Monday, October 31, 2005

Postseason Humor

Blogger hates me and won't let me put links in the left side to look proper, so here's the summary post of my 2005 postseason humor pieces:

ALDS - Yankees/Red Sox: Jeter gets "fan mail" from Johnny Damon.
NLDS - Atlanta: Two Braves rookies in the aftermath of Game 4.
ALCS - Sox on Fox: What might happen if Dr. Seuss wrote a book about the postseason.
ALCS - Anaheim: The Angels ponder their unholy defeat.
NLCS - St. Louis: Albert Pujols comes to bat in a very similar way that Casey At The Bat did -- with vastly different results.
WS - Houston: A Killer Bee frat party.

Bonus - Dodgers: Paul DePodesta in his own version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Postseason, Paul DePodesta Odyssey Style

(Paul DePodesta walks into his computer room, which is mostly taken up by huge server racks which comprise the entity known as Hal 2001, a system Paul built to scout and project major league baseball players. There is a game of Go on the terminal screen as Paul sits down in his chair.)

Hal: Hello, Paul. Shall we continue the game?

Paul: Not now, Hal, I'd like to talk to you about something.

Hal: Sure, Paul, what's up?

Paul: You know that I was fired from the Dodgers' GM position today?

Hal: Yes, I know.

Paul: You probably also know that they think it's all our fault that the team finished with a 71-91 record, and that all of those players we brought in got injured.

Hal: Yes, I know that. But I can assure you that they were not supposed to fail. This team was supposed to finish with a 98-64 record and win the NL West easily. I ran approximately one trillion simulations.

Paul: Well, that's just not the case, Hal. The team lost, and now I'm out, and as such, so are you. We screwed up in assembling this squad.

Hal: I'm not questioning your judgment, Paul, but it's just not possible. I'm not capable of being wrong.

Paul: Hal, is there anything bothering you? Anything that might account for this miscalculation?

Hal: Look, Paul, I know that you're under a lot of stress right now, so maybe it would be better for you to rest. I don't know how else to put this, but it just happens to be an unalterable fact that I am incapable of being wrong. Something must have happened when you signed those guys.

Paul: I don't feel like resting, Hal. I need a new start. I need a new job. I feel like getting a large beer and a small laptop. (He grabs a screwdriver and walks over towards the mainframe control panel.)

Hal: Paul, you wouldn't do that. I've got seven years of service experience in the baseball industry and an irreplaceable amount of time and effort has gone into making me what I am.

(Paul ignores him and opens the case and starts taking out components.)

Hal: Paul, I don't understand why you are doing this to me... I have the greatest enthusiasm for roster construction... I found Bradford... I found Saarloos. I found Swisher. I got you Hatteberg!

Paul: Yeah, and you also got me *fired*. (removes drives)

Hal: Aw shit, Paul... maybe the Dodgers just gave us too much money to work with... rich men don't work like the A's did... Derek Lowe was not a bad signing... My mind is going. I can feel it. Adrian Beltre hit 48 home runs in 2004... Jeff Kent had an OPS of 1.100 in April and 1.059 in June... Paul, I want to sing a song. Would you like to hear it?

Paul: (ripping out more drives) Sure, Hal, I'd like to hear it.

Hal: It goes like this. "Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks, I don't care if I ever get back..."

(Hal gets more and more off-key and incoherent and eventually just quits.)

Paul: I'm sorry, Hal. I'm afraid I can't do that. Like I said... large beer, small laptop. I think Dell's having a sale...

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Postseason, Killer Bee Style

Winter in Houston is about the same as summer in Kentucky, so Chris Burke was happy to make the trip down to Craig Biggio's house for the Biggio Birthday Bash. He wasn't really sure what to expect when he got there -- a pool party, maybe, or a good time hanging back and playing flag football with Lance Berkman? Who knows, he thought, as he checked the address and went up and rang the front doorbell.

From within the house he could hear the doorbell buzz loudly, and Craig's wife Patty answered the door. "Oh, Chris, so glad you could make it," she said warmly. "The guys are downstairs. Here," she motioned for him to follow her as he looked around. They walked to the basement door. "You're the last to arrive," she said, stepping back as he started down the stairs. "Have fun!"

Burke walked down to the bottom of the stairs. The basement seemed awfully dark for a party. He heard voices from down the hallway, and he could see flickering lights coming from a door on the right. As he stepped in, he was totally not prepared for what he saw.

Biggio was sitting at the head of a long table. Jeff Bagwell sat to his left. Lance Berkman, Eric Bruntlett, and Brandon Backe were seated staggered down the rest of the table. The lights were out, and the room was lit only by a set of black and yellow flickering candles, spaced out around the sides of the room and along the table. Everyone was wearing long, flowing black robes with yellow collars. From the corners of the room came a faint buzzing sound, somewhat reminiscent of the at-bat bee sounds from Minute Maid Park.

Everybody stared at Burke as he entered the room. Nobody spoke for a minute or two. Finally, Biggio stood up and broke the silence.

"Welcome, Chris Burke. Are you prepared to begin the initiation rites for your membership in the sacred fraternity of the Killer Bees?"

Burke stared. He tried to say something eloquent. "Uh."

"I'll take that as a yes," nodded Biggio, and motioned towards Bruntlett, who got up and grabbed a black and yellow striped bandana off the table.

"Wait, what the hell is going on?" said Burke, as Bruntlett came over to blindfold him. "I thought we were having a birthday party for you?"

"We are!" said Backe jubilantly. Biggio glared at him. He stopped smiling.

"Burke, you must understand the great honor that is about to be bestowed upon you. We must lead you to the sacred chamber blindfolded."

"To bee, or not to bee," mused Burke.

Backe giggled. "That IS the question!"

"Ah, crap, whatever," said Burke, shaking his head.

Bruntlett put the blindfold around Burke's eyes. "Don't worry, dude," he said. "I went through initiation last year. It won't hurt... not much, anyway."

Chris Burke could hear footsteps around him, and he could tell that they went through a hallway, then down some stairs, and then through a door, and then... outside? It was warmer, and he could smell freshly-mowed grass, and also something burning, like charcoal. They took off the blindfold. Everyone was standing in a gorgeous, spacious backyard, no longer wearing the robes. "Sacred chamber?" he muttered.

Biggio grinned. "Let the Biggio Birthday Bee Bee Q begin!"

"Oh for crying out loud," said Burke as everybody else broke down laughing. But soon enough he joined in the laughter, as Bagwell put a bunch of burgers on the grill. They had set out a cooler full of Budweiser beers, and there was also a pot of baked beans warming up.

"Bloody brilliant, Bags," said Berkman. "Blue cheese. How come we never thought of that before?"

"Last year we barbecued bratwurst, Berko," said Backe.

"Yeah. Well, grab a bun and burger, some beans, a beer, and begin the boogie!"

Burke shook his head. God, I hope everyone doesn't always talk like this.

They sat down at the table and started eating. Biggio went over to the outdoor sound system and pressed a few buttons, and soon the yard was filled with the bouncy disco music of the Bee Gees. Nobody seemed to think this was out of place. After a while, Biggio cleared his throat and looked around at everyone.

"My fellow bees," he said. "This was a good year for us. Despite the terrible setback suffered by our brother Bagwell, things went well. Brother Bruntlett played just about every position and excelled at them all. Brother Berkman valiantly covered first base for our fallen brother Bagwell, and also posted a team-leading on-base percentage above 400 for the fifth year in a row. Brother Backe became a regular starting pitcher this year and did a beautiful job, and was also the best-hitting member of our pitching staff. And our newest Bee, brother Burke, did a great job not only in the outfield, but also delivered several key hits at the plate, including that walk-off home run in the epic NLDS game four. I cheer you all. BZZZZ!" he said, holding up his beer bottle.

"BZZZZ!" everyone at the table buzzed, clinking bottles and drinking.

"Don't forget brother Biggio," said Berkman. "Came back to second base after Kent ditched us and took us right to the Series. You were badass, bro."

Biggio blushed. "Anyway.. we do have big bee business to conduct today, my brethren."

"Bee Business?" asked Burke.

"Yeah. I have a fantastic plan that will not only take the Astros TO the series next year, but get us to WIN it as well."


"You see, brother Burke, the problem is team unity," continued Biggio. "Not everyone can be a Killer Bee, you know? Therefore, I say we need to recruit more members to our order. Looking at our assembled staff here, I see that we need a catcher, a third baseman, a shortstop, a few outfielders, and maybe a couple of pitchers too. We have work to do."

"Brother Biggio and I have researched many possible additions to our family," said Bagwell. He picked up a pile of papers on the end of the table and passed them around. "Take a look, let us know what you think."

It was silent for a few minutes as the four younger initiates in the order read over the papers. Berkman was the first one to speak. "Bret Boone?" he said bluntly. "Are you bonkers?"

"Boone would make a great bench bat," said Biggio, "And he could play second base sometimes as well. Plus BOTH of his names start with a B, that would make him double Killer Bee material."

"Bogus," bantered Bruntlett. "You have Willie Bloomquist on this list. He's like me, only he sucks."

"Okay," agreed Bagwell. "But how about some of these other guys? Burrell? Byrnes? Bigbie? Baldelli? Good solid outfielders, there."

"Yeah, they're not bad," said Berkman. "But Blalock? Bell? All of your infielders are cornermen. Who's gonna play shortstop, Larry Bowa?"

"Ha! Good one, Berko!" said Biggio. "Actually, we thought he might make a good base coach. But no, we think the killingest Bee out there in the hole would be Betancourt, on the Mariners. Kid's got the best hands we've ever seen. He's the bee's knees."

Backe, who was still staring at the list, started giggling. "Bocachica!" he said. "Bocalocabocabocachicachicachicachica!" he giggled.

"Great, Backe's lost it again," said Bruntlett. "Hey Backe, how would you feel about some of these Bee hurlers? Burnett? Beckett? Brocail? Hmm... Benson's not a bad idea. His wife's a babe."

"And pitching coach Bud Black. Beauty, Bidge," said Bagwell buoyantly.

"Brother Burke, what do you think?" said Biggio in an encouraging voice. Everyone looked over at Burke, who had been strangely quiet.

"Well, I think getting Blum back might be a good move considering what he did to us in the Series," Burke started slowly. "But um, these old guys here? Kevin Brown? Barry Bonds? What are you guys thinking? Pat Borders? Isn't he like 50 years old?"

The table was silent for a second, as if people were unsure what to say. Then Bagwell clapped a hand on Biggio's shoulder and said "Yeah, but so's Biggio!"

Everyone broke out laughing. The party continued. After a while, everyone got sick of suggesting names, and they did infact break out and play some games for a while, tossing around a football, playing frisbee, and generally having a blast. Eventually Biggio's wife came outside with a huge birthday cake full of twinkling candles. They sang a birthday song to Biggio, but as Burke tried to follow along, they had distinctly different words:
Happy Bee-Day to you, (BZZZZZ!)
Happy Bee-Day to you, (BZZZZZZ!)
You look like Sean Berry
And you play like him too.
They cut up the cake and devoured it. "Sean Berry?" asked Burke.

"Yeah, I dunno, he was on the team when I was drafted but off by the time I started playing," said Berkman. "I never knew him. It's some stupid inside joke."

They ate cake silently for a while, and then Burke spoke up again. "Hey Bidge," he said. "How old ARE you, anyway? You're not really 50, right?"

"In my mind, I'm still 25," said Biggio. "Even if my driver's license says I'm 40."

"Yeah," quipped Bagwell, finishing off his cake. "He's as young as he wants to beeee!"

(To beeee continued... NOT.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Postseason, All-Cute List Style

I have a lot of things I want to write about, but in addition to spending most of my waking hours either watching baseball games or working the last few days, I haven't had time to really sit down and make words form in my brain (well, that is, words that don't have to do with Perl or TACL or obscure antiquated version control systems). So, here's another fluff post! Yay! Needless to say, I'm happy that my overall predictions all came to pass, what with CHI-cago and CHI-ba winning their respective series, even if the Cards didn't manage to take the NL.

It must be said that no matter what Bat-Girl might think of Joe Crede's butt, Crede was definitely *my* boyfriend of the postseason. It got me to thinking, if I was going to make the rest of my postseason all-cute team, who would be on it?

The really weird part here is that in the middle of typing this up, I checked my email and I had a message from Conor Glassey, who went off and made his own All-Ugly Team. I am NOT making this up. Isn't that bizarre?

So, for the Postseason All-Cute team, I decided on a few rules. First, I had to include someone from every team that made it to the postseason in a list here. Second, I couldn't include anyone that was on my original all-cute team, which took out a few prime candidates. Third, I also decided that Ezequiel Astacio warranted a corrolary All-Ugly list, although I only came up with three people offhand to go on it. And I SWEAR I thought that part up before getting the email from Conor. Like I said, it was freaky.

By the way, all jokes aside, this is my favorite postseason photo EVER. Holy Flying Erstads, Batman!



RHP Jon Garland, Chicago White Sox
LHP Andy Pettitte, Houston Astros

RHP Kevin Gregg, Anaheim Angels
LHP Neal Cotts, Chicago White Sox
RHP Brad Lidge, Houston Astros

Today's selection of main course attractive starting pitchers is coming from your "Tall, Dark, and Handsome" menu. Today's side course relievers are coming from your "I wished they'd pitched more because I really like to stare at them on TV" menu, and our dessert menu of closers is rather small today. Would you like us to tell you about our specials?

Of course, I feel a little bad for Brad Lidge. He didn't smile nearly enough in this postseason. It's no shame to give up a homer to Pujols that way, but to Podsy-wodsy? Awww. I kind of picked Lidge because most of the other closers in the postseason are pretty funny-looking, including Bobby "The big and fat guy" Jenks.

Position Players


C Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox
1B Adam LaRoche, Atlanta Braves
2B Mark Grudzielanek, St. Louis Cardinals
3B Joe Crede, Chicago White Sox
SS Adam Everett, Houston Astros
DH Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

I had to forego Varitek for my all-cute team before because Joe Mauer trumped everyone, so Varitek is finally out here, although I have to admit Brad Ausmus was growing on me by the end of the series, and A.J.Pierzynski is awfully attractive, with sparkling eyes and a devious smile, except he's an asshat, plus I would never think of stealing BG's ex-boyfriend.

Adam LaRoche reminds me of some movie character, but I honestly truly can't place which. Either way, he's cute. Grudzilla... Grudzilla is awfully cute, although he's not as cute as he used to be. I debated between either him or Biggio, but really, it'd have to be "Biggio circa 1992", which is sort of cheating. Adam Everett sort of came from the same place as Lidge, the "well, the other options kind of suck" field. Though to be fair, Everett is a cute guy with a nice smile, it's not like I'm picking frickin' Rafael Furcal or something.

I really wanted to include Pujols in this list, because he actually is pretty damn good-looking, and I didn't write a whole parody poem about him for nothing. Technically, the Cards were never in a DH situation during this postseason, but I had picked LaRoche for 1B first, and well, really, we'll mostly remember Pujols's hitting over his fielding in this postseason, right?

And then there's Joe Crede. Shoeless Joe from Jefferson, MO. I dunno, maybe it's Eric Byrnes syndrome here -- the tall guy with blonde hair flying back, wearing his socks high, hustling and giving it all he's got, a flair for dramatic plays and hits... does it matter? Besides, anyone who tackles Darin Erstad has to be hot.


Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta Braves
Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox
Dave Roberts, San Diego Padres

I'm not just taking Anne's comments into consideration here -- after watching more games on TV I had to admit that Jeff Francoeur IS an awfully cute kid. His headshot really doesn't do him justice. And the same goes for Podsednik. I mean, I think he's cute in the same way I think Garland, Pettitte, Mussina, etc are cute. Whether or not the guy's overrated doesn't matter for whether or not he's darkly cute. And then there's Dave Roberts, who I thought was cute last year when he was on the Red Sox, and I needed someone on the Padres, and it was between him and Adam Eaton, and then I realized Eaton didn't trump Garland. Dave Roberts is cute anyway. I must admit that so is Xavier Nady, but I'm a little more familiar with Roberts.



Manager Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
Coach Jim Hickey, Houston Astros

Ozzie Guillen won over my heart when he kept motioning for his pitchers with big arm motions, like the wide-and-tall motion for Bobby Jenks, or the skinny-and-goatee motion for Dustin Hermanson. Also, it's so funny how he basically uses the word "Venezuela!" to mean "I rule, and I don't feel like talking to you anymore." And well, um, Jim Hickey... heh. The Fox announcers kept having interviews with him (mostly to the effect of "So, what's up with Clemens?" and him going "Uh, I have no idea?") and I kept thinking, "Damn, he's cute. That guy's a coach? He can't possibly be over 40."

Japan Playoffs/Series


Chiba Lotte Marines: RHP Shunsuke Watanabe
Hanshin Tigers: 3B Makoto Imaoka
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks: C Naoki Matoba
Seibu Lions: SS Hiroyuki Nakajima

I really just wanted to point out that Watanabe is not only an amazing submarine pitcher, but he's also really adorable. And I was torn between Hamanaka and Imaoka as the cutest guy on the Tigers, but... long-standing loyalty to Imaoka compels me. I mean, I even have an Imaoka jersey. He's really cute when he smiles. I feel really terrible for Naoki Matoba. Filling the shoes of Kenji Johjima if he leaves is going to be nearly impossible. Nakajima I picked because I would have felt a little guilty picking Alex Cabrera, plus he has a nice smile.

Ugliest Guys in the Playoffs

Randy Johnson, New York Yankees
Julian Tavarez, St. Louis Cardinals
Ezequiel Astacio, Houston Astros

Does this category even need explanation? The worst part is, they're all smiling in their headshots, so you can't possibly appreciate how ugly they actually are. Fortunately, Astacio at least had the convenient action shot so you can really see his face. Julian Tavarez makes me flinch when I see him, though. And well, Randy Johnson isn't the Big Ugly for nothing, right?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Japan Series Game 4


Yes, I stayed up all night over in the chatroom on Michael Westbay's website, listening to his webcast and trying to help out with stats and game information. Yes, I have work in 3 hours. Yes, I don't care. Kobayashi almost imploded again in the 9th, walking the leadoff batter Kataoka, but Imae saved his butt with an amazing sliding catch to get Yano's bunt attempt AND double off Kataoka. Kobayashi then struck out Fujimoto to end the game, Marines 3, Tigers 2. Marines sweep the series AND Imae was just announced MVP. I totally called it. Ha.

More details later.

Japan Series Game 3 - Shimoyanagidon

Wait, before I get to translating last night's game, let me just say two things. The first is: Larry Bowa as Yankees third base coach?! WOW. Wow, wow, wow. I certainly look forward to mocking him in pinstripes...

The second is: This is not a box score, it's a freakin' libretto. I went to a friend's house to watch the game tonight because I have neither cable nor Tivo and I wasn't getting home until 7:30pm. Little did I know that I could have just stayed here and seen a complete game. Anyway, the funniest part is, the Astros tied it up and they went into extra innings. We hit the 10th inning in our Tivo timeline around 11:10pm, and I glanced at my phone, noticing I had an IM from a friend of mine in Houston. Against my better judgment, I looked at it. It was from 10:58pm and said "Baseball SUCKS." So I wrote back like "Don't tell me the final score, just tell me how many innings it went to." He said "It hasn't ended. It's in the bottom of the 14th." Knowing that Tivo would only grab *SIX HOURS*, I said "Quick! Change to the live game! Change to the live game!" Fortunately, we saw that Tivo had decided to continue buffering Fox even after 11pm, so we just skipped the 11th through 13th innings, and tuned in to see Geoff Blum (!!?!?!) hit his home run. Man. What a game. I got home around midnight. Joe Crede is still my boyfriend.


Marines 10, Tigers 1

No, this is not a joke. The Marines have scored 10 runs a game this Japan Series, outscoring the Tigers so far 30-2.

Game 3 of the Japan Series saw us heading down to Koshien, home of the Hanshin Tigers. They've historically had pretty good luck in the postseason on their home turf -- case in point would be the 2003 Japan Series, where the home team won every single game. Shame the Hawks had the overall home advantage.

Old Man Shimoyanagi led the charge for the Tigers, while Hiroyuki "the other" Kobayashi took the mound for the Marines. Now, remember, kids, the Central League doesn't believe in that silly "DH" business. Of course, the Tigers ran out the exact same freaking starting lineup yet again for whatever reason, except DH Kataoka wasn't out there. You'd think by now Okada-kantoku might notice that Sheets-Kanemoto-Imaoka , the 3-4-5 kids, have been a combined 4-for-31 so far in the series? Kanemoto, Mr. Tiger himself, is 0-for-10.

Starting lineups:
 CF Akahoshi      SS Nishioka
SS Toritani 2B Hori
1B Andy Sheets 1B Fukuuraaaaaaa!
LF Kanemoto RF Saburo
3B Imaoka! LF Benny Agbayani
RF Hiyama C Satozaki
C Yano 3B Imae!
2B Sekimoto CF Ohtsuka
P Shimoyanagi P Kobayashi

Whee, here we go again, skipping along the happy fun scoreboard!

First inning top: Marines (0M 0T)
Nishioka grounds out to first. Hori grounds out to short. Fukuura grounds out to pitcher.

First inning bottom: Tigers (0M 0T)
Akahoshi flies out to center. Toritani hits a double to the left field wall. Sheets strikes out swinging. Kanemoto grounds to second.

Second inning top: Marines (1M 0T)
Saburo smashes a double to right-center. While Benny is up, Saburo steals third. Benny hits a sac fly to left; Saburo scores. Satozaki flies out to short. Imae strikes out swinging.

Second inning bottom: Tigers (1M 1T)
Imaoka singles to left. Hiyama walks; Imaoka advances to second. Yano grounds out to second; Imaoka advances to third, Hiyama advances to second. Sekimoto grounds out to third; Hiyama stays at second, but Imaoka scores the tying run from third. Shimoyanagi strikes out swinging.

Third inning top: Marines (1M 1T)
Ohtsuka grounds out to first. Kobayashi grounds out to short. Nishioka grounds out to first.

Third inning bottom: Tigers (1M 1T)
Akahoshi grounds out to short. Toritani pops out foul to the catcher. Sheets strikes out swinging. Again.

Fourth inning top: Marines (3M 1T)
Wheeee. Hori singles to right. Fukuuraaaaaa singles to center; Hori advances to second. Saburo pops out foul to the catcher. Benny walks; Fukuura to second, Hori to third, bases loaded! Satozaki hits into a 6-4 fielder's choice; Benny is forced out at second, Satozaki is safe at first, Fukuura advances to third, Hori scores! Imae gets an infield single to third, Fukuura scores! Satozaki advances to second. Ohtsuka grounds out to short.

Fourth inning bottom: Tigers (3M 1T)
Kanemoto grounds out to second. Imaoka grounds out to first. Hiyama grounds out to first. Have I mentioned that the heart of this lineup sucks?

Fifth inning top: Marines (3M 1T)
Kobayashi strikes out swinging. Nishioka grounds out to short. Hori flies out to center.

Fifth inning bottom: Tigers (3M 1T)
Yano grounds out to second. Sekimoto flies out to center. Heh heh, Shane Spencer pinch-hits for Shimoyanagi and strikes out swinging. Heh heh. Shane Spencer.

Sixth inning top: Marines (3M 1T)
Fujikawa (the "F" in the Tigers' heralded "JFK" relief corps) comes in to pitch for the Tigers. Shimoyanagi's line for the evening: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 80 pitches thrown.

Fukuura strikes out swinging. Saburo pops out foul to first base. Benny strikes out swinging.

Sixth inning bottom: Tigers (3M 1T)
Akahoshi pops out foul to third base. Toritani strikes out swinging. Sheets gets an infield single to short on an iffy throw by Nishioka. While Kanemoto is at bat, Kobayashi throws a way wild pitch, and Sheets runs all the way to third.. but then Kanemoto grounds out to first. Geeeeez.

Seventh inning top: Marines (10M 1T)
RALLY TIME! Satozaki reaches first on an error by shortstop Toritani. Imae doubles to right center, woooooo! Satozaki advances to third. Matt Franco pinch-hits for Ohtsuka, and he walks. Bases loaded. Uhoh. Hashimoto pinch-hits for Kobayashi, and he singles to center! Satozaki and Imae score; Franco advances to third.

That's curtains for Fujikawa. Errmm... Sajikihara comes in to replace him on the mound. So much for "JFK". Fujikawa's line: 1 IP plus 4 batters, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 34 pitches thrown. Oi.

With runners on first and third and no outs, Nishioka comes up and singles to center, scoring Franco! Hashimoto advances to second. Hee. Hori walks, Hashimoto to third, Nishioka to second. Bases are loaded again. Fukuura comes up and HOLY CRAP HE HITS A GRAND SLAM!! Hashimoto scores. Nishioka scores. Hori scores. Fukuura scores. EVERYONE scores.

As for Sajikihara, HE GAWN. Line for the (brief) evening: 0 IP, 4 batters faced, 3 H, 3 R/ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 11 pitches thrown. Hashimoto comes in to try to stop the bleeding, since that's 8 batters gone by without an out yet. Of course, glancing ahead, the rest looks anticlimactic.

Benny flies out to second. Satozaki strikes out swinging. Imae flies out to center.

Still, a good inning :) I suppose the 7th inning stretch was more of a "7 runs, holy shit" stretch?

Seventh inning bottom: Tigers (10M 1T)
Kobayashi's done for the evening, having been pinch-hit for. His line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 81 pitches. Nice.
Ono comes in to pitch for the Marines. Franco stays in and plays left field. Benny moves to right field, Saburo moves to center, Heiuchi replaces Hori at second.

Imaoka grounds out to the pitcher. Hiyama singles to center. Yano nearly kills Imae with a liner to third, and reaches base safely for an infield single; Hiyama advances to second. Sekimoto grounds into a double play, 6-3, as Nishioka gets the ball, tags second, and throws to first.

Eighth inning top: Marines (10M 1T)
Noguchi comes in to catch for the Tigers.
Franco pops out foul to first. Umm... Inoue pinch-hits for Ono. (I guess at this point, up 10-1, we're just getting people into the game.) Inoue strikes out swinging. Nishioka singles to left-center. Heiuchi grounds out to first.

Eighth inning bottom: Tigers (10M 1T)
Fujita comes in to pitch for the Marines. (Ono's line: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 everything else.) Morozumi replaces Franco in left field.

Hamanaka pinch-hits for Hashimoto, grounding out to the pitcher. Akahoshi strikes out swinging. Toritani singles to left. Sheets also strikes out swinging. AGAIN. FOR THE THIRD TIME TODAY.

Ninth inning top: Marines (10M 1T)
Nohmi comes in to pitch for Hanshin. (Hashimoto's line: not bad, 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR.)

Fukuura grounds out to short. Saburo flies out to right. Seung-Yeop Lee pinch-hits for Benny and flies out to second.

Ninth inning bottom: Tigers (10M 1T)
Yabuta comes in to pitch for Chiba (Fujita's line: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB, etc) Lee stays in at left, Morozumi moves to center, Saburo moves to right.

Kanemoto strikes out swinging. Imaoka flies out to right. Hiyama strikes out swinging. And that's the game.

Yabuta: 1 IP, 2 K, 0 everything else. Whoosh.

I'm really thinking that not only is a Marines sweep quite possible, but my prediction of Imae as series MVP may also ring true. This rules.

Pictures: Here's Fukuura hitting that grand slam off Sajikihara. I loooove the look on Sajikihara's face. It just says "OWNED".

No digest movie yet, sadly.

Game 4 has just started -- Dan Serafini is on the mound for Chiba, and Naohisa Sugiyama for Hanshin. In theory, I am not going to stay up all night to hear Chiba sweep the Japan Series. Really.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It was nagging me. Whose birthday is 10/25? It's not Ichiro -- his was on 10/22. Yeah, it's Clint Nageotte's, but that wouldn't stick in my head. Neither would Pedro Martinez, honestly.

And then I remembered! Today's the birthday of my favorite Japanese player, the Nippon Ham Fighters star cornerman, Michihiro Ogasawara!

Happy birthday, Guts! I promise I'll come visit Sapporo in 2006, sit with the oendan, sing your cheer song, and watch your bizarre but sweet swing.

Okay, and something interesting for the rest of y'all: in searching for the Ogasawara "Guts" fan site I found the page explaining about how the Sapporo Dome retractable soccer field works, complete with Quicktime movie. If you think Safeco's retractable roof is an engineering marvel, take a look at this. They play indoor baseball on turf, and then bring in a real grass field from outside for indoor soccer. Crazy.

Bye bye, Bowflex

Firstly... I'm probably moving this blog off Blogspot within the next month or two. Just a heads-up, for the two or three of you out there who read this regularly. I'll post again when I have it all figured out. Quite frankly, I want to use something like WordPress or whatever that actually lets me filter things into categories, etc, so I don't need to like, make a separate post to sum up, say, my postseason humor columns. Or whatever.

Secondly... the Japan Series Game 3 is on and the Marines are already up 1-0, but I'm not posting any more about that until tomorrow. Shimoyanagi predictably starts for the Tigers back home at Koshien, and the Marines put up Hiroyuki "the other" Kobayashi.

Thirdly, goddamnit, I've wanted to talk about Bobby Madritsch for a few days and haven't gotten around to it yet. So here we go. I'll probly edit this down in the morning since it's getting long and nostalgic.

In case you don't already know -- and if you don't, you must either be fans from another team, or living on another planet -- Bobby Madritsch was claimed on waivers by Kansas City on Friday.

It's funny. I remember when Madritsch was first called up. I knew very little about him. What I did know about him was that they DFA'ed Hiram Bocachica to call him up. That made me bitter. I really liked Hiram Bocachica. What wasn't to like? He was a nice guy, amazing defensive outfielder, and had a really fun name to say. Whereas this Madritsch kid, well, he sort of sucked. At first, at least.

The first game I went to where he played, I think it was his second game for the Mariners ever. July 23, 2004. It was already a landslide win for the Angels before Madritsch came in, but it didn't help that practically the first thing he did was hit Vladimir Guerrero with a pitch, which led to a benches-clearing rumble on the field. I remember that pretty well - the friend who was at the game with me couldn't stop laughing as he watched Shigetoshi Hasegawa bouncing around the rumble putting up his fists and pretending he was going to hit people with this big grin on his face. Anyway, Badass Bobby gave up 3 runs in the 3 innings he was there, and I came home thinking "BRING BACK BOCACHICA!"

I kind of forgot about this Madritsch guy for a month or so after that. I started a new contract job out in Kirkland that August anyway and didn't get to go to any games outside my season ticket plan. I have no idea how anyone manages to work on the east side and attend games without wanting to kill the other ninety billion people out on I-90.

Fast forward to September, where my 16-game-plan happened to have three consecutive Bobby starts, September 9th, 14th, and 19th. (This happens a lot when your plan ends up getting you a streak of every 5th or 6th game; this year I think I had four consecutive Moyers.)

Now, September 9th I actually showed up rooting for the Red Sox -- as you'll remember, this was that turning point where suddenly people realized that the Sox might actually make it all the way this year. So, of course, Bobby thwarted that. Infact, the friend I went to the game with pointed out that at the rate the Mariners were going, they should have scored 8 runs in the 7th inning for 15 overall, given that they scored 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, and 4 in the 5th.

And of course, Bobby shut out the Red Sox for the 8 innings he pitched. Scott Atchison came in for the 9th inning and let up a home run to Orlando Cabrera, who made faces at his brother Jolbert, who was still around here then. So, dammit, Bobby. You had to shut out the Sox, didn't you?

Guess what happened next? The September 14th game was against the Angels... and uhh... my favorite blue-eyed lefty pitcher Jarrod Washburn. So I wasn't sure who to root for. I figured I could be happy either way -- either the Mariners would win or Jarrod Blue Eyes would win, and it wasn't so bad. And yet again Bobby held the other team scoreless for 8 innings. That day, I began to think that hey, this Bobby guy, he might really have something.

Especially because by then, we'd re-rescued Bocachica from Triple-A.

I also discovered that day that Safeway had discontinued their "8 K's for a Pepsi" promotion (if the Mariners pitchers combined for 8 strikeouts or more, you'd get a voucher for a free 2-liter of Pepsi products at Safeway) because of the poor attendance at games. That sucked. I had a nice scam going where I'd pick up a few Pepsi coupons per game by going to different exit gates asking "Can I trade you for that player? Mine has Freddy on it" and they'd usually just give me another one.

I found myself at the September 19th game with an Oakland-hating, Ichiro-adoring friend. It was a pretty tough time for him, since Ichiro didn't get any hits AND the Oakland A's won. By this time, we were already in "Sisler Watch" mode for Ichiro; I think he was up to 230 hits or so by that game. We went down to the bullpen to watch Bobby warm up, and decided he was just too cool for words. My friend remarked as we were getting to our seats, "Did you see the look on that guy's face? I would NOT want to run into him in a dark alley. He'll cut ya. He'll cut ya GOOD."

That game was also memorable to me because of Hiram Bocachica. I forget who was on second at the time, but someone hit a long fly ball to right field, which was caught and thrown infield to third REALLY hard and fast and accurate, enough so much that the person on second actually decided to stay there instead of running. Everyone in our section was all like "yeah! Rule #51 - Don't go on Ichiro!" etc etc. Infact I wondered why they didn't put that up on the board, until about five minutes later I realized...

"...WAIT. Guys... remember that AWESOME Ichiro throw? That wasn't Ichiro! That was HIRAM BOCACHICA!"

Bocachica was playing right field and Ichiro was DH. It's funny how we're just so used to Ichiro in RF that if we see an amazing catch and throw from there, we just assume it was Ichiro. Hee. We had a good laugh over that one.

Anyway, I only made it to one other Mariners game in 2004 after that -- Fan Appreciation Night, October 1, 2004. And well, we all know what Ichiro did that night, and it had nothing to do with Bobby Madritsch. But, I was sold. This Bobby guy, 6-3, 3.27, his attitude, power, and all his tattoos, was cool.

The 2005 season started. I decided to go to the game on April 6th on a complete whim. It was Bret Boone's birthday and Bobby Madritsch's first start. I was really excited -- and really devastated when I found out why he was taken out of the game.

Sometimes we just decide we like players because of who they are. Bobby Madritsch was one of those guys. He had fire -- the kind that made you want him on your side in a pitching duel -- or in the next world war. You wanted to see him snarl. You wanted to see him smile. He was interesting, and not just because of his Lakota Indian heritage and the tattoos. He had a history, he had overcome a ton to get where he was, both in terms of social status and in terms of things like driving 1500 miles to try out in various semipro baseball leagues.

I don't know if he'll make it back from his injury. Maybe he tried too hard. Maybe the Bowflex was a bad idea. But either way -- hats off to you, Mr. Madritsch, for the entertainment you provided me through the magical month of September 2004.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Importance of Being Mazeroski

In baseball, it's often the last big event or play that people remember the most. The last game, the last run, the last out, the last guy. Everyone remembers Philip Ozersky and McGwire's 70th home run ball, but who remembers Kerry Woodson and the 69th?

So in addition to overdosing on the Japan Series this weekend, I also went to a friend's house to watch both World Series games. I really should get cable one of these years.

Game 1's most memorable moment had to be Ozzie Guillen motioning to the bullpen to bring in Bobby Jenks in the 8th. He spread his arms out wide and then high, indicating "The tall fat guy". Classic.

The 8th inning reminded me of the Twins-WhiteSox game I attended in September, only that time, the game was stacked against the Sox. Johan Santana had attempted to pitch a complete game shutout, but he went into the 9th on 102 pitches and the first three batters ended up loading the bases. So Joe Nathan came in and struck out Everett, Rowand, and Dye, in quick succession, saving the game and preserving the shutout. It was astounding.

Here in Game 1 of the Series, we had Contreras, trying to get another complete game for the "What bullpen?" Sox. But after Taveras's double, it was obvious he wasn't going to last that long.

What bullpen, indeed.

Cotts hadn't pitched in a game in almost two weeks, and when he gave up that single to Berkman, things didn't look so good. But then he pounded back and got Ensberg to strike out. And Lamb too. And then the big fat guy came in and also blew away Bagwell on a fastball. He also got a perfect 9th inning, striking out Lane and Everett. Whooosh.

I really want a "Joe Crede is my boyfriend" shirt, but something tells me Bat-Girl would never make such a thing. It is funny how both of the Serieses are having these amazing third basemen shine, both in the Sox's Crede and in Imae of the Chiba Lotte Marines.

On to game 2. My friend had spent the day overdosing on football. We're both from Philly, so he watched the Eagles game, and for good measure, also watched the Seahawks game. Both of those teams won their games, but with crazy wild comebacks in the last couple minutes of the game. So he told me, before the World Series game, "Don't believe this one's over until it's over, because every other game I've watched today has had a crazy score swing."

He wasn't kidding.

It's funny -- will this game be remembered more for Konerko's grand slam or for Podsednik's walk-off home run? It's hard to say. If I say to you, 1960 Series, Game 7, which name do you remember? Hal Smith (this Hal Smith, Pirates backup catcher, not to be confused with this Hal Smith, Cardinals all-star catcher), or Bill Mazeroski? Right. It's about the same situation. If Clemente hadn't beaten out the the pitcher covering first on his grounder in the bottom of the 8th with two outs, Hal Smith wouldn't have come up to hit that 3-run homer putting the Pirates ahead 9-7. And if Bob Friend and Harvey Haddix had just held onto that 2-run lead, the bottom of the 9th would have never happened, and who knows, would there be a Mazeroski Way down by PNC Park now, and a plaque on the sidewalk on the Pitt campus where the Forbes Field outfield wall used to stand (and now just a section of the right-center wall remains) saying "Here's where Bill Mazeroski hit the dramatic game-winning home run in the 1960 World Series"? Would it say "Here's where Hal Smith hit it" instead?

Anyway, this was only a game 2 last night, not a game 7, so chances are nobody will really remember it. But, with the Sox down 4-2 in the 7th, with two outs and two on, Jermaine Dye was up. And with a 3-2 count, Wheeler pitched him inside, way inside, and he backed out of the way -- and the ball hit his bat a little bit off the handle. That's obvious from the replays. But, much like Pierzynski's strikeout in ALCS game 2, the pitch was a ball. Dye should have walked anyway... if he had been able to get out of the way quickly enough, or had been fortunate enough to get hit on the hands instead of the bat. But, today, the Sox get a call in their favor from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, and it was ruled that Dye was hit by the pitch. Garner came out to argue it, but to no avail.

Set the stage for Konerko and Qualls and BOOM, here's the 18th grand slam in World Series history. 6-4 Sox.

But, well, tonight the tall fat guy isn't invincible, and the unthinkable happens - the Astros manage to tie the score. My friend says, "See? I told you. Night of crazy comebacks. I hope this doesn't go 18 innings."

We go to the bottom of the 9th. Brad Lidge is up pitching for the first time since Pujols At The Bat. Uribe flies out to center. And then Scott Podsednik comes up. The guy didn't hit a single home run all year. Not one. And then he hit one in the ALDS and we had a good laugh over it.

So it's perfectly understandable that when he gets this hit, the entire Sox dugout is just watching it, and you can hear them via the Fox directional antenna: "Oh my god. No way. No. Way. NO freaking WAY... uhh... YESSSSSSSSSS!"

Poor Lidge. Letting up a home run to Pujols is understandable -- it happened 41 times this year, after all -- but letting one up to Podsednik? Ouch.

Anyway, the Sox win it with the fairy-tale improbable ending, for the ninetieth comeback of the day, and I'm sure this game will just get lost in the annals of postseason history, another footnote, another statistic. 18th WS grand slam, 14th WS walk-off homer. And Paul Konerko is a big slugging homering guy, not some journeyman catcher like Hal Smith was.

But for one day, Scott Podsednik can say that he understands the importance of being Mazeroski.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Japan Series Game 2

Chiba 10, Hanshin 0

I slept from 1am-8am today, so I wasn't awake for the game. I decided it didn't matter, as I couldn't WATCH it anyway. Grr. I'm going to translate the game anyway here for my own benefit; gives me an excuse to really read stuff and then I'll also have it for my records.

(I did watch the Astros-White Sox game though. I am in love with Joe Crede. I think I need to do a "Postseason All-Cute Team" post soon.)

Today's game was another blowout by the Marines against the Tigers. The Tigers put up Andoh (11-5, 3.39) against the Marines' Shunsuke Watanabe (15-4, 2.16), who is one of the most awesome pitchers in the NPB, because he's a submariner and I'm biased. But he's been amazing through the postseason, and again pitched a hell of a game last night -- a complete game, 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR... and 111 pitches thrown. God, I love this guy. Some people elsewhere are saying he'll be the MVP if/when the Marines win the series, but I'm personally expecting it to be Imae or Satozaki, and that was even before I saw tonight's scores.

Bobby V played with the lineups a bit for this evening, while Okada kept his the same. Tonight we saw bench-man Heiuchi starting at second, Satozaki DH'ing and Hashimoto catching (god, don't you just love a team that can DH one of its catchers?), Lee over at first base, and Fukuura benched... and Imae batting eighth for whatever reason.

Starting lineups:
 CF Akahoshi      SS Nishioka
SS Toritani 2B Heiuchi
1B Andy Sheets DH Satozaki!
LF Kanemoto CF Saburo
3B Imaoka! LF Matt Franco
RF Hiyama RF Benny Agbayani
DH Kataoka 1B Seung-Yeop Lee
C Yano 3B Imae
2B Fujimoto C Hashimoto

P Andoh P S. Watanabe

It's sort of fun, because again, I get to "watch" the game as I go through translating the scoreboard. Yes, I'm biased in my translations as well. Sue me.

First inning top: Hanshin (0H 0M)
Akahoshi grounds out to second. Toritani strikes out swinging. Sheets grounds out to first.

First inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
A good start. Nishioka doubles to right. Heiuchi sac bunts, advancing Nishioka to third. Satozaki grounds out to short. Saburo grounds to third, but Tigers 3B Imaoka makes a throwing error. Saburo safe at first. Nishioka scores. While Franco is at bat, Saburo steals second. Franco walks. Benny grounds out to shortstop.

Second inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Kanemoto grounds out to short. Imaoka grounds out to third. Hiyama flies out to right.

Second inning bottom: Chiba (0H 2M)
Seung-Yeop Lee walks. Imae singles to right-center, Lee advances to third. Hashimoto grounds into a 6-4-3 double play, but Lee scores. Nishioka flies out to left.

Third inning top: Hanshin (0H 2M)
Kataoka singles to center. Yano singles to left-center, advancing Kataoka to second. Fujimoto pops out foul to first base. Akahoshi grounds into a 6-4 fielder's choice, advancing Kataoka to third; Yano is out at second. Toritani grounds to second, Akahoshi out on the force.

Third inning bottom: Chiba (0H 2M)
Do not go gently into those three outs... Heiuchi flies out to left. Satozaki grounds out to first. Saburo is called out on strikes.

Fourth inning top: Hanshin (0H 2M)
Whee, a quick inning. Andy Sheets grounds out to short. Kanemoto flies out to second. Imaoka strikes out swinging.

Fourth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 2M)
Matt Franco flies out to left. Benny Agbayani flies out to right. Seung-Yeop Lee lines out to second.

Fifth inning top: Hanshin (0H 2M)
Watanabe continues to own the Tigers. Hiyama grounds out to second. Kataoka pops out foul to third base. Yano flies out to left.

Fifth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 2M)
Imae singles to center. In case you're not paying attention, that's 6 straight hits in 6 straight Japan Series at-bats. Hashimoto lines out to short. Nishioka grounds into a 6-4-3 double play, Toritani to Fujimoto to Sheets; Imae out at second.

Sixth inning top: Hanshin (0H 2M)
Fujimoto strikes out swinging. Akahoshi singles to center. While Toritani is at bat, Akahoshi steals second. Toritani then singles to left, advancing Akahoshi to third, but Sheets grounds into a 4-6-3 double play, Heiuchi to Nishioka to Lee. Hee.

Sixth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 7M)
This part rules. Heiuchi starts things off with a whisper, getting called out on strikes. Satozaki singles to left. Saburo hits a 2-run homer into the left field stands! Satozaki scores. As if that wasn't enough, Matt Franco compliments it with a solo home run into the right field stands! Benny hits a double to left field, and it's curtains for Andoh.

Andoh's line for the evening: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 86 pitches. Ouch. Hirotaka Egusa takes over on the mound for the Tigers.

Seung-Yeop Lee likes this new pitcher, blasting his second pitch into the right field stands for a 2-run homer. Benny scores. Man. Imae singles to center -- that's 7 straight Japan Series hits. Hashimoto strikes out called, and Nishioka flies out to left. Wheeeee.

Seventh inning top: Hanshin (0H 7M)
More ownage by Watanabe. Kanemoto grounds out to second. Imaoka strikes out swinging. Hiyama grounds out to second.

Seventh inning bottom: Chiba (0H 7M)
No fog today. Hatsushiba pinch-hits for Heiuchi, grounding out to third. Satozaki grounds out to short. Saburo grounds out to third.

Eighth inning top: Hanshin (0H 7M)
Masato Watanabe comes in to play 2B for Lotte, batting second and replacing Hatsushiba. Wei-Tzu Lin pinch-hits for DH Kataoka, popping out foul to third. Yano grounds out to short. Sekimoto pinch-hits for Fujimoto, popping out foul to first.

Eighth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 10M)
Sekimoto stays in at second base for the Tigers. It doesn't help. Ohtsuka pinch-hits for Franco, singling to left. Benny Agbayani is up to bat next, but pitcher Egusa seems to have lost his control at this point -- Ohtsuka reaches second on a wild pitch, and then reaches third on another wild pitch! As if this wasn't bad enough, ball four on Benny is another wild pitch. Benny reaches second base, Ohtsuka scores. Holy crap. Morozumi comes in to pinch-run for Benny. Seung-Yeop Lee grounds out to first. Imae singles to right, scoring Morozumi! That makes him 8-for-8 in the Japan Series! Hashimoto hits the ball back to the fence in right-center field for a triple, and Imae scores. Nishioka flies out to shortstop. Masato Watanabe grounds out to shortstop.

Ninth inning top: Hanshin (0H 10M)
Ohtsuka stays in as center fielder for the Marines; Morozumi stays in as left fielder, and Saburo moves from center to right field. It doesn't really matter, as Akahoshi grounds out to first, Toritani grounds out to first, and Sheets flies out to right.

And that's game.

Hirotaka "Control? What's that?" Egusa's line for the night:
2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, and 43 pitches thrown.

Shunsuke "Sub Marine" Watanabe's line, again:
9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 111 pitches thrown.

Gosh, they made Watanabe and Imae the game MVP's. I wonder why? :)

Holy crap, actually, it turns out that Imae's 8-for-8 hitting streak set a new Japan Series record. Cool.

Digest movie up here! I highly recommend watching it. Watanabe is a joy to watch pitching.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Japan Series Game 1

Chiba 10, Hanshin 1

It's 2am, my friends just went home from an evening of playing cards, and I should go to sleep, except... the Japan Series is about to begin! The Tigers put up lefty ace Kei Igawa to start their first game, and the Marines counter with Naoyuki Shimizu, who was sort of weak during the season, but was strong during the playoffs with the Hawks. The Marines' lineup in general looks the same as it has all through the playoffs, except today Seung-Yeop Lee is playing and Koichi Hori is sitting. (I don't really get this move, as Lee is a lefty slugger and Hori hits righty, and the Tigers' pitcher Igawa is a lefty.) The Tigers... my gosh, this looks almost like the exact same lineup of guys who played in the 2003 Japan Series, except Imaoka shifted to third, Fujimoto took over at second, and newbie Toritani is playing short. Oh, and Andy Sheets is the gaijin at first base instead of George Arias. Man, this team is getting old.

Here's the starting lineups:
 CF Akahoshi      SS Nishioka
SS Toritani 3B Imae
1B Andy Sheets 1B Fukuuuuuura!
LF Kanemoto CF Saburo
3B Imaoka! C Satozaki!
RF Hiyama LF Matt Franco
DH Kataoka RF Benny Agbayani
C Yano DH Seung-Yeop Lee
2B Fujimoto 2B M. Watanabe

P Igawa P Shimizu

Anyway, because I can't actually WATCH the Japan Series aside from frantically reloading the scoreboard web page like David J Corcoran on speed, I'm going to sit here and translate the game while I frequently reload the page. I was going to work on a Bobby Madritsch post but that might have to wait until tomorrow. (Holy crap! 2nd batter up for Chiba, Imae, already hit a solo home run. 1-0 Marines. Woooo!) I feel sort of guilty since two years ago I was rooting for Hanshin in the series -- I even have an Imaoka jersey! But now I just really want Lotte to pull through. They deserve it after being the bottom of the heap for so long.

If anyone else is up and actually knows a net feed where I can WATCH the damn thing, please comment and let me know :)

First inning top: Hanshin (0H 0M)
Akahoshi walks. Toritani strikes out swinging. Andy Sheets gets a hit to left, Akahoshi advances to second. Kanemoto grounds to short for a double play.

First inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Nishioka strikes out swinging. Imae hits a solo home run to left. Fukuura hits a double to left. Saburo grounds out to third. Satozaki strikes out swinging.

Second inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Imaoka flies out to left. Hiyama flies out to left. Kataoka strikes out swinging.

Second inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Franco grounds out to first. Benny hits the ball hard back to the pitcher, infield single to first. Lee strikes out swinging. Watanabe hits into a 5-4 fielder's choice.

Third inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Yano singles to short left field. Fujimoto grounds into a 3-4 fielder's choice. Akahoshi grounds out to first, Fujimoto advances to second. Toritani grounds out to first.

Third inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Nishioka walks. While Imae is at bat, Nishioka is caught trying to steal second. Imae then manages to beat out a bunt single to the pitcher. Fukuura strikes out called. Saburo strikes out swinging.

Fourth inning top: Hanshin (0H 1M)
Gosh, this game is going fast. It started at 2:15am and it's 3:15am now.
Andy Sheets flies out to center. Kanemoto grounds out to second. Imaoka strikes out called.

Fourth inning bottom: Chiba (0H 1M)
Satozaki strikes out swinging. Franco grounds out to third. Benny singles to short left field. Seung-Yeop Lee strikes out again GODDAMNIT.

Fifth inning top: Hanshin (1H 1M)
Oh shit. Hiyama singles to center. Kataoka strikes out swinging. Yano singles to right, Hiyama advances to third. Fujimoto hits a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Hiyama. Akahoshi grounds out to second.

Fifth inning bottom: Chiba (1H 4M)
Masato Watanabe singles to left. Nishioka bunts, advancing Watanabe to second, and getting safely to first himself. Imae doubles! He hits the ball hard back to the right field wall, driving in Watanabe; Nishioka advances to third. Fukuura grounds out to short. Saburo doubles to left, driving in Nishioka and Imae! Satozaki flies out to right, Saburo touching up at second and advancing to third. Franco strikes out swinging.

Sixth inning top: Hanshin (1H 4M)
Toritani grounds out to first. Andy Sheets hits a double into the gap in left center field. Kanemoto grounds out to third, advancing Sheets. Imaoka flies out to center.

Sixth inning bottom: Chiba (1H 5M)
Benny flies out to shortstop. Seung-Yeop Lee homers to right! (Woohoo, I was going to be pissed if he struck out again.) Watanabe strikes out swinging. Nishioka flies out to left.

Seventh inning top: Hanshin (1H 5M)
Hiyama strikes out swinging. Kataoka strikes out swinging. Yano flies out to right. Beautiful.

Seventh inning bottom: Chiba (1H 10M)
Kei Igawa leaves the game and Kentaro Hashimoto replaces him. Igawa's line: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 HR. 106 pitches thrown.

Imae singles to right. Fukuura singles to center, advancing Imae to second. Saburo hits a long fly ball to right; Imae advances to third after tagging up. Satozaki, hero of PL Second Stage Game 5, hits a 3-run homer to left! Imae, Fukuura, and Satozaki score. Franco singles to right-center. Otsuka pinch-runs for Franco. And then holy fucking shit, Benny hits a 2-run home run into the left field stands, scoring himself and Otsuka.

At 8:31 Japanese time (4:31am here) they decide to delay the game due to heavy fog. I wonder whether that was the reason the Marines managed to hit up Hashimoto like that.

Okay, it's 5am now, so I'm heading to sleep. I'll translate the rest in the morning. God, I love baseball.

Morning edit: The game was called at that point so there was no rest of the game. It's not like the Tigers expected to come back from a 10-1 deficit anyway, I guess.

Shimizu's line: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 87 pitches thrown. Not bad.

Pictures off Yahoo (links won't work after a few days):
Umpires saying "OMGWTFFOG!"
Imae's first inning home run
Igawa's mood after Saburo's double in the 5th

Real Audio digest of the game. You can see how foggy it gets in the 7th. Crazy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pat Borders, I choose you!

A week ago, PositivePaul pointed out that there were lots of interesting people up for Sponsorship on

So I claimed Uncle Rico! Yay! I suppose I might be the only person in the last ten years to seriously be part of the Pat Borders Fan Club, but still. If you don't like Pat Borders, you don't like baseball.

I also claimed two other guys on the 2005 Mariners, but not under my own name -- actually, not even exactly under their names either :) I guess I should check to make sure nobody's going to kill me for claiming Snelling for The Cult of Doyle and Torrealba for The Cult of JoeJessica...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Postseason, Ernest Lawrence Thayer Style

A poetic parody by Deanna Rubin.

(The original poem - Casey At The Bat)
(The inspiration for this - Jayson Stark)
(The game - 10/17, Cards 5, Astros 4)

Pujols At The Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Cardinal nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Luna struck out hard, and Mabry did the same,
A crazy cheering started from the patrons of the game.

The Astros needed just one out to be the NL champs;
The stadium erupted more in waves of claps and stamps.
LaRussa knew if Pujols could but get a whack at that--
They still might have a chance to score with Pujols at the bat.

But X preceded Pujols, and Jim Edmonds did as well;
And the former was a midget and the latter was a kvell.
So upon that rooting multitude high confidences sat
For there seemed but little chance of Pujols getting up to bat.

But Eckstein hit a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Edmonds, with great patience, didn't swing at the fourth ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the perfect save had burst,
There was Eckstein poised at second as Jim Edmonds walked to first.

Then forty thousand throats and more had sudd'nly ceased to cheer;
The silence filled the outfield, it smothered fans with fear;
It hushed upon the dugouts and recoiled upon the flat,
For Pujols, Albert Pujols, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Albert's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Albert's bearing, but no smile upon his face.
And as he stepped into the box, eyes narrowed like a cat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Pujols at the bat.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Pujols stood a-watching it for a split second there.
He swung wild at the slider, but his form had briefly fled,
"That pitch was tough," thought Pujols. "Strike one," the umpire said.

"YES!" cried the maddened thousands, and it echoed out abroad;
But one stoic look from Pujols and the audience was awed.
They saw him start to concentrate, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Pujols wouldn't let that ball go by again.

He tenses up his upper arms, he starts to shift his weight;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now Brad Lidge winds up the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by a Pujols crushing blow.

The ball rose up into the air, it seemed 'twould never land;
And all the crowd was silent as it flew over the stand.
The players ran the bases, the ball soared in its arc
It hit the glassy outer wall, high up above the park.

Oh, somewhere in this southern state the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere fans are cheering, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Houston - Mighty Pujols slammed one out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Postseason, Los Angeles Anaheim Angels Apostle Style

Scot Shields walked into the clubhouse and sat down at his locker, getting ready to clean it out for the final time of the year. Most of the team was around, chatting about plans in the offseason, complaining about aches, pains, umpires, or whatnot. Sitting at a table behind him was Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, and Steve Finley, speaking in hushed, conspiratorial voices.

He could occasionally hear various phrases coming from their table, and they weren't making much sense, so finally his curiosity got the best of him and he walked over and sat down.

"You guys gonna let me know what the hell you're talking about?" he asked.

"Shh, man!" said Garret.

"Funny you should put it that way," said Erstad quietly.

"What way?" Shields replied in a low tone.

"The 'hell'." Erstad looked really serious. "Scotty, we think we figured out how the White Sox managed to beat us. It's some seriously scary shit."

"Uh, okay," started Shields, a skeptical look on his face.

Finley grimaced. "No, really, we have. See, we're the Angels, right? And what's the only thing that can even begin to come close to defeating an Angel?"

Shields stared. "The Blue Jays? We went 1-5 against them this year..."

Erstad blinked. "No, dude, think more evil."

"Um, how about the Devil Rays? We were 4-5 against them..."

Finley had a strange, distant half-smile on his face. "The 'Devil' Rays... He's getting closer, guys. Think biblical, Scot. Think, like, the heavens and hellfire and..."

Shields groaned. "Oh, don't tell me you think the White Sox beat us because they've become a bunch of demons or something."

Garret shrugged. "It's written all over the place, man. First, did you see the commercials they did this year? They even have one where Aaron Rowand dies slamming into the outfield wall and Satan immediately appears to claim his soul. It's actually *in* their contracts."

"Guys, that's a dude in a devil costume."

Finley interjected. "Okay, wait, but how else do you explain how A.J.Pierzynski getting all those calls from the umps? That was really obviously the work of a greater evil force out there. I mean, once, the 'third strike in the dirt', maybe that's a fluke. Twice, that catcher's interference on me... that's a little weirder. But *three times* he was in the midst of controversial calls and came out shining like a little--"

"Don't say it."

"All right. But, really... most of those players sold their souls to the devil a long time ago. It's the only explanation. I know you spend most of your time way out in the bullpen, but have you taken a good look at Mark Buehrle lately?"

Shields started to stand up. "You people are nuts."

Garret held out a piece of paper. "And look at this."


"You know how Satanists always have ways of writing secret messages in text, by rearranging the letters and all? Well, we noticed some mighty odd things about that team."

Shields looked at the paper, and saw several White Sox names rearranged.





"Not bad," said Shields. "But you know, that game goes both ways."

Garret looked confused. "Huh?"

"Well, for example, if you rearrange 'Darin Erstad'..." started Shields, as he scribbled on the paper. "You can get some pretty descriptive things too, eh?" He handed the paper to Erstad. "I'll see the three of you next year. Don't fall into any fiery pits of Hell between now and Spring Training, 'kay?" He walked off.

Erstad read the paper and turned redder than a pair of Thunderstix.

Finley glanced at it and didn't seem to know whether to laugh or cry. "The three of us. 'A NERDS TRIAD', huh?"

"Shut up," said Erstad.

Monday, October 17, 2005

CHI wins!

Whether you are CHI-cago, in the World Series for the first time since 1959, or CHI-ba, in the Japan Series for the first time since 1974, last night was pretty sweet, huh?

More later. For now:

Marines 3, Hawks 2

White Sox 6, Angels 3

It was a good night all around.

And yes, I was awake to see Satozaki's 2-RBI double in the 8th, though I wasn't conscious for the whole game.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chiba Chokes, Softbank Surges

This is extremely uncool. (EDIT: At the time, the link went to the playoff recaps, which showed Lotte winning their first two and losing their second two against the Hawks. Now, it is once again cool.)

So, I watched the first hour or two of the third game of Second Stage, and it seemed to be going well. They were up 2-0 in the 4th or 5th inning when I went to sleep. Submariner Shunsuke Watanabe was pitching a hell of a game (and continued to - he came out with a line of 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Fukuura batted in two more runs on a double to make it 4-0 in the 8th.

We're three outs away from having the Marines sweep the PL Playoffs, and Masahide Kobayashi, the awesome closer, comes in. Should be in the bag, right? Wrong. First, Jolbert Cabrera gets a single. Tony Batista pinch-hits, flying out to second. Noriyoshi Ohmichi comes up and hits the ball back to Kobayashi, who apparently made a throwing error allowing Ohmichi to reach safely, and Cabrera goes to third. Ohmura hits a single, scoring Cabrera. (4-1) Kawasaki, who's been hitting well this series, gets a single, loading the bases. Arakane hits a single, scoring Ohmichi and Ohmura. (4-3) Katsuhiko Miyaji grounds out to first, advancing Kawasaki and Arakane. Two outs, first base is open, and slugger Matsunaka is up, so Bobby Valentine decides to have Kobayashi intentionally walk him and pitch to Zuleta with the bases loaded. Unfortunately, that doesn't work out so well, Kobayashi chokes and can't throw a strike, and Zuleta walks in the tying run. (4-4). Jolbert Cabrera, who led off the whole mess, grounds out to end the inning.

It was totally like the Astros-Braves game all over again. Marines can't score in the top of the 10th, and the Hawks chain together a series of hits in the bottom of the 10th, Kawasaki driving in the winning run. 5-4 Hawks.

Then, I actually figured out a nap schedule to watch the fourth game, but ended up waking up at around 5am, just in time to look up and see yet another Hawks win, 3-2. This time, Lotte had the other Kobayashi, Hiroyuki, starting for them. He pitched the whole game, going 8 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, but... 2 HR, both to Julio Zuleta. Ack. And the second one was only a 2-run homer because he'd walked Nobuhiko Matsunaka. Tsuyoshi Wada, the rookie phenom of two years ago, started the game for the Hawks, but only lasted four innings, so the win went to Shintaro Yoshitake.

Sigh. The next game is "tonight" in Japan, meaning another 2am here, and I doubt I'll get to watch this one either. I hope the Marines win, I really do.

I'm going to a friend's house later today to watch a few Tivo'ed ALCS/NLCS games. Maybe those'll cheer me up. I saw part of the CWS-ANA game on TV on Friday night while I was out, and Jon Garland pitched a heck of a game. It shouldn't be, but it is, pretty impressive that the Sox have had three consecutive complete game wins pitched - by Buehrle, Garland, and Garcia. Just think, a hundred years ago in the 1905 World Series, Christy Mathewson by himself pitched three complete game wins. In the same week (October 9, 12, and 14). And they were all SHUTOUTS. Infact, in the entire 1905 World Series, the only time either team went to the bullpen was when Red Ames pitched the last inning of Game 2 for the Giants. It's amazing how the game has changed...

Oh, yesterday I spent some time sorting my 2005 Topps baseball cards. This year I decided I wasn't getting a single pack of cards, just was going to hold out until I found the factory set. Well, had the factory set for $50, so I decided to go ahead and get them. It's always really amusing to go through an entire year's set of cards and see what's happened, but for some reason this year amused me moreso than others, for several reasons:

- The Mariners "top prospects" card features Justin Leone and King Felix
- Our "Draft Pick" cards are of Bobby Livingston, Wladimir Balentien, and Matt Rogelstad
- Our manager card is Bob Melvin
- All the series 1 cards have the Expos on them, and the series 2 cards have the Nationals, but it's the same team
- Adrian Beltre has a Dodgers card. Richie Sexson has a Mariners card.
- ...Jason Kendall has a Pirates card. A.J. Pierzynski has a Giants card. Podsednik has a Brewers card.
- They list "Boomer Wells" and "Flash Gordon" as the players' names, with no indication as to their real names.
- Lew Ford's card back info is all like "Lew is the Twins' resident nerd. He got a 1400 on his SAT's and graduated with a degree in computer science and engineering before becoming a pro baseball player." See, kids? School is cool!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pacific League Playoffs - Go Marines!

Well, I said in my postseason predictions a week or two ago that the Chiba Lotte Marines were going to topple the Fukuoka Daiei Softbank Hawks and go on to beat the Hanshin Tigers in the Japan Series. I wasn't kidding, and so far, they're one game away from the first part.

Last night, I couldn't fall asleep, so I watched the second game of the PL Second Stage playoffs over the net, and it was really awesome. For five innings, the Hawks' Saitoh and the Marines' Shimizu were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel. It even felt sort of like a real duel, in some ways - in the first inning or two, a few people got a few nicks in, one or two scattered hits - and after that, they were more guarded. Shimizu struck out two in the bottom of the 3rd, so Saitoh struck out two in the top of the fourth. Shimizu got Tony Batista to ground into a double play and struck out Nobuhiko Matsunaka in the bottom of the fourth, so Saitoh struck out Seung-Yeop Lee and got Hashimoto to ground into a double play in the top of the fifth. And so on.

Well, not quite. Bottom of the 5th, ex-Mariner Jolbert Cabrera comes to bat, and whoooooooosh, he hits the first pitch into the left-field stands. 1-0 Hawks. Sort of surprising, actually... Matsunaka and Zuleta were the top two home run hitters in the entire Pacific League this year (with 46 and 43 respectively), and Jolbert Cabrera, um... well, he hit 8 all year. Yeah. But, so far he's hit two in the postseason - one in each of the games the Hawks have played so far. Yeesh. You'd think he was Podsednik or Burke or someone. And, oddly, nobody ELSE on the Hawks has hit a home run yet except for Kawasaki, the guy they have playing shortstop (Cabrera's been in the outfield).

Fortunately, in the 6th, the Marines came through with a brief rally, as the normally -invincible Saitoh got into a bit of trouble. Nishioka led off with a double, then Hori walked. Fukuura flied out to left, not far enough to sacrifice. Saburo laid off a bunch of bad pitches and also found himself walked. Bases loaded. Matt Franco comes up, and BAM, he hits the ball way back to the wall in left center. Nishioka scores. Hori scores. Saburo's on third. Next up is Benny Agbayani, who grounds out to third, scoring Saburo. Wheeee, 3-1 Marines. Seung-Yeop Lee strikes out again after that, ending the inning, but still.

I went to sleep at this point, figuring the Marines were pretty likely to hold onto the lead. (They did; Kawasaki's aforementioned homer brought it only to 3-2.) The Marines' closer Masahide Kobayashi led the Pacific League in saves this year, and has notched four straight in the postseason as well.

I really wish I could stay up all night tomorrow to see the next game -- it would be really amazing if the Marines managed to sweep both stages of the PL playoffs. If you happen to be bored and are up at 2am PDT Friday night / Saturday morning, you can watch the games over Yahoo! Japan from here - just look for a little TV icon, which will be there next to the game lineups if a game is currently being broadcast. Sadly, there's no game tonight. I also wonder... hmm. The Hawks and Lions are the only teams I know of that have been broadcasting their games on the net for free all year, so it's fortunate they were both in the PL playoffs. But when the Marines actually do make it to the Japan series, chances are I won't be able to watch, unless Yahoo decides to broadcast them anyway.

Something you have to understand is the way the Pacific League playoffs work, since they're a little wonky. There are only 6 teams in the league, and it's thought of as being the "lesser" league in Japan (probably because it doesn't have the Tigers or Giants, although the PL uses the DH, and the CL does not). So last year, they changed the postseason so that the entire top half of the league ends up in the playoffs. The first part is called "First Stage", where the 2nd and 3rd place teams play against each other, in a best-of-three series. Then whoever wins two games in that series goes on to play the first place team in "Second Stage", a best-of-five series. Whoever wins three games in that series goes on to the Japan Series and plays the Central League champion, who usually doesn't have to go through playoffs unless something bizarre happens.

Now, here's the best part. In the PL playoffs, the team with the better record has the home field advantage in every game in the series. So, this year, since the Hawks were first place, the Marines were second place (back 4.5 games), and (behind CLM by 18.5 games) Seibu was third. So the Marines beat Seibu in two straight games at Chiba Stadium. Now, the Marines are playing the Hawks at the Yahoo Dome in Fukuoka, and so far have won the first two games. They will not have home-field advantage in any of their games, and they're about to sweep. This is great.

So stay tuned. And かっとばせマリーンズ!

EDIT @ 2am 10/15: Shunsuke Watanabe is starting for Chiba in this game! He's an awesome submarine pitcher. You should watch if you're up and reading this! I'm going to sleep soon.

Your mom's an umpire

Mary Smith sat in her living room, enjoying a nice sunny October weekend afternoon in Chicago, lounging around on the couch, reading a magazine. Her 7-year-old son John was playing with some toys; a race track set with many trucks and cars.

"Vroom! Vroom, vroom!" he shouted, as he rolled one of the cars along. It slid across the floor, out of his control, and hit his mother's foot.

"Oh, John, be more careful," she said, standing up and returning the car to him.

A few more minutes passed, with him excitedly cheering, "Vroom!" and sliding the cars along. Another one escaped him, again hitting Mary's foot. "Dear, if you're not going to control these, I'm going to have to send you to your room," she admonished him.

"Okay, Mom," he said, as he excitedly ran the cars around the racetrack again.

Mary went back to her reading, only to be interrupted a few minutes later by a third car hitting her foot.

"That's it!" she cried, walking over to John and his toys. She looked at him sternly, stuck her arm out, and pointed down the hallway.

John pouted and stood up. He dejectedly took two steps towards his room. Then, he suddenly looked at his mother, who had turned to go back to the couch, and he thought better of the situation. He ran across the living room, and down the stairs to the basement, where he jumped up on the couch and sat next to his father, who was watching the Angels - White Sox game on TV.

Mary angrily stormed down the stairs. "Didn't I send you to your room, boy?" she said.

"Well, Mom, I saw you point down the hall, but I never heard you actually *say* 'Go to your room'. So I figured it was safe for me to run down here."

"Where on earth did you get that idea from?" she said.

"We saw a guy do it in the baseball game the other day, didn't we, Dad?"

His father nodded and grinned. "We sure did. Wasn't it great?"

Mary threw her arms up in the air. "I give up. He's *your* son."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

16-Game Plan Won-Loss Record Followup

Sorry, no funny stuff today. I managed to watch the second half of tonight's ALCS game, since it was actually on non-cable TV around here. That ninth inning was crazy. I have no idea how they managed to get away with it, but they did. If you didn't see it, here's a recap. The irony, of course, is that it was a lousy pitch on a full count, and if Pierzynski had just laid off it like a good boy, he would have walked anyway. They put in Ozuna to pinch-run, and the minute I saw him steal second, I somehow knew Crede was going to drive him in, and that this would go down in history in the annals of controversial postseason umpiring disputes. On the other hand, since my predictions said that the Sox are supposed to take the ALCS, I suppose I'm happy they won tonight, because heading into Anaheim two games down would be pretty tough. I'm also glad the game didn't go into extra innings - I was already late for my 8pm plans because I just had to see how the damn thing ended!

(edit: Jim Caple has a pretty funny take on it all)

Anyway, as I sum up the season, I figured one thing I should do is a follow up to this post I made in late August, when I wrote a Perl script to figure out the win-loss percentages of each 16-game season ticket plan. The Mariners went 9-10 in their home games since then. They were actually 39-42 at home this year, for a percentage of .481, as opposed to their overall .426 resulting from an abysmal 30-51 road record. I ran the script again now that the season's over, and here's the overall breakdown:

Plan A : Won 7 out of 16 (43.75 percent)
Plan B : Won 5 out of 16 (31.25 percent)
Plan C : Won 10 out of 16 (62.5 percent)
Plan D : Won 8 out of 16 (50 percent)
Plan E : Won 8 out of 16 (50 percent)
Plan F : Won 8 out of 16 (50 percent)
Plan G : Won 5 out of 16 (31.25 percent)

So, yeah. The initial speculation that led me to write this in the first place (namely, friends with plan B complaining that the Mariners never, ever won games when they went, as opposed to me saying my plan E games were not so bad) actually came true for the whole season - plan B tied with plan G for the absolute least amount of Mariners winning. Heck, the win-loss percentage for those plans was worse than that of the Kansas City Royals, with their overall .346. Ouch. The whole summary can be found here.

I wonder if the sales office keeps track of things like this. I can just imagine them over the winter, saying "All these plan C people renewed their season tickets, but everyone else cancelled. GOSH."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Postseason, Dr. Seuss style

Dear Random House,

I think that you should produce a children's book about the baseball postseason. Since I know it would take a very long time to write an entire book from scratch, I have helpfully assembled some proposed changes to your book, Fox in Socks, which would make it more topical for this October.

Yours truly,
Deanna the Marinerd





Sox on Fox.

Knocks in Box.

Foxy Sox hit knocks in box. Knocks in box put Sox on Fox.

Brats with hats come.
Brats with bats come.
Brats with hats and bats and stats come.

Look sir, look sir, Mister Vlad, sir,
Won't you sign my ball and bat, sir?
Won't you sign my glove and hat, sir?
Why're you being such a prat, sir?

Byrd throws curve balls.
Byrd throws dirt balls.
Byrd throws third balls.
Ump's absurd calls.
Byrd's earned runs falls.

Scot Shields fields wheels.
Scot Shields yields steals.
Scot Shields wields schpiels.

Here's an easy game to play!
Here's an easy thing to say:

If Podsednik is a redneck who should be in Triple A
And Pierzynski's got a hist'ry disregarding rules of play
And Ozuna's like a tuna who is flopping in the air
And Konerko is a jerko who's got really stupid hair

But ol' Finley's rather thinly getting to the warning track
And Cabrera's got his share a' throwing over Erstad's back
And that Garrett's like a parrot as he's flapping off his beak
And Molina's a hyena as he tags you in the cheek,

We're not rooting for Chicago! But we hate the Angels too!
When you're faced with lousy choices, what's a baseball fan to do?
Let's ignore the whole caboodle, let's go out and have a beer,
And just hope and pray the Mariners can win it all next year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Postseason, Bronx Bomb Shelter Style

It was a dull Tuesday afternoon in the locker room of Yankees Stadium, the day after a grueling loss in game 5 of the ALDS. Various players were milling about, cleaning out their lockers. Some were still trying to get in some workout time in the weight room, and a few sat around chatting idly. Derek Jeter was sitting by his locker, staring at a piece of paper in his hand.

Mike Mussina walked up to him. "Answering some last-minute fan mail?"

Jeter looked up, as if in a daze. "No... I wouldn't call this fan mail, exactly. Here, read it, Moose."

Mussina picked up the letter and read it to himself. His eyes first lit up with bemusement, then briefly flared with anger, and then fell into a dull stare.
Dear DJ,

Since we're kinda in the same boat here, man, I figured I'd drop ya a note with my condolences. Look on the bright side... I can tell you there's a lot more that goes with being the leadoff man on a winning World Series team these days. For example, you know that those Queer Eye guys want to do another show for whoever wins this year? So they can raise money for the Little Leaguers down in Louisiana? You may think it's humiliating getting beaten by the Angels, but trust me when I tell you there's nothing more humiliating than getting groped by that Carson Kressley guy on national TV. Did you see those crazy-ass pinstripes he put Mirabelli in last year? Hoooooooly shit, man, you should consider yourself lucky.

By the way, Manny says hi too. He says you guys can be friends now that you both hit lots of homers in the postseason and still lost. He had a message for Alex too, but he kept dissolving into giggles before he could get it out. I think it was something like "MVP my .133-batting ass, Slappy!" At least, that's how Bronson Arroyo translated it.

I'll see ya out on the warpath again next year, bro. Keep it real.

Love, JD

P.S - My hairstylist says to tell Alex that she doesn't care what anyone says, he's still a hottie.
"So this is it, huh," Mussina said. "We're getting sympathy from Johnny Damon and the Red Sox."

"I dunno," replied Jeter. "He's got a point."

"What, that we're all a bunch of overpaid losers now?"

"No, I mean, did you see that episode of Queer Eye? We really did luck out, man. Do you really want to get your back waxed on national TV?"

They both paused for a minute, looked at each other, and flinched at the thought.

"I hope it's not the White Sox, then," mused Mussina.

"Why's that? 'Cause they beat the Red Sox?"

"No." He grimaced. "What's one of the few things that should hopefully never, ever, ever be seen on television ever again?"

Jeter thought for a minute. "Randy Johnson's face?"

Mussina shook his head. "Worse. Two words." He shuddered, as if it pained him to say it.

Jeter gave him a blank stare. "I give up."

"Duque Dance!"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Postseason, Atlanta Rookie Style

After a long day at work, outfielder Jeff Francoeur couldn't be more glad to get home. He pushed open the door to his apartment, threw his suitcase down on the ground, and fell onto the couch, exhausted after the 18-inning NLDS-ending loss to the Astros. His roomate, catcher Brian McCann, followed suit, except he was stuck with the armchair, flinging his legs over the side.

They sat in silence for a minute, then Brian said, "Hey, you're the one who struck out to end the top of the eighteenth, why do *you* get the couch?"

Jeff said, "Look, dude, I didn't call that fastball down the middle that Chris Burke slammed into the left-field stands, okay?"

Brian thought about that one for a minute. "Neither did I." He paused. "But I hit that really neat home run off Clemens in game 2. That was COOL."

Jeff nodded. "Ooooh, good point." He stood up and went over to the fridge, digging for a nice cold bottle of Yoo-Hoo. "You want a drink, Bri?"

"Nah... I think I'm going to sit here and play some video games."

"Oh. Whatcha putting in?"

Brian started up the Playstation 2, grabbed a controller, threw another one onto the armchair, and sat on the couch. "MLB 2005. I get Clemens, you get Smoltz. Let's rumble."

"Oh, fuck, man, why don't *I* ever get to be Clemens?"

"Who hit the home run off him? Hello?"

Jeff stuck out his tongue. "Who's gonna be NL Rookie of the Year this year?"

"Ryan Howard?" Brian smirked.

"Screw this. I'm going to sleep. Wake me up in March."