Saturday, October 4, 2008

Phillies-Brewers Game 3 live blog!

OK, so it's been an interesting day already, so let's get this live blog cookin'! (And immediately after I use the word "cookin'," I get 10,000 hits from Brewers fans.) The Phillies look to win their first playoff series since 1983, and Jamie Moyer attempts to become the oldest pitcher to win a postseason game since ... ever. Brewer broadcaster and lover of conflict-of-interest Brian Anderson has the call for TBS, along with Joe Simpson and John Smoltz, who are pining for the days of Mark Lemke.

The lineups are as follows:

Jimmy Rollins ss
Jayson Werth rf
Chase Utley 2b
Ryan Howard 1b
Pat Burrell lf
Shane Victorino cf
Pedro Feliz 3b
Carlos Ruiz c
Jamie Moyer p

Mike Cameron cf
Bill Hall 3b
Ryan Braun lf
Prince Fielder 1b
JJ Hardy ss
Corey Hart rf
Rickie Weeks 2b
Jason Kendall c
Dave Bush p

Brewers 4, Phillies 1, Aftermath in which I rip Manuel a new one
So two days after the Phillies appeared safely on their way to another NLCS versus the Dodgers, after Manuel actually looked smart with a savvy adjustment to his batting order, it's another frustrating playoff defeat for Philadelphia. Sure, the series is far from over, but a golden opportunity, and a chance to make sure the pitching staff was fully rested for the next round, is wasted. That change in the batting order from Game 2, in which Werth and Victorino were flip-flopped? Manuel inexplicably decided to flip them back, and Victorino, the Game 2 hero, winds up 0-for-4. Sure, Werth got a pair of extra-base hits, but he struck out twice in the early innings, when the tone for the evening was set. No one in the Phillie lineup, with the possible exception of Howard and Werth, is beyond harsh rebuke tonight. Nine hits, yes, but none of them drove in a run. No clutch hitting in a manner that harkened back to a few years ago, when failing to capitalize on offensive opportunities cost the Phils a playoff spot. But it is not about the bats tonight as much as it is about Manuel, again. He can make all the justifications for pulling Moyer after four innings he wants, and I will not buy any of them. Moyer mined all he had from his 45-year-old arm this year, and turned up with a dazzling season and 16 wins for his manager and his team, without which they never would have made the playoffs. He is repaid for this by getting yanked from his first postseason start just as he was settling down from what had been admittedly a wild start, just as he was beginning to fool batters with stuff that was tougher the second time through the order, as he had done all season long. He gave up only four hits and struck out as many batters (three) as he walked. He threw 90 pitches, 55 of them for strikes, and Manuel decided he would be better off with Clay Condrey in the fifth inning, who threw 27 pitches and 11 strikes, gave up two walks, one hit and one crushing earned run. It was an earned run that looked as though it would be the winning run in the ninth, as Ryan Howard scored to make it 4-2. But Dale Sveum, in his first month as an interim manager, popped out of the dugout to argue that Howard had not crossed the plate before Shane Victorino had made an illegal slide at second, causing an automatic out at first base and a dead ball. It is an arcane rule, one you would not expect a manager so inexperienced to know well, and certainly to know well enough to persuade umpires to change their call in his favor. Once the run was taken off the board, Manuel came out to argue the play, too, but with the passion of a comatose man. Manuel exhibited none of the fire that could have, if not made the run go back onto the scoreboard, at least let his team know he was not going to let them slip idly into the night. Yes, the run was most likely meaningless. Yes, the Phillies still have a 2-1 lead. But as of this writing, the Dodgers have a 2-0 lead against the Cubs and appear to be headed to a sweep and a space in the NLCS. The Dodgers also have something else: a man who knows how to keep his team on edge and make the right calls most of the time. Larry Bowa is a Dodgers coach and a trusted advisor to a manager, Joe Torre, who has won four World Series titles. It is a shame Bowa, and the overmatched Manuel who replaced him, is not managing the Phillies.

Brewers 4, Phillies 1, Final
Little tapper by Ruiz. Torres throws to first and it's over. What a waste of a good evening I could have otherwise spent on college football! Or, like, actually paying attention to my girlfriend.

Top 9th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
The umpires are huddling and apparently deliberating whether Victorino's slide at second was outside the basepaths. OK, wow, this sucks: the run comes off the board, because apparently Victorino went into second before Howard crossed home, and because he went out of the basepaths and tried to interfere with the throw to first, Feliz was automatically out at first and Howard does not score.

Top 9th, Brewers 4, Phillies 2
Victorino, with a two-strike count, lifts a little bloop into left field, and the bases are loaded! Feliz up and ... Peter Happy does not make me happy. First pitch, grounder to third, out at second, out at first. Double play. Run scores, but it is phyrric (big word meaning hollow victory).

Top 9th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Dobbs runs the count full. Hey, it's the Lidge effect! Apparently neither closer in this series will be pitching anywhere near 100 percent. Dobbs hits a liner into right-center. Howard stops at second, and Shane Victorino is the tying run striding to the plate. Do it again, Shane!

Top 9th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Smoltz is suggesting Howard try to bunt his way on because of the shift. What was that I said about him being a competent announcer? Howard instead slaps one up the middle. Hey, it's another leadoff man for the Phillies to waste! Greg Dobbs to pinch hit for Madson, because, remember, Manuel double-switched out Burrell. I swear, Charlie just does these double-switches for fun.

Top 9th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Ernie Johnson lets us know the Cubs and Dodgers are starting on TNT. God, I really wish Barkley were here right now.

End 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Braun lines right to Utley, as the Brewer hitters appear anxious to claim their victory and move on to Sunday. Day game after a night game, folks! Fielder takes big hacks during his at-bat as he strikes out swinging. Here comes Salomon Torres, whose contributions to my fantasy team must be overlooked now. Well, actually, let's hope he completely implodes, just like his last appearance for the Phlorida Phils about a week before the season ended. That nearly cost me $200 right then and there.

Bottom 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Mizzou leads Nebraska 14-7 late in the 1st ... Wisconsin 10, Ohio St. 7, USC 20, Oregon 10 and knocking on the door. Hey, it's a disturbing sex phone ad featuring "hot Latinos." Madson strikes out Bill Hall.

Mid 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
I'm already formulating my post-mortem just as the Philly beat writers are pounding away at what we can only hope are scathing rebukes of Manuel and the Phillie hitters. 0-2 count to Utley. And Utley skies a fly to center, where Cameron settles under it and records the out.

Top 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Werth with another well-hit ball, to the gap in left-center and all the way to the wall again. He pulls up at second with a double. It's big hit time, Utley. Time to pretend it's April!

Top 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Jenkins flies out to center, but J-Roll and the top of the order is up. If the Phillies can't make their move now, they're not going to. And ... they're not going to. Rollins hits a dribbler up the first-base line that Gagne gloves, and in one motion, somehow tags Rollins out. Gagne has now pitched three scoreless innings in this series. Unforgiveable, Phillies. Unforgiveable.

Top 8th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
In case you're wondering, Vandy was ranked No. 19 in the AP poll, Auburn No. 13. So probably no top 10 for Vandy, but we can dream can we? Jenkins up for his first at-bat, and guess what! The Phillies have hope! Eric Gagne is in the game!

End 7th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Cameron grounds to Rollins, who flips to Utley for the forceout at second to end the inning and segue nicely into a Frank TV promo. You know, Caliendo was in town a few weeks ago. I could have intervened. I should have intervened. Alas ...

Bottom 7th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
In case you're thinking about Game 5 and CC Sabathia, and the TBS crew is, he would be going on a full four days' rest for the first time in about a month if he were to start that game. Ryan Madson on to face Cameron.

Bottom 7th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Nelson strikes out, and Eyre, like a cyst, is removed. This seems like a good time to mention I won't be live-blogging Game 4, but will probably be a go for Game 5 on Tuesday, if necessary (and it is appearing increasingly necessary).

Bottom 7th, Brewers 4, Phillies 1
Base hit for Kendall, Hardy scores. Runners first and second for pinch-hitter Brad Nelson, a September callup who had seven at-bats in the regular season. He's replacing fantasy baseball bogeyman Russell Branyan on the roster. Hey, why is Eyre still in the game? It's all about Sunday now.

Bottom 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Oregon-USC, Ohio St.-Wisconsin games both tied in the second! A pitch-out makes it 2-1 to Kendall.

Bottom 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Counsell hits a little nubber up the first-base line, and Howard gets there, but not in time. First and third, one out. Hoo boy. UNC leading No. 24 Connecicut in the third quarter, folks!

Bottom 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Hardy hits a solid shot into left for a single. That's nine hits for the Brewers tonight, five of which have come since Moyer left the game. If there is a hell and I wind up there, I KNOW everyone there will appear as Manuel to me. I know this. Hart lays down a bunt and moves Hardy to second. Why should the Brewers give up outs to the Phils here? They're not stopping them.

Bottom 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Vanderbilt has held on to beat Auburn! I haven't been this excited about anything the Commodores have done since Lionel was more than just Nicole Richie's father. More face time for Anderson, Simpson and Smoltz, who actually sounds halfway competent. I say the Braves clear out a space in their booth for him right now. If I ever do get the package, I'll enjoy it. Eyre returns for another hellish inning.

Mid 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Feliz hits a ground ball that Counsell, shading him right, ranges quite a ways over to his left to field. Bill Hall then picks Ruiz's ball down the third base line and fires to first to whittle the Phils' chances down to six outs.

Top 7th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
TBS shows Bud Selig on camera. What a joke ... Manuel needs to manage the Brewers some time, just so those two guys, who deserve each other, can unite to wreak havoc. Well, wait, maybe not. The Brewers fans don't deserve that. It would be too cruel. Especially since they're all going to probably die of congestive heart failure, or some other fat persons' disease, anyway. (What, too many fat jokes? OK, OK, I'll stop. When midwesterners stop heading back to the buffet line!). Victorino up to try to further redeem the Nos. 2 and 6 hitters. No dice. Hart catches his medium-depth fly ball near the right-field line.

End 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Vanderbilt still ahead of Auburn, by the way, with about two minutes left. Fielder pops up to Werth! (He moved to left to replace Burrell, who was taken out in the double-switch, not Werth. I would say my bad, but it's not like TBS told us anything about Werth moving over to left.)

Bottom 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
It's a guy whose name sounds like a baseball term (error) vs. a guy whose name is a baseball term. So that's fun. 3-1 to Fielder. That's no fun. I'm thisclose to turning this into a college football live blog.

Bottom 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
This lengthy at-bat here to Braun is just torturous. Oooo, Durbin goes way down there and Braun chases it! Strike three! Double-switcheroo time! Here comes Geoff Jenkins into right (which means Werth's bat, right after it strokes a well-hit flyball, is out of the game). Lefty Scott Eyre to face the left-handed Fielder.

Bottom 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
In case you're wondering, Joe Blanton vs. Jeff Suppan, 1 p.m. start tomorrow. Hall puts it in right-center, but Villanueva mercifully pulls up at third. Braun and Fielder are next folks. And like I said, I would feel pretty comfortable with them up and the bases loaded for the Brewers. Dubee visits, presumably to discuss Sunday's itinerary.

Bottom 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Fire Manuel, hire Dale Sveum! Villanueva lines one up the middle for a base hit. Cameron follows with an eerily similar-looking single. Get ready for Sunday, folks.

Bottom 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
In happier news, Vanderbilt maintains its slim lead over Auburn midway through the fourth quarter. In related news, I read an item this week speculating Tommy Tuberville might be the next coach at Clemson. Coincidence? There is no such thing. By the way, the day Charlie Manuel is named manager of the Mets would be the greatest day of my life, hands down. Chad Durbin faces Kendall to begin the inning, and grounds out to short. Pinch hitter is .... great time for a recap here, TBS ... no, it's Villanueva!

Mid 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Replay confirms Howard might have been safe at first. But Manuel didn't feel it was worth getting his fat ass out of the dugout to argue. Burrell ground to third and, with the leadoff man at third, no one out, and the heart of the order up, the Phils get just one run.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Some face time for the TBS crew. Chipping away at this isn't going to work for the Phillies unless the bullpen is airtight, which is probably won't be. Villanueva is indeed the man on the mound. Huge at-bat for Burrell. Let's hope he doesn't still think it's 2006.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 1
Howard with a little tapper to third, Werth scores, and Hall, who was perhaps too patient with the ball, barely nabs Howard at first. Two gone, and now Stetter gone, too. I assume now it will be Villanueva. Baby steps. It's Burrell's inning now.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Why, TBS, Why? Joe Carter's home run is today's "Game-Changing Moment", brought to you by Viagra. This is just wrong on so many levels. It's Stetter, the lefty, in to face Howard.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Utley, on a full count, pops it up to shallow center. Hardy under it. Werth isn't going. Dammit. And we have a pitching change as both managers go to a quick hook. Not clear if it's Stetter or Villanueva.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
The Phillies now in a position where they must capitalize. Mitch Stetter and Carlos Villanueva up in the Brewers bullpen. 3-1 count to Utley.

Top 6th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
OK, so Werth is up, and we'll see if the No. 2 and No. 6 spots can remain hitless tonight, or if the Phillies get another leadoff man on who they can waste. Whoa! Corey Hart appeared to make an amazing catch on a long fly that went to the warning track. Hart caught it, slammed into the wall, fell to the ground, and the ball rolled out as he hit the ground. Werth chugs into third with a triple. Sveum out to argue it was a catch, to no avail.

End 5th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Nice job almost picking off Fielder. Good try. Clearly, the Phils need to get their outs however they can get them from now on. Called strike three! All right Brian Runge! I agree with my commenter: someone is getting thrown out for arguing balls and strikes at some point tonight.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Hart walks on four pitches and the bases are loaded for Counsell, whom Anderson notes is the Brewers' best hitter, statistically, with the bases loaded. Yeah, but I'd still rather have Braun or Fielder up, Brian. Nice job trying to justify your fraudulent appointment to this series though. 2-0 count on Counsell.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Hardy flies right to Werth for the second out. If someone wants to pony up the funds, I'll go squat on 2-0 count to Corey Hart.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 3, Phillies 0
Braun hits a sac fly to left, and Burrell foolishly tries to throw out Cameron at home. The throw is cut off as Hall, who could have been prevented from getting to second base on the play, instead is in scoring position with 1 out. Fielder is being intentionally walked.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Vandy leads Auburn now 14-13. I may need to drown my sorrows in football if this Phillies game winds up the way it's going. I don't want to see the Cubs-Dodgers if the Phillies lose. I'll have to take a short baseball vacation. Bouncing ball up the middle and it's a base hit for Hall. Cameron speeds into third. My ire at Manuel knows no bounds at the moment. You are so lucky this game isn't in Philly, Charlie.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
You just don't yank a 16-game winner after he's given up only two runs in four innings. I don't care if he's 45 years old. You just don't. Ball four winds up hitting Mike Cameron, and Condrey cheaply escapes getting dinged for a base on balls.

Bottom 5th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Yes, Moyer had thrown 90 pitches in four innings. No, he clearly didn't have his best stuff. But he looked better every inning, and had just completed his first 1-2-3 inning. I just don't get this move. Clay Condrey into the game to face Cameron.

Top 5th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
What the hell? Moyer was finally getting rolling, and Manuel pulls him? Stairs is pinch hitting. Goddammit, this sucks. The Phils are stuck with a doofus manager who won't get fired because his players are too good in spite of him. Stairs flies out to center (no surprise). Now Rollins pops up to Hardy at short. Boooooooo!

Top 5th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Hey, a bullfight broke out! Hall and Hardy do the matador routine on Feliz's groundball and yet another Phillie leadoff man is on. Not much hope here, as it's 8-9-1 up. But never underestimate Chooch Ruiz! Or Cooch, as TBS calls him. In case you missed it, TBS screwed up his nickname in a graphic during Game 1. Thank god it's cable, or the FCC would have levied a $10 trillion fine to offset the bailout. Ah, but Ruiz lines out to right. What a pussy!

End 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Vanderbilt has it in the red zone down 13-7 to Auburn in the third quarter. God love the SEC! You know, I always thought there would be another pro league to challenge the NFL's supremacy, and now here it is.

Bottom 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Full count to Jason Kendall, whom I will always regard as a Pirate, if not because he played there for so many years but because he looks like one. When he retires, the Pirates should just make his face the logo, plus the requisite eye-patch, silly hat, etc. Kendall grounds out to third, and Bush grounds to short to end the inning. Moyer clearly settling down. So is my heartrate.

Bottom 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
That's a bruised knee for Weeks, Anderson tells us. But why should I believe him? Weeks could be reeling from a cocaine bender, and Anderson would never tell us. Counsell grounds out to short.

Mid 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Barack Obama ad running. Do we have a McCain ad to follow? No, it's a Unisom spot. Well, that makes sense. Counsell's first at-bat to start the bottom of the inning.

Mid 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
OK, 2-o count to the Flyin' Hawaiian, who hits one hard up the middle, right to Hardy at short! So that's three innings with the leadoff man on and no runs. Manuel considering starting Matt Stairs in centerfield tomorrow.

Top 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Burrell with a soft fly to Hart in right field, and it's all up to ... guess what! The No. 6 hitter, Shane Victorino! Manuel would clearly be agitated, if he had any idea what was going on.

Top 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Full count to Howard. Utley running, and it's a good thing, since Howard hits a grounder to Counsell at second that otherwise would have been a double-play ball. Now it's 0-2 to Burrell. Suddenly it seems like 2006 all over again!

Top 4th, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Craig Counsell now at second for the Brewers, as apparently Rickie Weeks hurt his ankle on that last play. Utley singles to right, and the Phils have their leadoff man on for the third straight inning. Let's see how they fail to knock him home this time!

End 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Hey, nice! Weeks singles into left field, but Werth fields it and fires to first in time to get him as he makes too big a turn. If he can't get it done at the plate, at least he can do it in the field. Manuel now contemplating moving Werth to left field.

Bottom 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Swing and miss, strike three to Fielder! I've been sitting on this pic, so now seems about as good a time as any to pull it out. Behold, Moyer's rookie card:
J.J. Hardy promptly singles to right, therefore discouraging those with cardboard and really, really good laser printers at home.

Bottom 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Hey, now we get our own homer, David Aldridge, with a report from "the sidelines." Sideline reporter does not equal play-by-play man, TBS, no matter what Craig Sager tells you. Braun flies meekly out to right.

Mid 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
So TBS shows a replay indicating that if Dave Bush had rolled the ball up to the plate on the pitch that got Werth in the first inning, Werth still would have swung. He makes him look bad again as it's now 0-for-3 with 2Ks for the No. 2 and No. 6 spots today. Brian Anderson says, "They're slamming helmets in Philadelphia right now." Go fuck yourself, Brian!

Top 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
So I am reminded Kendrick has been left off the playoff roster. So I guess J.A. Happ is the Phillies' longman. Which reminds me that he made Baseball America's All-Class AAA team this year. Really. I would never have guessed this either. Moyer "plays pepper with Bush," as Anderson says, as he taps back to the mound. Ah, but Rollins takes one down the left-field line for a ground-rule double! And here comes Manuel Watch: Werth is up in the No. 2 spot.

Top 3rd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
So I don't know if this is going national, but there's a commercial for a class-action lawsuit related to a drug that was used to treat pancreatitis. I may wind up taking back what I said about FrankTV. Ruiz flies out quickly to right. Moyer batting for himself, thank God.

End 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
This is the pic currently running on the Yahoo MLB front page.
Says it all, doesn't it? Full count to Hall. Called strike three! Thank you Brian Runge!

Bottom 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Here comes Rich Dubee again, and this time it's a full infield meeting. Please tell me we are not nearing Kendrick time.

Bottom 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Joe Simpson mentions the Brewers were batting .215 with a 3-2 count. Which would indicate you ought to throw strikes to them. Sadly, Moyer does not, and walks him to bring up Hall with two outs. Sigh.

Bottom 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Bouncing ball to Pedro Feliz (anglicized name: Peter Happy), who fires a bullet to first to nip Weeks. Anderson refers to Feliz as a potential Gold Glove third baseman in the making. He's 33 and has been in the Majors since 2000. If he hasn't won a Gold Glove by now, Brian ... Kendall pokes one through into left field for a single, and Bush bunts him to second. It's up to Cameron with two outs. Cue Ferris Bueller reference.

Bottom 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
I've never seen Miller Park from a blimp before, and I have to say ... that is one weird roof. I'd say it looks like the Sydney Opera House, but that's only a vague resemblance. More like ... some Lego project you screwed up on when you were a kid. Moyer's wildness continues as he runs it 3-1 on Weeks.

Mid 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Feliz with a weak fly ball that Braun covers for the third out. The humor level of any and all advertising done by financial institutions has surged immeasurably in recent weeks. Travelers Insurance is the latest unfortunate. By which I mean, they ran an ad, not that they went under! Stop panicking!

Top 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Sharply hit grounder to Hall, who double-pumps to make sure Howard stays at second before firing to first for the out. Smoltz makes the obligatory quarterbacking reference, and Victorino flies out to center. So, if you're counting, and I know you are, that's 0-for-2 for Werth and Victorino today. The Manuel watch continues.

Top 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Burrell looking for his first hit of the series. Bah, it's over in Tuscaloosa, Tide wins. Saban uber alles.

Top 2nd, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Nice job, Kentucky. Now go get that onside-kick! Alabama 17, Kentucky 14, under a minute to go. Whoops! Wrong live blog. Hey, Howard strokes one into left for a good-looking double to lead it off.

End 1st, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
C'mon, I do NOT want my first full live blog of the season to be a Phillies loss! Apparently there was a defensive miscue by Burrell on the Hardy hit. I didn't get a look at it on-screen so I'll have to wait for a replay to see if it was too egregious. Nonetheless, Hart mercifully strikes out and the inning is done.

Bottom 1st, Brewers 2, Phillies 0
Base hit to right for Hardy, and Braun scores. Not good. And now it's 2-0 on Hart.

Bottom 1st, Brewers 1, Phillies 0
Sac fly for Prince Fielder, and Cameron scores easily as the throw goes into third base, still too late to get Braun. Ah, but it could be worse. If vegetarian Fielder had eaten a steak anytime in the last year, that could have been a homer. (Of course, that's assuming you believe Fielder is actually a vegetarian. If he is, he and his waistline are the perfect example of a midwestern vegetarian.)

Bottom 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
Letting go of Ryan Braun had to be the biggest regret of my fantasy season. I cut him loose after a slow start in April, and by the All-Star Game he was the starting third baseman for the National League. Ah, but my fantasy regrets are few, as the Phlorida Phils won the Philly Freedom (might we change it to Phreedom?) league for the first time. I'm still giddy. It's been an unmitigated baseball high all week. But I think it's about to be mitigated. 3-2 count to Braun. Ah, but luck continues to shine! A pop up to Feliz, who's got it for the first out of the inning.

Bottom 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
I know this is territory that has been covered already in this series, but c'mon, TBS! You have four different play-by-play guys to assign to four different series, and you don't prevent the massive conflict of interest that is Brian Anderson, a Brewers employee, calling the Phils-Brewers series for you? I guarantee if Charles Barkley were part of their coverage, he would call the network out for this. And why isn't Barkley a part of this? I don't care if he knows anything about baseball or not (and he probably does). He'd be a hell of a lot of fun and probably improve ratings. Uh-oh. Hall walks, and the ball skips away from Ruiz to allow the runners to move up to second and third. Now, a visit from Rich Dubee. Still no one out.

Bottom 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
I must admit this has been a strange day for me. I was at work all day, which isn't too uncommon for a Saturday, unfortunately, but there was a power outage right before it was time to go home. For no really good reason. Sure, it was raining, but that place has held its power through crazy Florida thunderstorms all summer. And now it poops out? Let's hope it's not a Moyer metaphor. Full count to Hall.

Bottom 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
No one has had at least 10 wins to led his team in victories on the mound since Satchel Paige did it in 1952, until Jamie Moyer did so this season. He won 16 games at the age of 45. Ah, but time catches up with us all. He walks Cameron on four pitches.

Mid 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
No self-respecting baseball fan should ever tune into Frank TV under any circumstances. This advertising onslaught for the second straight year calls for a full-scale boycott.

Top 1st, Phillies 0, Brewers 0
OK, so as we know, the Phillies lead 2-0, looking to eliminate the Brewers in the best of 5 NLDS. Jimmy Rollins strikes out swinging to begin, bringing up Jayson Werth, whom Charlie Manuel has put back in the 2nd spot. Simpson is already questioning the decision to switch back after a successful reversal of Werth and Victorino, who is batting sixth today, in Game 2. Werth affirms Simpson's words by making it back-to-back strikeouts to start it out for Bush. Now that's Bushit! And yet there's more, as Utley chops weakly back to the mound. 1-2-3 inning.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Half-ass Brewers-Phillies live blog!

OK, so here we go. Due to some unforeseen disruptions that I actually foresaw a week ago, when I told my girlfriend I would take her to the beach, we are starting late on the live blog of the National League Division Series Game 1 between the Brewers and Phillies from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. But no matter. Cole Hamels has it under control for the Phils, who lead 3-0, apparently en route to a 1-0 series lead. Let's see if they can avoid blowing it!

Phillies 3, Brewers 1, Aftermath
OK, so to recap, Utley gets a big two-out double to drive home Hamels (!) and Ruiz, Gallardo walks Victorino to score a third run, and that's all the Phillies, behind Hamels, need. Utley gets the friendly interview from David Aldridge (conflict of interest is almost as rampant in sports journalism as it is in real journalism now!), and faces CC Sabathia with the pressure squarely on the Brewers tomorrow. I've got a campaign meeting tomorrow, so no Game 2 live blog, but we'll see what we can do about firing it up again for Game 3 (because, you know, what's better than staring at your computer screen on a Saturday night?). Thanks for joining me for this sorry excuse for a live blog. But hey, I still say I'm better at blogging than Manuel is at his job.

Phillies 3, Brewers 1, Final
Another swing and a miss, and the Phillies have done it! That's right, they have won a postseason game for the first time since Curt Schilling beat Toronto on Oct. 21, 1993. So that's two birds with one stone: the Phils get a big win, and Schillings memory fades one step farther into the mist. Nice!

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 1
You know, it's nasty and rainy in Philadelphia, and here in Florida my girlfriend is talking about how she thinks she got a nice tan today. Yup, I made the right call on the location thing. Oh yeah, the game: Hardy walks, and suddenly the winning run comes to the plate. Corey Hart is up, and oh, no! A pitch in the dirt gets past Ruiz and all Hart needs is a base hit. 1-2 count.

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Saaaaaaaawing and a miss! Lidge threw a high fastball right past him, and the freeswinging Brew Crew does what they do best: strike out. Two outs and J.J. Hardy is up.

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Do you walk Fielder here? Manuel says no. So I guess that means we should have walked him. I (horrors!) do not agree. You've got an opportunity for a K here, and now it's a 1-2 count. Don't give the Brewers anything. Lidge wastes one, then Fielder stays alive with a foul tip. Now a visit to the mound by Ruiz. Another foul tip, another ball outside and the drama builds as I nefariously end this update here with the count 3-2!

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 1
Lovely. Full count on Braun. Little liner down the right field line ... fair ball! Durham pulls up at third, but then keeps chugging home as Werth has trouble getting the ball back in. He scores, and it's 3-1 with a runner on second and one out. Hoo boy.

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
Ray Durham, this year's candidate for midseason acquisition you're most likely to forget, does not do much for his case by roping a single into right-center. Ryan Braun up, Prince Fielder to follow. What was that I said about agreeing with Manuel?

Top of the 9th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
I'm all for starters pitching more innings, but I have to agree with the call to go with Brad Lidge here in a save situation in the ninth. He's 41-for-41 in save situations after all, and after two days without games you have to make sure he's sharp as you move forward in the playoffs. Wow ... I'm agreeing with Charlie Manuel. I think I definitely spent too much time in the sun today. Mike Cameron goes down looking to begin the inning. Two outs to go!

End of the 8th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
Note to Pedro Feliz: No hard liners down the third base line when Howard is on third base. The big guy had to burn about half a Subway sandwich contorting his body to avoid that one. Feliz hits a soft looper over second base that miiiiight fall, no. It's Craig Counsell with an over-the-shoulder catch. Wait, Craig Counsell? How on earth has this guy managed to get his way into the lineup of a playoff team every other year? If they only played baseball in October, this guy would be a Hall of Famer. And probably a lot richer, too.

Bottom of the 8th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
Goodness, the Brewers have a lot of tubby pitchers! Mota is most certainly on the CC Sabathia diet. I guess it's in keeping with the relative rotundity of Milwaukee. Which makes me wonder why you never saw more morbidly obese characters on "Happy Days" or "Laverne and Shirley"? Victorino steals second as it's Feliz, and maybe Ruiz, with the chance to knock in the insurance runs. Brad Lidge warming in the bullpen.

Bottom of the 8th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
The Brewers undoing today? A critical error in the third inning by Rickie Weeks. None of the three runs given up by Yovani Gallardo were earned, but you can bet the five walks he issued didn't help. Nor did the fact the most obvious nickname for him is "Lardo." Wonder if Yost would have gone with him? But that's fantasy. Here's a fact: Brewers pitch around Howard and he goes to first on a walk with one out. Bruntlett follows with an infield single and it's ducks on the pond, 1st and 2nd, for Shane Victorino. Double-play ball! Ah, but you can't double up the Flyin' Hawaiian. Runners on the corners, two outs and we get a pitching change. Ex-Met Gullermo Mota coming in. This should be fun.

Bottom of the 8th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0
How's this for a pitching line from your ace to begin the playoffs? Hamels: 8 IP, 2 H, 0R, 9 K, 1 BB. Chase Utley has driven in two of the Phils' 3 runs, all of which came in the 3rd inning. This is how you draw it up. Lefthander Manny Parra is the fourth Brewer pitcher as he faces Chase Utley to begin the inning.

Top of the 8th, Phillies 3, Brewers 0

Eric Bruntlett in left and a quick drag bunt attempt by Tony Gwynn Jr., to no avail, as we begin the 8th. Actually, no need to write the Jr. in there, as Tony Gwynn Sr., who is working the Cubs-Dodgers series along with Dick Stockton for TBS, is about as likely to attempt a bunt in drag as to attempt. a drag bunt.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

They don't make dog kidneys like they used to

It's always fun to read The New York Times. It's one of the most venerable establishments we have in this country, and it's railed against every day by right-wing pundits for allegedly being part of the leftist counterculture. Such is life in this strange world.

Fraught with this bipolar dilemma, The Times editors do make some curious decisions on occasion. But I don't think anyone there had anything to do with a pair of wire stories that ran consecutively in the "News from AP and Reuters" box on (see illustration). If you read both these items, you would have seen some deft spin-meistering from AP's CEO, who's atop an industry just hemorrhaging ad money, juxtaposed with a somber adieu to Paw Paw, Martha Stewart's beloved pup.

So let's say reading those two stories didn't make you hyperventilate and/or start babbling incoherently to yourself. Well, relax. Just scroll down to the item labeled "Summering in Connecticut, Wintering in Rio," click, and read about how the other half lives. You'll be over in the corner and balled up in the fetal position in no time!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saddam Oil

So, after reading this story today about a station that sold really cheap gas, I couldn't help but think about this segment from Michael Moore's old "The Awful Truth" show. Granted, it's a little dated, but, then, so is this whole Iraq conflict. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Theo Epstein's Book Club

For about an hour this afternoon, an eerie sense of uncertainty hung over the ballpark just a few blocks from my house. The Spring Training game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays was delayed as the Red Sox threatened to boycott the team's trip to Japan, upon which they were scheduled to depart at 5:30 p.m. The players were fuming over what they believed had been empty promises about the perks involved in the 19-day trip, chiefly the $40,000 bonuses they thought should be extended to the team's coaches. Thousands of fans at City of Palms Park, a national ESPN television audience, Japanese baseball faithful and Major League Baseball officials were all cast into a nervous state of limbo.

And to think, I could have resolved all of this the night before with a few extra swipes of Theo Epstein's American Express Gold Card.

The Boston Red Sox GM came through my line at Barnes & Noble Tuesday night to pick up a few books, most notably "The Thin Red Line" by James Jones and Ian McEwan's "Atonement." This led my friend Alan to wonder aloud if Epstein only reads books that have been made with the words "Now a Major Motion Picture" on the cover. I think he only reads titles likely to be co-opted as ESPN promo tag lines for Red Sox-Yankees Sunday Night Baseball games.

Regardless, Epstein showed no signs of a man who's team was about to do some major rabble-rousing the next day. Instead, he seemed fairly laid-back and easy-going, so much so that he seemed just like you're average 30-ish young professional just stopping in for some weekend reading before heading back to the 'burbs to rest up for the next day in a soul-sucking job as a middle manager at an architectural firm. (Or something like that.) In other words, one of the guys. Who just happened to look a lot like that hotshot young wheeler-dealer of the Sox who built two World Series champions for a franchise that was never supposed to have one. I was about to bring up that resemblance when I looked down at the credit card he handed me and saw "Theo Epstein" (not, in case you were wondering, Theodore) in unmistakeable raised plastic lettering.

I decided to engage him a bit and wish him well, but since I had already done the conventional, "hope you have a good season" when I shook Manny Ramirez's hand by the newsstand, I decided to up the ante a bit.

"I hope you make Hank Steinbrenner eat his words!" I said as I bagged his purchase.

He paused for a split second as he seemed to strain for a proper response.

"Those are a lot of words," he replied.

"All he does is talk," I said, for some reason channeling my inner Wilbon as I gestured with one hand and handed him the bag with the other. "Yap yap yap yap yap!"

Theo, smartly, ended things here with a pleasant but short goodbye, and acknowledged the brief greeting of the man behind him in line before leaving. That next guy turned out to be a beat writer for the Boston Herald (Michael Silverman, if I remember correctly), which explains why Epstein was being so careful about what he said. Not that I would expect him to start venting about Hank's Spaulding-Smails-esque invective just anywhere, but still. Someone, somewhere has to call Hank on his shit. And what happens next will be Atonement, with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, Sunday Night at 8, with Baseball Tonight starting at 7!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Candidates playing horse

By Raoul Duke III
Sports Writer

In a shocking turn of events, representatives of the three leading candidates for president of the United States agreed in principle to have the outcome of the election determined by the results of the Kentucky Derby.

Democratic Party frontrunners Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has clinched the number of delegates necessary for the Republican nomination, are willing to end their candidacies if the 134th running of the prestigious thoroughbred horse race, set for May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., does not go in their favor.

A key member of each presidential hopeful's staff was present at the press conference Saturday at the historic track to announce the plan. Obama, Clinton and McCain will each select a horse from this year's field; if one of those horses wins the race, the other two candidates will drop out, thus effectively clinching the presidency for the remaining senator.

"It seems like a pretty good idea to me," said Joe Millsap, a senior McCain advisor who addressed a throng of 150 reporters jammed into a grandstand assembly room. "I mean, this shortens the race by about five months, and that's five fewer months we have to spend worrying about how to chase Rush Limbaugh away from the buffet tables at our rallies."

Weary Clinton aide Phillip Marcum seemed anxious to end an 18-month slog toward a shot at the presidency, which at this point appeared to resemble the denoument stage of a cautionary documentary about the rise of machines made by Pennsylvania Luddites.

"Hillary-bot is showing serious signs of wear, and several key titanium panels are beginning to rust," Marcum said. "A largely arbitrary animal contest sounds like a risky proposition, but it's probably the only shot we have left."

Obama volunteer Josh Lumpkin was most excited about the deal, despite his candidate's surge of popularity in recent months.

"I'm psyched about this election, because I know our horse is going to win," Lumpkin said. "I have a feeling about this horse. And when I have a feeling like this, I'm hardly ever wrong. I was already wrong about this when I had a feeling like this about the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, so I figure my bad luck is over for the year. This is a lead-pipe lock."

Lumpkin said the campaign has already tabbed Speak Hard, an obscure gelding whose eligibility for the Derby is in doubt, to be the horse that represents Obama. Clinton has chosen Plastic Fantastic, a filly renowned for its sound, fundamental running technique, while McCain is going with a battle-tested mudder named Black Beauty.

Lumpkin endured the harshest questioning of the afternoon, fielding speculation about the possibility of a gambling addiction as well as the legitimacy of his ties to the Obama campaign.
"I attended Gamblers Anonymous for five years, ending right in time for football season last year, so I'm clean as far as that goes," he said. "And as for this Obama guy, let's just say I've got a feeling about him, too."

If none of the three horses chosen by the candidates winds up in the winner's circle, the conventional presidential race will continue.

Unless, of course, there's a similar bet made on the Preakness Stakes, the next of the three Triple Crown races.

"Have I got a horse for you in that race!" Lumpkin said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In case you missed SportsCenter today ...

By Raoul Duke III
Freelance correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressional hearings on steroid use in sports lurched into their 19th day Wednesday, highlighted by the dramatic testimony of Roger Clemens.

Clemens denied using steroids, provoking House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to bang his gavel feverishly and shout "Heretic!" so loudly it reverberated off the walls.

"How on earth do you expect this ridiculous charade to keep going if you don't confess?!" Waxman barked to Clemens. "If this thing ever ends I may actually have to indict someone from the Bush administration, and that would make Rush Limbaugh yell at me. And I'm afraid of that."

Clemens, shaken by Waxman's outburst, began babbling incoherently about his wife, his nanny and the chemicals they "may or may not have" dropped in George Steinbrenner's drool cup.

Waxman interrupted Clemens and began droning on at length about Andy Petitte until he finally ran out of breath, at which time trainer Brian McNamee was brought to the stand. Waxman wasted no time getting to pointed, relevant questions.

"Did you inject Roger Clemens in the ass with steroids, or are you, in fact, a lying weasel?" Waxman asked.

"Yes, yes I did. And I enjoyed it, sir," McNamee responded.

"Well, we'll see about that," Waxman continued. "Because if you are a weasel, Mr. McNamee, I should know. I am part weasel myself, as you can see by looking at my face. I have a distateful weasel face, Mr. McNamee, and you know it!"

"Roger enjoyed it, too."

" ... you know what song plays when you crank a jack-in-the-box? Pop Goes the Weasel! That's me, the weasel! ... "

Waxman appeared content to go on with this inane banter until Sen. Arlen Specter burst into the room, dragging NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by the collar.

"Where are they?! Where are the tapes?!" the senator screamed.

Goodell, thrown to the floor by Specter, got up and approached the stand, where he said he would divulge the whereabouts of the infamous "Spygate" tapes as long as he could be allowed to throw Kelvin Sampson in jail.

"My sole purpose in life is to throw young black men in jail on specious grounds," Goodell said. "This is a cause I know to be very near and dear to the hearts of many in this room. Sampson may not be young, but I beseech you to afford me this important opportunity!"

Many in the committee then began to nod their heads and mumble in agreement until they realized that they had fully exhausted the day without doing a damn thing for the good of the country.

Former MLB star Jose Canseco was seen in the hallway after the hearings, where he held court with several reporters.

"Yeah, I know where the Spygate tapes are," he said. "I'm actually writing a book about it. $25.95. Hyperion Press. Send me an extra $10 for shipping and handling and I'll autograph it, and for $20 extra, I'll include a polaroid of me injecting steroids into the ass of one of 40 Major League All-Stars! Collect 'em all!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What do you mean I just voted for Mike Gravel?

Far gone are the days when you could walk around proudly with an "I voted" button the day after performing your most sacred democratic duty on election day.

No, those of us lucky enough to live in one of 15 Florida counties that have bought voting machines from Election Systems & Software were given an "I voted touchscreen" sticker at our polling places today. So I got to stride confidently out of my precinct today, needing only to look down at the new decoration on my lapel to ensure myself that my voice had been heard. Whether it was heard well enough to decipher "Barack Obama" from "Pat Buchanan" is anyone's guess. It is almost but not quite as much of a scarlet letter as an "I voted butterfly ballot" sticker would be. Ultimately, the state would have been a lot better off investing in "I voted, probably" stickers a long time ago, since touchscreens, like butterfly ballots and the index cards used by the Soviet Politburo, are going to the scrapheap of discarded voting methodology, much to the dismay of fans of Filipino sweatshops.

That's right. Florida has mandated a switch to optical scan machines, which means we'll need new stickers. So maybe there's hope for the Filipino sweatshops after all. I'm fairly certain that if we don't get stickers, there will be some way we voters can be used as free billboards for corrupt, exploitative and fundamentally flawed mechanical manufacturers. I shudder to think of having to get "This vote brought to you by Ford" tattooed on my forehead in a few years. At least they could make it a foreign automaker, you know? Not to sound as though I don't appreciate American-made products, but I'm pretty sure as soon as I get the word "Ford" put on my body I will immediately lose the ability to run. Within a day or two I expect I'll only be able to lurch forward furtively every 15 or 20 seconds while making a troublesome clicking sound. Have you driven a Ford lately?

So with or without the aid of shady voting machine companies, Hillary Clinton won all the Democratic nondelegates and John McCain claimed a victory that let it be known that institutionalized cannibalism may fly for a little while in Cambodia, but Americans aren't quite ready to accept it just yet. What, you don't think Mitt Romney eats babies? Check out his health care plan. Even better news is it looks like Jeff and I were wrong about Giuliani. That means it might finally be Sept. 12, 2001 in the Republican party. Well, welcome to the future guys. Hope you enjoy your stay. Feel free to use the jetpacks and hover-cars as soon as you remember you're still six and a half years behind the times. And that's just from a foreign policy standpoint. Well, good luck in Iraq, and say hello to the Taliban. Maybe you guys can talk about your 2,000 year old social positions and find some common ground. The rest of us will be waiting, but we won't be holding our breath -- we've got a whole set of new stickers to play with!

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's all about the O

Since declaring my support for the John Edwards campaign, I've begun to vacillate regularly between his old-school progressive screeds and the new, post-Civil Rights Era, post-1990s, post-Bush, post-modern, post-script, post-partum, post-brand cerals, post-no bills, ex-post-facto rhetoric of Barack Obama. Yesterday may well have been a tipping point.

My sister had a run-in with the Edwards people, who trespassed their way into her carport, where she felt they most certainly should not have been, and where they left some campaign materials on the eve of the primary in South Carolina, where she lives. She also very nearly had an encounter with Obama at a restaurant where he was rumored to be stopping just hours after he learned of his 28-point victory. She left after it became apparent he wouldn't show.

But these personal experiences once removed aside, it has become apparent by Obama's stirring victories in Iowa and South Carolina and more strikingly by the distant, discouraging third-place finish Edwards had last night that it is time to back a new horse in the horse race. For better or worse, I'm buying into the idea that Obama's words may harbor as much political prowess as promise, that he can bring us closer to true cultural and economic equality and that he is the one man who can stop a Hillary Clinton nomination, a subsequent election of another neocon and the continued festering of America and the world. In other words, help me, Obama-won; you're my only hope.

So now I won't have to agonize in the voting booth Tuesday in the Florida primary election. I can cast my ballot with a clear mind and purpose, knowing deep down in my heart that maybe, just maybe, the touchscreen machine I use will not misinterpret or discard my vote. It is a uniquely American experience, after all, to stride with the dignity of knowing there's a chance, however great or small, that I may or may not have just participated in the democratic process. Someday soon my country may run as efficiently and effectively as Canada, or Norway, or even Slovenia. And that, my friends, is a stirring reminder of just what it means to live
here in the good ol' U. S. of A.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Always look on the bright side of life ...

These presidential primaries have sure been riveting, don't you think? I, myself, can't wait for the next manu- factured race-based row, mindless "debate" or camera shot of glass-eyed, fervent and quite possibly clinically rabid supporters at a post-caucus rally. Can't you sense my enthusiasm whenever I catch word of one of these events as I run pell-mell to the bathroom to puke?

William Shakespeare had a line of some repute about that which was "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Simon & Garfunkel's were more specific about "going to the candidates debate -- laugh about it, shout about it when you've got to choose, every way you look at it you lose." It's not that these lines-come-axioms ring entirely true, as there are a few lessons to be learned from this early election season, and it's nonetheless important to keep a wide eye on one's democracy whenever it's in action. Yet the single most pertinent and lasting impression one can take from the sound and fury of Iowa two weeks ago to the laughing and shouting of South Carolina and Nevada today is that we're careening toward a grim and brutal Giuliani presidency.

You wouldn't know this from reading the New York Times on Sunday. In the South Carolina wrap written by Michael Cooper and Megan Thee, the lone mention of the neo-cons chosen one is in this graf:

"The campaign now heads to Florida, where Mr. McCain faces another challenge: Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has been advertising heavily and campaigning nearly nonstop there. His campaign hopes a win there will rescue his faltering candidacy."

This is not to suggest the Times is unaware of Giuliani's strategy, to sit out the early, small-state primaries to concentrate on the big three of Florida, California and New York. Yet today's story is a classic example of what happens when you fail to employ proper context in journalism. John McCain's victory is ultimately less symbolic of his redemption in the state where he had been mauled by Karl Rove's sleazeball smear tactics eight years ago and more about a further muddled Republican field that has failed to produce a clear favorite in the early going and therefore created a gaping opportunity for the ascent of Giuliani, the latest darling of the very political machine that did in McCain in 2000.

The news from Nevada, where Hillary Clinton turned back Barack Obama yet again, leads to the same conclusion. Clinton is the torch bearer for the Democratic Leadership Committee, an arm of the Democratic Party that has as much grip, if not more so, on their party as the neocons have on the Republicans. As beloved as she is by the cowardly Blue Dog Democratic braintrust, she has long been reviled for a myriad of reasons by right-wingers of all stripes. There is no one for whom the Republican noise machine is more prepared. The same attacks that Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch and their like propagated against Bill Clinton, the endless mass-media screeds that brought about a needless impeachment for transgressions far less significant than those who had occupied the oval office 10 or 20 years earlier, or five years later, are once more in the quiver. The first name may have changed, but the Clinton name, and all its connections and all its achievements and all its embarrassments, for all it has meant to so many people, is back. And it's just what the Republicans have been waiting for. If they could impeach her husband on specious claims that pale in comparison to the unpunished high crimes and misdemeanors of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the Republicans can most certainly shove Giuliani, who is just as dangerous, just as petulant, just as ignorant and just as unfit for the presidency of the United States as Bush, past Hillary Clinton and into the White House.

And it is happening before our eyes, whether we choose to open them or not. As much as I'd like to cringe and squint them closed, I can only watch in dread and horror. And in realization that there is still a chance that I'm wrong. In realization that the people hold the power, and all government exists at the will of the people. In realization that the standard of life for most Americans, worsening progressively for 30 years now, must only go so low before even the most fatalistic amongst them will begin to wonder what can be done to take destiny into their own hands. As those who have hijacked the democracy become increasingly brazen in their audacity, the solution that is knowledge, thought and ultimately involvement will become ever more obvious.

That is apparent to me, and that is why I'm working on this campaign. Sure, the room that comes with the gig is nice, and necessary, but to contribute to that which I find vitally important for the well-being of my community, my culture, my society, my country, my planet and myself is the true passion and meaning of life.

By the way, now that I've discovered the meaning of life, do feel free to worship me as a deity. Hey, if it worked for Monty Python, why can't it work for me?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

You can feel safe again: This post is 100 percent Japanese-baseball-clip free!

Hello again, cyberpeoples! Did you enjoy a week of the bizarre Japanese baseball video as the top post on the blog as much as I did? If your answer is "I enjoyed it about as much as a root canal without anesthetic," then yes, you enjoyed it exactly as much as I did. What can I say guys? A man with two jobs gets busy. (Oh, I'm sorry, have I used this excuse before? Like, 10,000 times before? I'm sorry. My brain shut down about two-thirds of the way into that Japanese baseball video, causing me to lose most of my memory. My sincerest apologies! Now will someone please help me remember where I live?)

There's plenty going on right now I can talk about, like ...

1. Hillary's back!

Chuck's take: I defer here to my friend Jim, who summed it up succintcly in a text message sent about 10:30 p.m. the night of the primary -- "I hate everyone in the state of New Hampshire right now."

2. The NFL Divisional Playoffs

Chuck's take: Always the best weekend of football. And every year I have something I'm obligated to get done this weekend. This weekend needs to have stronger promotion behind it, so people will realize its actually better to schedule key work and social engagements involving football fans the weekend of the Super Bowl. It's impossible to get anything else done on a weekend that four titanic football games take place at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Unless you want to do something early on Saturday (and if you do, I doubt you have many friends), I'm booked. Super Sunday is quite the opposite. Unless you want to do something on Sunday night ... well, who does anything on Sunday night? (And again, if you do, you should realize most of the people you know quietly resent you, and when you're together with a group of friends and you get up to go to the bathroom, that awkward silence that follows when you return to the table is indeed because they were making jokes at your expense while you were gone.)

3. The News-Press editorial that defends the two-party system

Chuck's take: It's always comforting to know that ideas dismissed as mistakes, flaws and excuses for the nefarious will always have a place in mainstream media. And it's comforting to know where that place is, so I can avoid it.

All right, I'm cutting this short. It's time to go to work. I could go on a little bit longer and cut into my grooming, dressing or driving time, but my coworkers just aren't ready for pantsless Chuck yet. Pity.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What I learned from a 25 year old Japanese video

From YouTube:

After watching this for about five minutes, I settled on three conclusions:

1. Do not mess with Steve!
2. Don't trust whitey. We Americans are a belligerent lot. Or maybe we just look funny on Japanese blooper reels. One of the two.
3. Japanese baseball simply must be shown on American television, and not just as replacement programming during the writers' strike. We're missing out on way too much entertainment here. Plus, they've got team names like the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Hiroshima Carp. How could you not root for a team named after a placid, ubiquitous and easily catchable fish from a city most famous for being hit with a nuclear bomb? Say what you will about the long-suffering and meek-sounding Cubs, but Wrigley Field was never a fallout zone.