Saturday, September 24, 2005

Angels 7; Devil Rays 3; Lead is 4, Magic # is 5

The good news is that Steve Finley homered and doubled, driving in three runs and leading the Angels to victory. The bad news is that Steve Finely homered and doubled, which means that Scioscia is likely to put him in the lineup next week, except maybe against Zito. But I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. It was a big win, especially because Oakland won today. The Angels need to show the A's that they're not putting pressure on anyone. The Angels fate is in their own hands. Win five games and the division championship stays in Anaheim. Win four of 8, at least one against Oakland, same result.

After some trouble in the first inning, J-dub settled down and looked terrific. Great job getting the win in what may have been his final start in Anaheim as a member of the Angels. I have mixed opinions about possibly re-siging him, but we can deal with that later. Vlad led off the scoring with #32, and after a couple of knocks, Finely erased the early deficit with a three run shot. The Angels would single runs in three later inning, with only Estaban Yan allowing a meaningless run in the ninth providing the final margin.

Shields has looked very good for a few consecutive outings now. That's huge. What would be even better would be to win tomorrow, and take the first two against Oakland. Wrapping things up early would give them a chance to rest that bullpen. It's vitally important, with this erratic offense, to have the relievers rested and healthy for the possible playoffs. Final home game of the season tomorrow. Bart gets the start, oddly enough. I thought they'd save him for the Oakland series. But starting him tomorrow means he's in line for another start against Texas, if needed, a team who he has dominated. And if that final start is not needed, he's set up to start a possible game one with extra rest. Still, waiting until Monday to start him wouldn't have changed any of that, so I'm not quite sure why they're doing this, but that's why I don't get paid the big bucks.

80 at Cog Hill today. Two bogeys, one birdie, 11 pars, and four freaking doubles. I'm almost there, but I need to get rid of the big numbers. Ironically, two doubles came when I took either 3-wood or 2-iron off the tee to play is safe. So much for dialing it back a bit. Birdied #13, though, which is the toughest hole on the course in my opinion. And naturally, I'm starting to make my best contact right as the season is ending. Oh well.

Unwarranted Criticism

Matt says:
It's funny how you no longer update after each game, like you used to back when you had a chance to win that bet....
This is simply wrong for a number of reasons. First, it's not true that I no longer update after every game. In fact, I updated pretty quickly after most games over the last two weeks. When I don't update right after a game, there's usually a good reason. I might be going to bed. See, Matt, we have these things called time zones, and mine is two hours earlier than yours. Also, some of us have jobs where we actually need to show up and stuff. I can't just write articles from the comfort of my apartment. This is also the good concert season in Chicago, and twice in the last two weeks I've been at shows while the Angels were playing. Sometimes, like last night, I might be at a White Sox game, and I might be drunk from tailgaiting before the game. Plus, last night's game wasn't on extra innings, and I hate sitting and watching games over the computer.

Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there. The point is, I feel like I've been accused of rooting for the Angels to lose. Trust me, I've said before, and I'll say again, I'd gladly pay $50 right now to have the season be over with the Angels in first place. I think a lot of would. I hope to lose that $50. Nothing would make me happier.

Anyway, as we all know by know, Angels win, A's lose, magic number is 6. Great comeback last night, and some really clutch hitting in the 7th and 8th. Paul Byrd apparently didn't have it, and he was gone by the time I got home from the Cell. Great work by Kevin Gregg to keep them in the game. Once the Angels tied the score on the error at first base, I had a pretty good feeling about this one. Shields was terrific, as was Frankie. It seems like that must have been the first time since June that both of them pitched 1-2-3 innings. If they can win one more game in this series and go to Oakland no worse than up by three, that would be fantastic.

Anyway, I knew early in this blog's life span that I was spoiling some of you, and that when the inspiration didn't strike for some reason, I'd be called on it. There's just no pleasing some people. Remember, Matt, you're getting what you've paid for. And while I'm on the subject, I think it's pretty darn convenient that your wife just happens to be French, which means you'll just happen to be out of town when I'm in LA, thereby precluding you from buying me dinner with my money.

Friday, September 23, 2005

For the curious

I try not to get too political on this blog, because there are other people who do that a lot better than me. If you haven't already figured it out from my sidebar, here's where some quize says I stand:
You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(30% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Do with that what you will. And speaking of the sidebar, I've added 3 Bulls to the list. Them dudes are funny, and they like good music. Also, they added me to theirs, so it's like reciprocation, eh.

Oh, I got this from John Cole.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Angels 7; Rangers 4; Lead is 3 games; Magic # is 8

Six straight wins. Three big ones over Texas, which has to be a bit of a psychological boost in the event that those three games to close the season are meaningful, and I think we all expect them to be. The kid was good again, at least, good enough to win. Another quality start, he kept the team in the game long enough for the Angels to break it open in the sixth with three runs on four hits and a walk, all with two outs. The walk was to Steve Finley. I'm pretty sure every one of us in the halosphere was expecting a pop-up there. I know I was. Bengie added a home run, and Escobar, who had pitched a great 7th and 8th got touched for a run in the ninth. It was meaningless.

Two tests lie ahead. Obviously the series with Oakland is huge, and there's no way to overstate its importance. But the upcoming set with the Devil Rays is almost as important. The Angels enter the series in position to go into Oakland no worse than tied with a week to go. Honestly, I don't expect Oakland to lose to Texas, so it's important for the Angels to take at least two games out of three. This is the same D-Ray team that swept the Angels in Tampa, and has bitchslapped the first place Yankees all over the field this season. Wash is ready to go. Byrd will need to be the rock that he's been lately. The Angels still need a starter for Sunday. With Bart's bad back, and the series with Oakland looming, the Angels will probably move Bart to Monday, which will give him two starts in the last week.

The Angels magic number, now 8, is one better than that of the White Sox, who fell apart in extra innings tonight. Why they couldn't do that while Johan Santana was in teh game is anybody's guess, but it means I didn't get the win in my fantasy league. With three days left in the semi-finals, I trail my opponent by two points, which means nothing to you if you don't know how we do the scoring, and I'm not going to take the time to explain it now. Just know that it's a virtual tie. Of course, the Sox loss also means no donuts tomorrow. I'll be at the Cell tomorrow night, so I'll try to document the atrocities.

Angels 6; Rangers 5; Lead 2.5

Quick one tonight since I have to get up to go to work tomorrow. This one was sort of unexpected. Once they got down, I expected them to lose, because they were due for one, and the Angels have a tendency to be shut down by pitchers who have no business shutting them down. But as much as we've ripped on Scioscia recently, he played most of the right cards in this one. He went back to Ztu, despite my prediction that he wouldn't, and it didn't end up hurting the team. He got the big hits from pinch hitters Quinlan and Molina (and a hit from Finley, but it wasn't big, since it didn't lead to any runs). He got burned a little by Donnelly, but Christiansen got the lefty, Shields looked terrific in the eighth, and Frankie was great in the ninth, save for a lousy call on what should have been strike three to the lead off hitter, Rod Barajas.

Lackey didn't look particularly sharp, scattering a number of baserunners, although he did have two perfect innings. The last two games have brought returns of the Lackey inning, which may survive the regular season, but could be big trouble in the post-season.

Three game lead in the loss column, and thanks to the Twins, the magic number is nine, same as the White Sox. A executive assistant at work brought in donuts this morning because she was in a good mood after the Sox win last night. I think we're all getting all expense paid trips if they win the World Series.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with Mark Gardener at the Metro, 9/20/05

Mark Gardener led off the evening, but honestly I missed most of his set. I showed up for his final five songs. However, I was there for the good parts. For those unaware, Mark Gardener was one of the creative minds behind the influential shoegazer band Ride, of whom I'm a big fan. He played Vapour Trail, an indie classic, and In a Different Place near the end of his set. He's supposed to back in December with a full electric setup (tonight was just him and two other people, no percussion, all acoustic), so it will be interesting to see if he does more Ride stuff.

BRMC came out next, or rather, Peter Hayes came out next. A little background, BRMC's first two albums were fairly straightforward rockers. The self titled first album was critically a mixed bag. Hailed by some as a return to rock and roll, it was criticized somewhat for being a rip-off of any number of bands, including the aforementioned Ride, as well as early Verve (circa A Storm in Heaven), maybe some My Bloody Valentine, and most obviously, the Jesus and Mary Chain. Didn't bother me. I really like all of those bands, so I thought it was a pretty good listen, and it made for a good live set (I saw them for the first time in 2001 when they opened for the Charlatans at the Double Door, so that makes this the fourth time I've seen them). The second album, Take Them On, On Your Own, was more of the same, and got even worse reviews than the first, but again, made for some really great live tracks.

While writing the latest album, Howl, Robert Levon Been (formerly Robert Turner) and Peter Hayes had a falling out with drummer Nick Jago. The result was a number of songs with percussion as an afterthought. The album is slower and quieter, drawing more from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson than William and Jim Reid. Somewhere along the line, fences were mended, and Jago is back with the band, but there's not much for him to do on a number of songs. Critically, this was a step in the right direction, and honestly, it's growing on me, although initially I didn't care for it as much as the first two, start to finish.

So anyway, Peter Hayes came out solo and did the first couple songs by himself before being joined by Levon Been and Jago for the rest of the set. The set was panned by a few people on the way out. This is probably a weird situation for the band, as the first two albums are clearly more crowd friendly at a rock concert, but I'm sure the band wants to play a lot of the new stuff. Tonight, the band won. In this blog's tradition, the following is a setlist, which should be pretty complete, since the show just ended a few hours ago. The first few songs are in order, then it's a free for all:
  • Devil's Waitin'
  • Fault Line
  • Restless Sinner
  • Weight of the World
  • Shuffle Your Feet
  • Ain't No Easy Way
  • Howl
  • Still Suspicion Holds You Tight
  • Love Burns
  • Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)
  • White Palms
  • As Sure as the Sun
  • Spread Your Love
  • U.S. Government (a weird version of this, with only the words remotely similar to the veriosn that appears on Take Them On....)
  • Stop
  • Sympathetic Noose (Very different than the version on the album as well, but the same basic melody, just louder)
  • Promise
  • Gospel Song
  • The Line
  • Open Invitation
I think that's it. They played pretty much all of the new album, except for Complicated Situation. Levon Been broke a bass string on one song, which I've never seen before, but it looked cool. Also, his voice clearly wasn't as strong as Hayes'. At first I thought it was the microphones, but you could tell when at one point, the two switched sides. Hayes was terrific all night on vocals, guitar, harmonica (I love it when bands bust out the harmonica live for some reason), and even trombone on Promise near the end.

Personally, the set didn't bother me. While I would have loved to hear more than the just the two songs they played from Take Them On..., and I would have been ecstatic if they'd played Awake, I pretty much figured they'd play a lot from the new album, so I wasn't shocked or disappointed when that's what we got. Definitely worth my $16. And since it was an early show, I was home in time to see the last few innings of the baseball game. Definitely a change for the better from their last show. Two years ago, the show was supposed to start at 10:00. Because an early show ran late, and the band still wanted their full sound check, the doors didn't open until 11:30, and the show didn't start until almost midnight. This meant BRMC opened, and the Stratford Four had to go on second, at about 1:30 am, by which time most of the crowd had cleared out. That's gotta suck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Angels 2; Rangers 1; lead is 1.5

Steve Finley has finally found a buddy for the bench. The old man ought to clear a space for MaicEEEr Izturis, becuase I don't think MaicEEEr is going to be doing a whole lot of starting from here on in, and he may have just cost himself a spot on the post-season roster.

When MaicEEEr wasn't booting balls at third, Bart was working on his 20th win, the first 20 game winner for the Angels since Nolan Ryan in 1974, which means he's the first since I've been old enough to actually pick up a baseball, right around the time I started walking and talking. Congrats, Bart. Escobar pitched a solid 8th, working around a one out walk to the Junior Sarge. Frankie did his Frankie thing again, putting runners on, striking batters out, and generally giving everyone a heart attack. Rivera continued to make his case for being in the everyday lineup with a solo homer, which gave the Angels a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

And the White Sox finally won, which ought to allow their fans, who are gripping seriously hard, a chance to back away from the ledge a bit. Crede homered in the tenth right as I pulled into my parking space as I returned from what you may have just read about in the post above.

We do it again tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Metro (9/14/05)

This was the first time I've seen BJM. You might have seen the movie Dig, or you might have read my half assed review of it, or neither. If you've listened to late '60s Rolling Stones, you know what Brian Jonestown sounds like. Some background, the music is great, the lead singer, Anton Newcombe, is psycho. That's about it.

The show lasted over two hours, and they played 10 songs. Seriously, ten songs in over two hours. There were two reasons for this. Some songs were seemingly endless. For example, they closed with "Swallowtail" and it lasted probably close to a half hour. No joke. The songs that didn't take twenty minutes to play were usually followed by 15 to 20 minutes of ranting from Anton. This isn't really a surprise for anyone who has seen the movie. Anton comes off as someone who is pretty sure that he's the most brilliant fucking person on the planet, and I'm sure there are enough people surrounding him who feel similar that it just feeds his ego. Anyway, the rants are funny at first, but start getting old if you're my age and back starts to hurt after standing in roughly the same place for 3 hours. What's not clear, at least to me, is if Anton has always been this way, or if the band's newfound popularity since the opening the of the movie has convinced him that he needs to play to type. I never saw them before the movie, and it was filmed over seven or eight years, so you never know whether what shows up on film is the real deal, or if he's been edited to seem like even more of an asshole than he normally is. Also, keep in mind that the lineup that you see in the movie is completely different. BJM at this point is essentially Anton and whoever he can get to tour with him. No Matt Hollywood, no Joel Gion, no Miranda Lee Richards, no Peter Hayes, etc. Although, Peter Hayes will be in the same venue on Tuesday fronting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as they play tunes from their new album Howl, which I didn't like all that much at first, but is growing on me. I hope to be there.

The setlist, such as it was, stuck pretty closely to Tepid Peppermint Wonderland, which is the 38 song retrospective that was released shortly after the movie, and a good use of thirteen bucks (see, all of you iTunes freaks, buying actual CDs can still be a good value). The played one song off of Strung Out in Heaven, called Jennifer, that doesn't appear on TPW. The rest, from memory (and remember, it's like 5 days later now):
  • When Jokers Attack
  • Servo
  • If Love is the Drug (this one lasted forever, too)
  • Vaccuum boots (I think, but don't hold me to this one)
  • Nailing Honey to the Bee
  • Nevertheless
  • Let Me Land Next To Your Flower
  • Hide and Seek (again, they may or may not have played this one, but I think they did)
That's all I can remember/recognize, or think I can remember They did not play Who, Mary Please, or Anenome, which all would have totally rocked! Oh well.

The guys that opened for them, the High Dials, were actuallly really good for the two songs that I heard. I'll be checking out their album on Rhapsody.

Angels take two over the weekend

Didn't see much of last night's game for a couple of reasons. First, it wasn't on Extra Innings. Must have been on local TV in LA, and the Tigers weren't broadcasting. It was on MLBTV, but I didn't really want to sit in front of the computer all night, so I turned it on, turned the sound up, and laid down on the couch. There weren't too many reasons to get up and watch until the 8th inning, and by that time I was waking up from a long nap, so I was too tired to watch. I did listen, however, and watched Frankie shut down the ninth.

I have today's game recorded, and I'll skim through it later, but it was bright, sunny, and 80 degrees here, so I hit the links again, this time at Cinder Ridge. Kind of a rinky dink front nine, better back nine, but it could be in better shape. 41-36-77. Not bad for the first time I've seen it, and I started to put it together a bit on the back nine. Anyway, my dad gave me the play by play of the ninth inning on the drive home. The bullpen continues to be shaky, but Paul Byrd continues to show that the Angels are better off bringing him back next year over J-Dub.

Went to a local sports warehouse bar (seriously, the place is enormous) so that I could watch the Bruins beat up on a mediocre Oklahoma team. I'll take it. It's been a while since there's been a Bruins team that could beat up on any team, including the mediocre ones. Drew Olson looked terrific, and the defense created some turnover, and took advantage of some sloppy play. I could have ordered it on PPV, but I figured the money was better spent on beer and food, plus I could watch my dad's Spartans take on my friends' Irish at the same time. They play an awful Washington team next week before they face their first real test at home versus Cal, who beat up on the Illini this week (at least in the second half). We'll give the Illini a few years to blossom under Ron Zook.