Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Scattered Thoughts Before Bed 

Busy night of baseball watching followed by a busy day at work tomorrow, so I thought I better get some stuff out of my head before I went to sleep.

First of all, with two outs, I will ALWAYS take Winn up with runners on first and third over Ichiro up with a runner on second. Especially when the guy on first is Ichiro, and will distract the baserunners. Those of you watching the M's feed (and not the ESPN feed) know how vociferously Fairly denounced the strategy. Someone without a full-time job and three kids should do the math for me.

Rice fell to Texas, AGAIN. The Texas pitching is just too damn good. 2.25 ERA against aluminum bats?!? Unreal. This game was a strange one. Scoreless duel until the bottom of the sixth when the first hitter fouls a shot off the umpire's throat. He is taken to the hospital (don't know his condition but hope he is alright). After an 18 MINUTE delay, our pitcher, Josh Baker, RESUMES pitching and gives up two runs including a bases loaded walk, with both runs scoring with two outs. I love Coach Graham, but I have problems with his in-game management, especially his overuse of the bunt, and (ab)use of his pitching staff. No pitcher should have to sit around for 18 minutes.

The Owls managed to tie it at 2 in the top of the eighth against all-world closer Huston Street on one of the worst balk calls I've seen. UT Coach Augie Garrido came out firing expletives and yells full blast into the face of the new umpire, who sticks his chest out, BUMPS AUGIE and then immediately ejects him. The ump instigates the contact! But that's not all. Two batters later, the ump steps out of the batters box, looks at the RICE bench and then stands with chest bared and palms open by his side (doing everything except curling his fingers) as is to say "C'mon out, I dare ya!" Our pitching coach yells, "that's bullspit" and runs right out there and is immediately tossed. I have NO idea what that was all about, but again, it is the umpire being confrontational.

More weird management from Coach Graham follows. Bottom of the eighth inning and again Baker is in trouble. With a runner on second, he throws a wild pitch while trying to intentionally walk a batter, resulting in runners on first and third. Into this pressure-filled situation in front of a hostile crowd, Graham pulls out Josh Baker, and brings in freshman Adam Hale, who has pitched all of seven innings this year. And the move works! Hale strikes out the next batter to get out of the inning, and is mobbed by his teammates entering the dugout!

But in the bottom of the ninth, Graham leaves Hale out there to face the heart of the Texas batting order, and the first batter rips a double. Immediately, Coach Graham signals to the bullpen for staff ace Philip Humber. Where was he a batter ago!?! Humber is a starter, not used to starting an inning in the stretch! And the first thing Humber gets to do? You guessed it - an intentional walk! Sure enough, two batters later, a game-winning single to right, and the Owls are 0-4 against the Texas puking Longhorns in 2004. Oh well, we'll see them again in Omaha for the third straight year.

Back to the M's game. I just realized that the Angels have a Kevin Jarvis too, but his name is Aaron Sele.

4 years, $48 million seems like a lot to pay for Garrett Anderson, but congratulations to him. The Angels are gonna keep spending big, and eventually they are gonna spend unwisely. Then Moreno will learn that Angel fans are not like Yankee fans and won't earn him money even during the lean years.

Is anybody else as pumped up as I am for Kill Bill Volume 2? I went out and bought Volume 1 today, and hope to find time to watch it a few times before Friday.

Roger Clemens looks like a man on a mission this year, and the Marlins don't seem to realize that last year was a fluke. Miguel Cabrera can freakin' mash! I don't see how the Braves are going to keep their streak alive - but somehow I still think they will.

Finally, while writing this post I managed to finish off the last of the Easter candy, a half bag of Dove chocolate Easter Eggs. And this officially concludes Chocolate Season for another year until next Halloween. If Hershey and company ever figure out how to get chocolate into Memorial Day, Labor Day, or the 4th of July, I will never have a chance to lose the ten pounds of chocolate I wear proudly around my middle or clear up my complexion. And my dentist will make a fortune because I don't know what's worse - going to sleep right after eating a gob of chocolate or having to brush your teeth immediately after eating gobs of chocolate. I'm voting for sleeping with the wonderful taste of chocolate over spitting brown toothpaste into the sink. Good night all, and lets hope the M's keep this one in the win column.

Edited to add that losing to the Angels 4 times in 4 tries and Rice losing to UT 4 times in 4 tries just plain SUCKS

Today's picks:
Reds (Acevedo) +155 over Phillies (Padilla)
Pirates (Vogelsong) +170 over Cubs (Clement)
Blue Jays (Lilly) -135 over Tigers (Robertson)

Money to date: +480 (picking dog/favorite = +503/-23, 7-6, 5-3) - Adam Eaton and the Padres kick but, the Blue Jays hold on to beat the falling-back-to-Earth Tigers, but the Brewers fall to the Giants. Still, another tidy $100 in profit as my two favorites hold on.

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