Friday, June 03, 2005

Red Sox 7; Angels 4

Not much to say about this one. Actually, I only saw the bad parts. Donnelly has simply been awful of late, and he hasn't been tremendous all season. Shields looks a little overworked. The Red Sox have excellent plate discipline, and the fact of the matter is, if they aren't getting calls, they're going to get scored upon, because they're gonna be walking guys. That's what happened tonight.

I can only assume Escobar pitched well. I did see a hilight of a Johnny Damon line-out with the bases juiced, so apparently he was in trouble in at least one inning. I also saw a highlight of a Figgins homer. May have been his first as a righty this season, but I don't have time to check.

That's right, I'm shirking my responsibility to you, the reader. I hate to do it, especially after a couple of the largest traffic days in this blog's history (thanks to Matt and Scotto), but circumstances warranted that I miss much of the game. A friend of mine was in Indianapolis for the weekend, so me and a couple of guys drove the two hours down to West Lafayette to join him for 36 at Coyote Crossing. Great golf course. I won't bore you with the details, but I struck the ball very well, and could not putt for crap. 81 on the first round from the tips (6,800 yards) after bogeying 17 and doubling 18. The less said about the second round, the better. Suffice to say, I had about 30 putts on the front nine. Can't complain, though, as I took home the most cash. 22 greens in reg over the course of the two rounds (trust me, that's not bad), which tells me I need to hit the putting green. Anyway, we didn't get back until fairly late, and the traffic to my apartment from the West Loop was horrendous thanks to the Q101 festival (which I attended a couple of years ago when the Flaming Lips and Violent Femmes were playing).

Alright, I lied. Apparently I will bore you with the details.

Tomorrow's game I'll actually see, because it's a day game. Also, I'll be in LA. I leave tomorrow morning at about 6:20 am Chicago time, so I'll be in my parents' den in time for the first pitch. Why will I be in LA, you ask? I'll be playing golf on Sunday with LA Times sports columnist T.J. Simers. If you read his columns, and chances are you don't, you'll know what I'm talking about. Assuming you don't, you can check his column from a couple of weeks ago and draw your own conclusion. I make no apologies for my behavior, but keep in mind, it's also my parents' 40th wedding anniversary, so it was a good excuse to go home. And my mother put me up to it. Of course, that means that I'll probably miss Sunday's game, so you probably won't be treated to a recap. You may, however be treated to a recap of my round with T.J. I can tell how excited you are.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Christ! How did I miss this?!

Pitchfork is reporting that the Stone Roses are thismuch closer to reforming. This is huge. You may not realize it now, but someday, you will understand just how big this is. The band responsible for producing the finest album in the history of recorded music (and a disappointing follow up) may get back together. According the news item, Ian Brown, Mani, and Reni were reported taking in a show together. But that's not the big news. Mani and Reni are neutral players in this. Even the Ian Brown aspect isn't surprising, as he has been dropping Roses songs into his solo sets. The big news is this:
a most surprising admission has come from guitarist John Squire, who recently told Time Out that "the plan is to make a ferocious guitar record on my own. And then to put the Roses back together."
Now, anyone who has listened to "I am the Resurrection", most of the stuff from Second Coming, and "Love is the Law" from the Seahorses album knows that guitar Jesus, John Squire, is emminently qualified to write a ferocious guitar record. His last effort wasn't too bad, but it's pretty clear he's not a singer (although he is a pretty bitchin' artist). But the fact that he envisions a Roses reunion sometime down the line is nothing short of remarkable. I don't want to copy the whole story, but suffice to say these comments:
Squire referred to ex-frontman Ian Brown as a "tuneless knob" and a "paranoid mess."
aren't exactly shocking given the amount of bridge that been burned over the last ten years.

I'm not gonna lie. I'd shell out about $500 to see a reunion show. It would be that big of a deal for me. I have never heard an album that comes anywhere close to being as completely fucking mindblowingly good as the first Roses album. There's not a bad note on the entire disc. And it's not just that album. It's the whole creative period. You could put together two albums from the B-sides and other non-album tracks from their late '80/early '90s period and they would both end up in my personal top ten. If I considered Turns Into Stone and the Complete Stone Roses proper albums, they would be two of the ten best I've ever heard (to be fair, I don't consider Hatful of Hollow, Louder Than Bombs, or Outspaced proper albums either). To produce material like "Sally Cinammon", "Here it Comes", "Going Down", "Where Angels Play", "Standing Here", and of course, "Mersey Paradise", which is as good as any of their best album tracks, is simply incredible. And of course, they've created the greatest song ever written about ten car pile-up.

I'm standing warm against the cold
Now that the flames have taken hold
At least you left your life in style

And for as far I can see
Ten twisted grills grin back at me
Bad money dies I love the scene

Sometimes I fantasise
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars they burn below me
Don't these times fill your eyes
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars they burn below me
Are you all alone
Is anybody home?
Anyway, if you've listened to this album, chances are you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, then for God's sake, get out there and find a way to listen to it. If you've listened to it and it didn't grab you, well then, I...I'm sorry, but there's just no hope for you.

I'll leave you with some Squire art.


Double Dorsal (Fools Gold single)


Love is the Law (Seahorses single of the same name)



Waterfall (Single of same name)




Bye Bye Badman (Used on cover of first album)


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Angels 10; White Sox 7

My theory is that Frankie was a little upset that he wouldn't be pitching in a save situation, and decided to make things interesting. REALLY interesting. I would admit to my heart sinking when Uribe hit the long foul ball that almost won the game, but the fact is, I'd resigned myself to seeing them lose in dramatic fashion to the Sox AGAIN (see yesterday's post). The final out was a nice surprise.

Dallas is really starting to swing the bat well. 2 more hits tonight, and a walk, 3 runs, and 3 RBI. Nice production. And he really launched that homer. I rarely see balls hit that far to center field at the Cell. Any time you get two hits out of each of McPherson, Finley, and Cabrera, it's really a game you have to win.

At this rate, I'm picking sometime around mid-August before Kotchman gets one out of the infield. No joke, in the seventh inning, I told my buddy that the Sox were stupid to pitch to Molina, because Kotch was a guaranteed double play. Instead, they pitched to Molina, he ripped a two run single, and Kotch followed by hitting into a double play. Oh well, anytime the opposing manager outdumbs the Angels, it's fine by me.

Not as many insults tonight, but the crowd was smaller. Special thanks to the drunk lady who got off the Red Line at the North and Clybourn stop, then walked back over to the door by which I was standing, prompted me to remove my headphones (was listening to some Teenage Fanclub) just to tell me that "Anaheim sucks". I agree, Anaheim sucks.

Shields looked very sharp in the 8th, which was good to see. Note to Donnelly, you can't go to your mouth while on the mound. Three or four more automatic balls and he might figure it out. Interesting note, the scoreboard registered that as a pitch on their pitch count counter. I guess it technically has to be, but if I'm watching that to see how tired a guy is getting, it seems kind of stupid.

Much needed day off. Boston isn't scaring anyone right now, so let's go get a couple in Beantown and hope Texas takes tonights loss to the Tigers really hard.

Mr. or Ms. 1,000

Congrats to the visitor who uses something called "wideopenwest.com" as their ISP. You were the 1,000th visitor to the site. At least, you were the 1,000th visitor since I got that site-tracker thingy about a month ago when I re-started this thing. Of course, about 300 of those were probably me, so take that for what it's worth.

Yay.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

White Sox 5; Angels 4

Ugh. Ya know, I've been to probably 10-15 Angels games in the six and half years I've lived in Illinois (a couple while making the two hour drive from Champaign), and I think the Angels have won two in that time. And they don't even have the decency to lose big. Well, except for that time that Ken Hill pitched. Seriously, I would prefer a 10-0 loss, where most of the crowd (including me) exits early, and everyone is pretty docile. But no. They have to keep playing close games that end with the White Sox winning in their final at bat, with drunk fans all charged up. Or games in which they're way ahead, and the White Sox stage an impossible comeback to win in what should have be their penultimate at bat. Of course, neither of those were as embarrassing as the time I saw them lose to a guy with a pitching arm that was hanging by a thread. That means the long walk out of the stadium is filled with drunken shouts of "Angels suck!" and "Percival sucks". No violence, though. I mean, what do you think this is, Dodger Stadium?

Lackey looked pretty OK, and shook off some trouble in the first inning. Really couldn't tell from out seats whether Figgins should have had a play on the Iguchi triple, but seeing how he judges fly balls in right, I'll say he should have had a play. You could tell that he took just an awful route. Once again, the offense chipped away, only to have it torn apart by lousy defense. Oy. That misplay by Figgins on the Everett "double" was the worst play I've EVER seen by a major league outfielder (hell, at least Canseco judged it well enough to have it hit him in the head) and how it went as a double is beyond me. Do we expect that little of a major league outfielder that we've determined a batter deserves a hit on a routine fly ball that gets completely botched?

Nice to see GA starting to swing the bat a little bit. Dallas didn't look bad, although for a power guy, he hits more soft liners than anyone I can remember. Kotchman, well, pretty much what we saw last year. Won't strike out, but won't hit it very hard.

Not much to say about the finish, other than it was incredibly predictable. I'll put myself through the same misery tomorrow night, this time without the 6'5", 250 lbs. guy sitting next to me and walking me out of the park. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know I snapped and started mouthing off at a bunch of drunk guys. Hey, I used to do it all the time when I played hockey.

And to the dipshits sitting behind me, I know it's fun to pronounce "Chone" phonetically, or perhaps you simply haven't progressed past hooked on phonics, but it gets really stupid after a while. I mean, in the abstract, phonetically speaking, is the proper pronunciation of Chone THAT much worse than the pronunciation of Sean? I know, it's Gaelic, but that's not the point, dammit.

Weaver inks (link)

Jered's in the fold. Only took 12 months for him to realize that the Angels were serious about their final offer. I'm not sure it's really worth it to rehash what was gain or lost by either side in all of this, but if the reports are right, and Weaver took the $4MM bonus, it's a pretty clear win for the Angels. It would have been nice to see him go through the instructional league and spring training, but I'd imagine he'll start at Rancho, if not some extended spring (which is ending soon). Keep him close to home for a month or so, and if he earns it, send him to Arkansas.

Ultimately, this gives the Angels at least three first round caliber guys out of the last draft period, with Weaver, Nick Adenhart, and Kendry Morales. Mark Trumbo may have been of that ilk as well. I don't know his whole story, but they signed him to a big money deal.

Baseball America is reporting that Weaver went for the $4MM bonus, so it would appear that Stoneman didn't move. If the Angels try to sign Washburn in the off-season (or before) you've got to think that Stoneman will be looking across the table and seeing nothing but his bitch in Scott Boras (pending the final numbers, of course). Then again, they'll be competing against a lot of other clubs, so maybe not.

What's done is done, Jered's in the fold, and it's time to see if he can be a big league pitcher. Welcome to the team, Jered. Good luck.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sox vs. Angels - Liveblogging the HD experience

The White Sox and Cubs are broadcasting all home games in HD this season, whether they be on Comcast Sports Net or WGN. So this one is in HD today. It's the only game of the series I'll be watching on television, but man, it looks really, really nice.

  • Both pitchers work pretty fast, with Buerhle in the "incredibly freaking fast" category, so this should be a quick one. I saw Buerhle on opening day, a 2:00 start. The game was over so fast that I ended up going back to the office before 5:00.
  • Nice play by Figgins, as this one is rolling right along. Big ovation for the Big Hurt.
  • Sox extend Guillen's contract. Reaction: At least he's good for some colorful headlines. And it's easier to do when the guy across town is taking all the heat.
  • 2 on, none out, and they tell Rivera to bunt, which he predictably botches. Who the fuck is running this team? Christ, Scioscia, it's the fucking second inning! Next play, double play, and end of threat. It's no wonder this team can't score.
  • 2 on, none out for the Sox. Bet they don't bunt.
  • And the non-bunt pays off with a base hit. Bases juiced, no one out sounds a lot better than first and second with one out.
  • Second straight inning with the bases loaded and none out. Wash might be able to avoid both spots with only one run total. But no, a two run double has probably put this game out of reach in the third inning. Wash has looked awful today. And they aren't calling smart pitches.
  • Finley takes one out, providing the slightest glimmer of hope. He's been swinging it downright OK lately.
  • Three straight innings with the first two men on. And Ozzie Guillen proves me wrong by outdumbing Scioscia and calling for a bunt with two on and none out, leading to a double play. These people are freaking idiots.
  • Funny thing, I haven't gone through the game logs, but if I remember correctly, this is the first game in a LONG time that Washburn got out of the first inning without a threat, let alone 1-2-3. In most of the other games, he settled down and pitched very well from there on out. Today, it's been just the opposite. All kinds of baserunners, and more help from his defense, with a home to first double play, then a double play on a botched sacrifice. Weird how things work out sometimes. Although, he'll almost assuredly get the loss, so the more things change, the more they stay the same.
  • Four straight innings with the lead-off runner aboard.
  • No blood again thanks to the double play ball. Nice pick by D-Mac to start the double play. When people aren't talking about his defense, that means he's doing it right.
  • Double for Finley. We really need that bat to be hot for a few weeks. Folllwed up by a single by Cabrera to drive in the run. The two big signings team up to get the Angels back in the game.
  • Finally got the lead-off hitter, then gave up a single to Dye. Hopefully the good defense mojo can pick him up again.
  • Peralta into the game. He looked terrific the other night, but I kind of have a bad feeling about this outing. I hope I'm wrong.
  • I'm wrong. A double to Iguchi, but otherwise he looked strong. Maybe they found another hidden gem for the bullpen.
  • Threatening. Marte - tough lefty - against D-Mac. Already 0-2, looking like a big K. If Marte throws a fastball here, he should be shot. Defensive swings keeping him at the plate. Just don't hit into a double play.
  • Wow, he gets the double play ball, and Iguchi makes a bad toss for the error, and the Angels have the loaded for the might Q who comes through with a game tying single. Right about now, I'm kicking myself for removing Shields from my lineup in favor of Hermanson.
  • Figgy time. I'd be taking three-one, but Figgy fouled off a pitch that was probably a strike anyway.
  • Walks in the go ahead run. Wow. This would be a HUGE game to win. They're going to need every single break possible on this trip.
  • Key question: Does Shields have enough left after yesterday's loooooooong inning?
  • The early answer appears to be "No".
  • Right now I'm really happy that I took Shields out of my lineup in favor of Hermanson.
  • Well, I would have called for the intentional walk to load the bases, but apparently the Angels know that Everett isn't hitting righties well, and Shields strikes him out. Nervous time.
  • And Timo comes through. Blown save. Loss. Ugh. Horrible start to the road trip. Too many lead-off runners on base.
Looking back, if you'd told me that they'd lose in the bottom of the ninth, I wouldn't have believed it, because they were in trouble in every inning. But when the sun is shining on you, you have to take advantage. The Angels got EVERY SINGLE BREAK and still lost. This could be the beginning of a long, long slide. I'm gonna be sick.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Angels 7; Royals 6

Whoa. Got a little crazy there at the end, but the Angels held on. I think this is actually a pretty good thing. Bad outing from Shields, but he picked a great time to have a bad outing. He did just enough to hold on, and if he worked out some of the kinks, he should be fine in his next outing.

The old man and the bat ripped a bases clearing double in the third, and scored on the Matt Stairs overthrow to complete the Little League home run. Then later, Mr. Clutch, Jose Molina, ripped a bases clearing double in the fifth to extend to a 5 run lead, which turned out to be just enough.

No homer from McPherson today, but he had a nice single in the second, an at bat in which he looked very confident to me. He also hit a ball hard for an out, and struck out twice, so maybe he's not as confident as I thought. Oh well, 3 out of 4 games isn't too bad. I still say we shouldn't send him down, although Matt may try to convince me otherwise. I mean, he did make three whole outs today. By the way, I haven't heard to many comments about his defense lately, but he sure looks OK to me.

Colon looked fairly sharp, and he owned David DeJesus. He's looking like very legitimate Cy Young candidate, and perhaps it's too early to start talking about that stuff, but with Garland's recent struggles (hey, thanks for nothing against the Rangers, John), I suspect we'll be hearing Colon's name more and more in that regard.

On to Chicago for three against the Sox. I'll probably skip tomorrow, but I've got tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I hope to provide my up close and personal observations. Observation number 1: They have really good food at Commiskey. Tuesday I'll be going with a guy who likes to order a Polish loaded with grilled onions, which he then takes to the condiment section so he can add more raw onions to the mix. He's a pretty big guy, so I don't make fun of him for it. It's also a good idea to go with a really big dude when you're rooting for the other team.

On a further note, I'll be back in LA next weeked for a couple of days to play in a golf tournament, which I'll write about if I feel like I can handle the embarrassment of the whole situation. Trust me, you'll see what I mean if I do indeed comment on it.

England 2; United States 1

Headed down to Soldier Field yesterday to catch the Americans take on the English. Weather was pretty good. Only a few sprinkles, and it stayed pretty cool all day. My buddy Phil and his wife Claudia flew in from LA for the game. I pretty much root for England over anyone except the U.S. In fact, I still have the St. George's cross hanging in my front window that I put up during the 2002 World Cup, then never took down. That said, I was surprised at how many Americans I saw rooting against the U.S. Like, for example, Phil and Claudia.

The crowd representation on TV had to look pretty English. They had the flags all over the place.

Lots 'o flags

Americans don't really go for that, so it looked worse than it was. No doubt, there were a lot of England fans there, but I'd say the crowd actually cheered about 60/40 for the U.S.

We actually had better seats than I expected. We were in the third row at field level, just this side of midfield. I usually prefer to sit a little higher for soccer, but from where we were, you could see most of the game pretty well, and we got a great view of the little things that you don't always see from farther away.

Sideline action

One thing very noticeable from our seats was the size of Sol Campbell. He is a big dude.

Sol Campbell is big

Anyway, England jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a beautiful curl from Kieran Richardson, playing in his international debut. From just outside the 18 yard box he curled one over the wall and away from Kasey Keller. He added another goal just before halftime on a great finish of a Joe Cole pass. The U.S., who actually had some excellent chances (especially from Landon Donovan), managed to draw within one with about 12 minutes to go on a Clint Dempsey goal.

Celebrating our only goal

This game had more action in the first 30 seconds than the entire 90 minutes of Bayern Munich vs. Man United last year. Which leads me to ask, why the hell are they called Bayern Munich? Shouldn't they be either Bavaria Munich or Bayern M√ľnchen? That's always bugged me.

Anyway, not much to report other than that. There's a couple more pictures at my buzznet site. The weather held up, the game had some action, our seats were good, and we didn't have to wait for trains very long (seriously, we had perfect timing). A good time was had by all.