point where he crashed into the wall and broke my stuff on my chest of drawers.

*The Night.

*Humping Davey on a daily basis.

*Davey yelling at his video game players on a daily basis.

*Beckner, Griff and Greg yelling at their video game players on a daily basis.

*All hold em tournaments. (My new house will be an even better site for future main events).

*The night Hemmings and I inexplicably "slept over" in Griff's room, on his floor.

*And, of course, the Night of the Bat. Anyone close to me knows the adventure of that night, all of which was caught on film.

Okay, enough to of the sappy stuff. If you are reading this, you are gayer than me.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Fallen Soldier

Kellen Winslow II is lucky to be alive. The should-have-been second year tight end for the Cleveland Browns was in a severe motorcycle accident earlier this week, and while his football career is in jeopardy, it should be the least of his worries.

It's being reported that Winslow has suffered a broken tibia and fibula, a broken femur, a smashed knee cap and a torn ACL. Some of these injuries occurred to the same leg in which Winslow fractured in his second professional game last season. Additionally, Winslow may have broken ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated liver. The internal injuries are of dire concern to his medical staff, and the injuries below the waist have threatened the longevity of a once-promising career.

But the injuries on the inside and below the waist are directly related to what Winslow has between the ears. Although his father made the Kellen Winslow name famous, the second-coming has done nothing but tarnish it. While in college, Winslow came known for as much as his playing exploits as his cocky demeanor and brash attitude. He wasn't liked - by fans, coaches, opposing players, etc.

It's unfortunate Winslow had an accident. After all, I would never wish this sort of injury upon any human being. But it does lead me to think about the "what goes around, comes around" karma. Winslow is a self-proclaimed "soldier," although his battles occur in the trenches of the football field - not on a battlefield. He never seemed to put it together upstairs, and while a player like Chris Henry drops to the third round for crossing his arms and being immature, Winslow's name let an incompetent head coach like Butch Davis forget about the attitude problems that could plague his career. He was drafted in the top 10 and handed $40 million without a second thought.

Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Winslow has always operated under his own terms, and now - with his leg not even fully healed - he was out violating his contract and crashing a motorcycle while doing a wheelie.

If the Browns are smart, the new management and Romeo Crennel's staff will find a way to void the contract and alleviate itself of Winslow's burden.

I feel sorry for the fans of the Cleveland Browns, and the new staff that thought it had one of the best young playmakers in the game, but something inside me believes Winslow simply got what was coming to him all along.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Dream Dies...

The dream season is over.

Just moments ago, a 16-inning Game 7 thriller between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays culminated with a Johnny Damon walk-off home run that sent the BoSox to the World Series.

The loss ended the season of the Devil Rays, who rallied from a 3-1 ALCS deficit to force a Game 7 in Boston.

"Stunned. Just stunned," Tampa shortstop B.J. Upton said. "This is like seeing my new born child for the first time, and somebody ripping him out of my arms and killing him."

Damon's blast - which came off lefthanded reliever Dan Meyer - gives Boston the opportunity to repeat as World Champions. For Tampa Bay, it ends a landmark season that will surely leave a bitter taste during the offseason.

"We just worked so hard," Miguel Cabrera said. "To win the Wild Card and the ALDS is great. But we were right there."

Tampa found itself in a 3-1 hole in the best of 7 series when Boston's Tim Wakefield baffled Tampa hitters in Game 4. To salvage the series, Tampa needed to defeat Wade Miller in Game 5 to keep its season alive.

Behind the arm of Zack Greinke, Tampa defeated Boston 1-0 in Game 5 to send the series back to Boston. In Game 6, the Devil Rays found some extra-inning luck of their own, winning 3-2 in 11 innings.

In Game 7, the Devil Rays jumped out to an early lead, as Upton smashed a David Wells pitch over the Green Monster. In the 7th inning, Boston answered, as David Ortiz took a curveball deep for a 2-run homer and the lead.

But the Devil Rays again rallied. In the 8th inning, Rocco Baldelli - who slumped most of the year - hit a deep homer to centerfield to tie the game at 2. The teams then battled back and forth into the 16th inning before Damon's heroics.

Tampa had several opportunities to put the pressure on Boston, but could never convert. In the 13th, Kendry Morales hit a deep shot to rightfield, but Trot Nixon reached up and robbed Morales of a potential game-winning round-tripper.

In the top of the 16th, Tampa again squandered an opportunity. Carl Crawford led off the inning with a single, and Upton was intentionally walked after a sacrifice. But Justin Morneau lined out, and Morales came up empty handed with two outs and Crawford in scoring position.

Tampa now faces a difficult offseason after a 95-win season. The Devil Rays have a ton of personnel decisions that carry significant financial ramifications. Tampa must do all it can to remain competitive in the AL East.

"We will be back," General Manager Chuck McGill said. "If I have to sell my soul to the devil, have sex with a man, or watch American Idol - mark my words - we will be back."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Devil Rays head to the playoffs!

Something I never thought I'd say in my lifetime, but here we are.

The Devil Rays, under the direction of Chuck McGill, and with the help of a revamped roster, have finished the 162-game season with a 95-67 record and the AL Wild Card. The Red Sox won the AL East, and the Yankees fell just short with 90 wins. The AL East had four teams with 84 wins or more.

Below are my season stats, but they are more for personal record and amusement, rather than your viewing pleasure. But by all means, enjoy at your leisure. It took me just over three months to play a full 162-game season. It was awesome, to say the least. It will always be at the forefront of my video gaming achievements.

Also, Zack Greinke won the AL Cy Young Award, and Kendry Morales was the AL Rookie of the Year. Miguel Cabrera won the Silver Slugger Award for DH's.


Carl Crawford: .272, 9 homers, 48 RBI, 57 SB, 96 runs, 33 doubles, 27 triples, .723 OPS, 188-692 (almost 700 at-bats! wow!)
Miguel Cabrera: .263, 46 homers, 113 RBI, 4 SB, 99 runs, 23 doubles, 5 triples, .531 slugging, .842 OPS, 168-639
Kendry Morales: .275, 44 homers, 100 RBI, 2 SB, 90 runs, 36 doubles, 5 triples, .559 slugging, .865 OPS, 173-628
BJ Upton: .268, 15 homers, 59 RBI, 35 SB, 62 runs, 23 doubles, 4 triples, .700 OPS, 149-556
Joe Mauer: .295, 19 homers, 77 RBI, 1 SB, 80 runs, 36 doubles, 1 triple, .791 OPS, 160-543
Rocco Baldelli: .279, 15 homers, 53 RBI, 20 SB, 65 runs, 18 doubles, 3 triples, .737 OPS, 128-459 Dallas McPherson: .261, 20 homers, 62 RBI, 2 SB, 47 runs, 21 doubles, 2 triples, .745 OPS, 118-452
Jorge Cantu: .230, 12 homers, 32 RBI, 31 runs, 10 doubles, .611 OPS, 80-348
Joey Gathright: .274, 5 homers, 26 RBI, 49 SB, 14 doubles, 4 triples, .697 OPS, 87-318
Justin Morneau: .312, 20 homers, 50 RBI, 35 runs, 12 doubles, .894 OPS, 90-288 (only 74 games)
Chase Utley: .240, 14 homers, 45 RBI, 3 SB, 29 runs, 7 doubles, .696 OPS, 66-275
Matt Weisen: .247, 10 homers, 19 RBI, 17 runs, 1 double, .875 OPS, 24-97
Ryan Howard: .315, 1 homer, 5 RBI, 3 runs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, .827 OPS, 17-54
Delmon Young: .204, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 6 runs, 2 doubles, .541 OPS, 10-49


Zack Greinke: 40 games, 301 IP, 20-13, 2.21 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 235 K's, 14 CG, 5 SO
Scott Kazmir: 31 games, 202 IP, 16-7, 3.78 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 141 K's, 2 CG, 1 SO
Dewon Brazelton: 32 games, 199 IP, 12-7, 3.07 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 122 K's, 3 CG, 2 SO
Jeff Francis: 27 games, 184 IP, 15-6, 2.10 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 115 K's, 1 CG
Dontrelle Willis: 27 games, 182 IP, 9-8, 3.20 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 139 K's, 2 CG, 1 SO
Dan Meyer: 44 games, 82 IP, 3-5, 2.96 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 37 K's, 3 saves
Felix Hernandez: 22 games, 81 IP, 5-7, 6.94 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 46 K's, 1 CG, 1 save
Jairo Garcia: 45 games, 59 IP, 3-2, 2.28 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 47 K's, 18 saves
Ryan Wagner: 35 games, 40 IP, 0-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 26 K's, 1 save
Jose Capellan: 35 games, 34 IP, 0-7, 6.49 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 18 K's, 22 saves
Denny Bautista: 10 games, 26 IP, 1-0, 4.44 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 23 K's
Mike Gonzalez: 24 games, 24 IP, 2-0, 5.55 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 14 K's
Gavid Floyd: 7 games, 21 IP, 0-1, 6.43 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 9 K's
Jesse Crain: 15 games, 16 IP, 1-0, 6.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7 K's, 2 saves
Yhency Brazoban: 8 games, 10 IP, 1-0, 16.76, 2.59 WHIP, 7 K's,

The Empire Crumbles

A lot of people hate the Yankees. There isn't an in between, it seems. You either love them, or you hate them, and this extends beyond the borders of Massachusetts.

The fact is, I love them. The Yankee mystique is in my skin, and its at the heart of the foundation of my passion for the greatest game in the world. When I was young, Yankee baseball grew inside me. My Dad loved them, and loved telling me about them. I was all ears. I endured some difficult times, too. This was back when the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins led the league in payroll. When Jesse Barfield and Danny Tartabull manned the outfield. When Andy Hawkins headlined a porous rotation. It was tough, enduring 100-loss season after 100-loss season. It was even tougher watching my idol - Don Mattingly - never make it to the postseason.

Fast forward to 2005, and it would appear that not much as changed. The Yankees are now tied for last place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, courtesy of a three-game losing streak to the aforementioned D'Rays. The payroll is tops in baseball, but the heart, hustle and charisma that epitomized past Yankee teams is AWOL.

To be honest, there's absolutely nothing likeable about these NY Yankees. They are old. They are slow. They aren't fun to watch. And perhaps thats at the heart of why the Yankees have won as many games as the Pirates, and its now May 6.

You see, I don't dislike the Yankees in any way. Most of their disdain is brought on by the fact that they spend so carelessly and freely, and that their pockets are seemingly endless. This would appear - and has been apparent in the past - to create a distinct advantage for the Bronx Bombers. This year, however, it's certainly not the case.

But don't hate the Yankees because they can afford a $200 million payroll. There may be an obvious comparitive advantage, but it's not their fault. They are only playing the game the way the higher-ups dictate. They are only doing whats best to win. Wouldn't you want the same out of the Pirates, Reds, etc.? Would you be upset if your own was Allard Baird, and he wasn't spending what was available to improve the Royals?

That's not the case with the Yanks. They do what they are allowed to do to win. They aren't as good of an organization as the Twins, A's, Marlins, and of course, the Braves, but they may be the best business organization. They rake in millions upon millions for endorsements, television, tickets, etc. It's not their fault they are successful and business savvy.

No, the only reason to dislike the Yankees and their $200 million dollar team is the man writing the checks. For ages, George Steinbrenner wouldn't pick up the pen and sign the players needed to win. He was content to rake in as much revenue as possible playing before the nation's largest market and with the world's biggest fan base in his back pocket. He didn't put the players around Don Mattingly to win.

It took a young, upstart baseball mind - Brian Cashman - to revive the Yankee mystique. It took his eye for talent, and his concept for winning baseball, to pull the cobwebs off Steinbrenner's checkbook. Even with the Yankees' penchant for taking on huge contracts midseason, New York's success was homegrown.

When Steinbrenner took over the Yankees in 1973, he vowed to do whatever it took to win. And except for a period in the 90s when he decided to stow away the checks and horde money, he has. He always signs - and oversigns - aging players coming off of career years (think Sheffield in his final year with the Braves), but often pays the price. He doesn't care about prospects, and routinely trades them away without a second thought.

The Yankees' late 90s success and four World Series rings was Cashman convincing Steinbrenner otherwise. They held onto their future middle infield of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, they held on to Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte, and they stuck with struggling starting pitcher Mariano Rivera. They made intelligent, low-priced acquisitions that were more like role players than star players. Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosious, Wade Boggs, Joe Girardi, David Cone, Chad Curtis and Charlie Hayes all fit perfectly into Cashman's concept. The Yankees homegrown talent was winning, and the free-agent pieces patched it together to bring in championships.

In the past few years, I've been clamoring that the Yankees were destined for a big fall. I criticized the signing of Gary Sheffield. Cashman had Vladimer Guerrero getting fitted for pinstripes, and Steinbrenner went over him and signed Sheffield himself. Cashman, while recognizing the dire state of the pitching staff, coveted Carlos Beltran to fill a hole in centerfield. The Boss wanted 41-year old Randy Johnson.

The Yanks have emptied their farm system in the 21st century, relinquishing the rights to Wily Mo Pena, Yhency Brazoban, Dioner Navarro and Brad Halsey, to name a few, while receiving little in return. Their pitching staff is falling apart, and their defense is horrendous.

I don't love the Yankees with the same passion as I did growing up as a kid. Most of that is due to the fact that lovable stars like Tino and Mattingly have been shunned, while high-priced names like Giambi, Sheffield and Kevin Brown have tarnished the Yankee name.

Players like Jeter and Posada, and people like Joe Torre and Cashman, deserve better. The Yankee fans deserve more from their organization.

Don't fault the Yankees for spending money. It's what you would do to. Just fault the man upstairs for tarnishing the games greatest franchise.

It's easy to hate the Yankees, but as a Yankee fan, it's easier to hate George Steinbrenner.