Friday, August 29, 2008

My Sarah Palin Timeline Prediction

I know I said I wouldn't get into politics very often, but I have to preserve this for posterity. My predictions for the media reactions to Palin:

Day 1: Bold, exciting choice by McCain. The news media and the American people can't wait to know more about her.

Days 2-5: Now that we know a little more about her, her scandals, her lies about very recent positions, we have to ask, what was the old codger thinking when he made this choice?

Weeks 2-8: We've now gotten used to the idea of a female VP with 19 months of experience leading one of the smallest states in the nation, with virtually no financial difficulties whatsoever, and it feels like a regular campaign.

November 5: Now that McCain has been beaten like a freaking drum, we have to ask, what was the old codger thinking when he made this choice.

Palin will bring some positives to the ticket. She's attractive and young. She's virulently anti-abortion, and supports the teaching of creationism in school, which will fire up the base and the religious idiots/zealots. She's tough to attack without making the Dems look like old white guys going after the pretty young lady. They may bait Biden, who's a bit of loose cannon, into saying something sexist at their debate. She'll peel off a few of the remaining Hillary dead-enders, but they're a lost cause anyway.

On the other hand, she completely guts the "inexperienced" argument. They can't argue with a straight face that Obama doesn't have the experience to lead when they're ready to make her President in the event McCain kicks it, which given his age and health, is pretty likely. And if the Dems are smart, they attack her non-stop with women surrogates. Wasserman-Schultz, McCaskill, and hopefully Hillary herself. They will bury Palin, and do it without the taint of sexism.

Look, this is desperation move by McCain, who had failed to excite the base before now. Palin will bring the base, but won't be taken seriously by the majority of the electorate. And ultimately, this is going to come down to ground game and get out the vote. Neither Republican candidate brings the enthusiasm to the masses that Obama brings, which is why I don't think conventional polling models will capture the type of turnout we'll see in November. Obama and Clinton were each routinely getting more votes in the primaries than all Republicans combined. There are other reasons for that beyond simple enthusiasm (there was still a race on Dem side, for example), but ultimately, the Obama campaign's organization, already light years better than four years ago, will make the difference. McCain will go back to being an absentee Senator, Palin will go back to being a small time governor of a small time state (one that I love, by the way - it's where my brother lives). And in three months, no one will be able to understand why we spent a day making such a big deal about a political neophyte, who just months ago admitted she had no idea what a Vice President even does.

Thanks, John. You did us Democrats a big favor.

Rangers 5; Angels 7

Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub.

I was starting to think I was a jinx. The Angels had lost all of the four previous games I've recapped here, and after the first inning last night, it looked like more of the same. But Jon Garland settled down, the bats woke up, and the Angels finished off a 7-5 victory, dropping their magic number to 13.

Garland started the game by finding a lot of bats. He allowed five hits in the first, and four runs, three coming in on Milton Bradley's homer to right center field. Mark Teixeira went deep in the bottom of the third for the Angels first run, but the Rangers pushed the lead back to four on Chris Davis' home run in the top of the fourth. The Angels responded with a run in the sixth inning on Garret Anderson's double (and Nelson Cruz's error), but continued to struggle getting runners home in clutch situations.

That changed in the bottom of the eighth. After singles from Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter, Joaquin Benoit proceeded to walk both Garret Anderson and Mike Napoli to cut the lead to two. Brandon Wood, fresh up from Salt Lake, couldn't add to the rally, but Juan Rivera, hitting for Sean Rodriguez, drilled a three run double to deep right center (just missing a grand slam), giving the Angels a one run lead. Two singles later (Figgins and Willits), the Angels had turned a three run deficit into a two run lead.

Francisco Rodriguez entered in the ninth. He opened by striking out Davis before giving up a single to Jared Saltalamacchia. He then hit Brandon Boggs, who quite frankly deserved it for the half hour he took to get to the plate. Frankie induced a double play ball from Michael Young to put the game away, and walked off with is 51st save of the season.

Top three Angels performers

1) A night after one of his most disappointing games of the season, Torii Hunter delivered three hits, and scored twice. His eighth inning single was one of the keys to the Angels rally in that inning.

2) Juan Rivera's clutch three run double in the eighth was the most important hit of the night for the Angels.

3) I could go with Teixeira, who hit his 8th home run as an Angel, but believe it or not, Jon Garland gets the nod here. After his rough first inning, he lasted seven more, only gave up one run, and stuck around long enough to get the win.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

I hate to be too critical, but Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez gave a taste of why the Angels had the league's worst offense in May and June. They combined to go 0-7 with Rodriguez striking out twice.

What to look for tonight:

Ervin Santana brings a string of five straight solid (if unspectacular) starts to the mound against Dustin Nippert, who makes his second start of the season, and the seventh of his career. He comes in with an ERA near 8.00, and gave up seven runs in four innings in his other start last week.

Game time is 7:05 PST on FSN.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A's 6; Angels 5

Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub

On August 10th, Joe Saunder tossed seven innings against the New York Yankees and allowed three runs on his way to picking up his 14th victory. His ERA stood at 3.07. After last night's 6-5 loss to the A's, Saunders has now taken the mound three times since August 10th, lost all three times, given up 15 earned runs in 11 and 2/3 innings, and has seen his ERA go all the way up to 3.67.

Last night, Rajai Davis led the game off with an infield single that glanced off of Saunders' left hand, but based on recent performance, it's hard to blame what followed on an injury. Davis eventually scored the only run of the first inning, but the A's completed their scoring for the night with five runs in the second inning, coming on three singles, a two run double from Bobby Crosby, and a two run homer from Emil Brown.

The Angels threatened, clawing back with four runs of their own in the fourth inning, started off by a Garret Anderson triple, helped along by a two run single from Erick Aybar and an RBI single from Mark Teixeira. They added another in the fifth on another RBI single from Aybar, but ultimately failed to do enough with the nine free passes granted by A's pitchers, and wouldn't score again. Huston Street picked up the win with 1.2 perfect innings.

With Texas winning in Kansas City, the Angels failed to reduce their magic number, which currently sits at 15. To make matters worse, but Howie Kendrick AND Erick Aybar appeared to have hamstring issues, which prompted Juan Rivera to spend the ninth inning manning second base. On a final note, Mike Scioscia was ejected in the seventh inning during a pitching chance, presumably for arguing balls and strikes, prompted primarily from a bad called third strike on Aybar in the second inning with the bases loaded.

Angels top three performers:

1) Erick Aybar had two hits (a double and single) and drove in three runs before leaving the game in the ninth inning.

2) Mark Teixeira reached base four times, drove in one run, and his three hits pushed his Angels batting average to .379. He also recorded his 100th RBI of the season, spanning both leagues.

3) Rested during last night's complete game from John Lackey, the bullpen provided 7 and 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed the Angels to mount a comeback. Shane Loux pitched three solid innings, Jose Arredondo pitched in for two (with three strikeouts), Darren Oliver added 1.2 before being replaced (at which point Scioscia was tossed), and Justin Speier had another scoreless outing.

Jeff Weaver of the game: The easy pick is Saunders, his six runs allowed digging a hole that the Angels couldn't crawl out of. But Torii Hunter is a good pick here as well. He went 0-4, struck out three times, and left six runners on base, most of them in scoring position.

What to look for tonight: Jon Garland tries to get back on track. He's put up a couple bad performances following a string of mediocre performances. He faces former White Sox teammate Brandon McCarthy, who went four innings and allowed one run to Cleveland in his first start of the season last week. You can also look for Kendrick and Aybar, but you may have to look hard, because after last night's hamstring problems, neither may be on the field.

Game Time is 7:05 PST on FSN.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I try to keep this blog non-political, and this may be my first every political post (though possibly not my last), but I'm a lifelong Democrat, and an Obama supporter. Have been since day one. I'm proud to be a current resident of Illinois (though I'm still an Angeleno at heart), and I'm proud that he represents my state.

But my dad was born and raised in Montana. I still have a ton of family back there. An aunt, three cousins (two more that grew up there before moving away), three cousin's spouses, eight second cousins, one spouse of a second cousin, and their two kids. I love the state of Montana, and I love going back to Sidney to visit my family (big fish in a small pond, someone once called them "the Kennedys of Sidney"). The Seitzes have been business owners for something like 60 years, from my grandfather's (who I never met) clothing shop to my uncle's insurance agency, now operated by my cousins.

And as much as I like living in Illinois, damn, I wish this guy was my governor.

My aunt might tell you he doesn't do enough for eastern Montana. As if a town going through a major oil boom needs governmental support. And of course, 98% of the population lives WEST of Sidney, so yeah, a politician is going to focus on that part of the state. But these are the types of politicians that make Democrats viable in the Mountain West. Just because I don't think you need an AK-47 on the streets of Chicago doesn't mean I want to take your hunting rifle away. My cousins are hunters, and they're real conservationists. That's common ground. I actually was rooting for Schweitzer for Veep, but I'll settle for Democrats in the top three positions in Montana politics.

Now we just need to get rid of the most corrupt Republicans in government up in my brother's home state of Alaska.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A's 2; Angels 1

Cross posted at Socal Sports Hub.

If you skipped this one to watch convention coverage, you didn't miss much. Neither team generated much offense, and a sloppy game from the Angels saw a sloppy play lead to their demise. Dallas Braden scattered seven hits over seven innings, allowing only Mike Napoli to score on a solo home run. He wasn't overpowering by any means. He didn't strike out a batter, but was helped out numerous times as Angels hitters swung at pitches out of the strike zone, which helped him complete seven innings without walking a hitter.

Jered Weaver actually pitched one of his better games over the last month, though we need to normalize for the offense he faced. If you haven't been following the A's very closely this season, you probably recognized Bobby Crosby, Frank Thomas, maybe Jack Cust and Kurt Suzuki, and that's about it. They sent all of one batter to the plate hitting over .250 (Suzuki). Injuries, trades, and poor performances have hampered the offense all season, and it's tough to give Weaver full credit for his good numbers. Still, he only allowed five baserunners (three hits and two walks), and struck out 8.

Napoli's home run was matched by Daric Barton's third inning blast. Following a fourth inning Frank Thomas walk and a Jack Hannahan double, Weaver uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Thomas to score the eventual winning run. The Angels put one baserunner on in the ninth when Mark Teixeira reached on a two out error by the first baseman Barton, but Torii Hunter's ground ball to Crosby at short ended the evening.

Top three Angels performers:

1) Weaver was solid through seven with the numbers mentioned above. He threw 67 strikes against 41 balls and dropped his ERA by a tenth of a run.

2) Mike Napoli deserves credit for actually creating a run, which no other Angel could do.

3) The bullpen combination of Justin Speier and Jason Bulger gave the Angels a chance. It was nice to see Speier keep the ball in the ballpark for once.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

Tough call here when the whole offense is awful (though it should be noted that Vlad was resting). I've got to go with Chone Figgins, the only Angel with two hits, who still managed to get himself out on the basepaths both times. He was picked off in the first inning after a lead off single, setting the tone for the game. He was also caught stealing in the third inning.

What to look for tonight:

John Lackey brings his dominance of the A's to the mound against a less than stellar lineup, while Greg Smith goes for the A's. Smith's 6-12 record belies a solid 3.75 ERA. Scioscia wants to give Vlad a few days off his feet, but after last night's offensive display (you choose which syllable to emphasize), he may want his bat in the lineup tonight at DH.

Game time 7:05 PST; Televised on FSN