Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the culinary highlights of jacksonville

Jacksonville may not be known for food, but we managed to do okay. Here are the highlights, day by day.

Wednesday: Aqua Grill
Seafood Chowder, Fried Green Tomatoes, Vidalia Onion-Crusted Mahi-Mahi with Sweet Potato Crisps, Key Lime Pie

Thursday: Columbia Restaurant (St. Augustine)
Paella (shrimp, chicken and sausage) with a Mojito

Friday: Verrette's
Homemade seafood gumbo, barbecued ribs, quincy jones thriller ribs

Saturday: Chick-fil-A
The best chicken sandwich. They're not in Chicago and had to go on Saturday since they're not open on Sundays.

Sunday: Buca di Beppo: Chicken Parmiginia and Whataburger. They're only in the South and delicious.

the most iconic hole in golf

All you have to do is mention the words "island green" and anyone who knows the difference between a birdie and eagle should be able to visualize the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.


Above is a typical aerial shot of the Par 3 17th that I found on Google. What I didn't know about TPC at Sawgrass is that it's located in Ponte Vedra Beach, just outside Jacksonville. And it just so happened that there was a free tournament being played there this weekend: the Florida State Amateur Championship. So I figured even though I don't care about the tournament, why not show up, walk the famous hole, and be one of the guys in the peanut gallery who shouts "in the hole!" for some golf on Championship Sunday.

Here's what it looked like:

The Clubhouse. Nice.


The view from the 18th tee. With the clubhouse in the background, water guides you all the way to the green.



An action shot on 18. As you can see, there weren't any spectators and it would have been a dick move to yell "in the hole!"



A-ha! The island green of 17. Gorgeous.



The view from the back of 17 with the tee visible across the pond on the right.



The money shot. Standing on the 17th tee, staring across the water to an island, with a tight pin placement and a bunker to boot. It's intimidating to say the least.

For the record, Blayne Berber, a 19-year old won the tournament at -11. The runner up finished two under, and only three players finished under par. If Blayne Berber goes on to win a major, you heard it here first.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 CAF Tournament Champions


Chicago Advertising Federation
16" Softball Tournament Champtions
June 20, 2009

Quaterfinals: 14-3 (F/5)
Semifinals: 14-6
Finals: 11-10 (F/8)

Monday, June 22, 2009

these guys are good

These are screenshots from the usopen.com webcast. You'd think that IBM or the PGA or someone would have been a little stricter about approving fan comments.


Oh and Benny32, why don't you stop talking for a while.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Softball 2009: Mid-Season Tournament

Our 2009 team came into today's tournament (Chicago Advertising Federation) with a 1-4 record and not much hope for doing much. A quick trip down history lane, in 2006 we shocked the world and won the tournament, a bright spot in an otherwise not so great season. In 2007, we lost the first game but won the next 2 in the consolation bracket to go home a sort-of winner. In both of those tournaments, I was awarded the game ball, which I proudly display on my desk. Last year, I was taking a sabbatical and our team lost their 2 first games and hit the bar early.

So how would we do in 2009?

There were only 8 teams this year, so it's 3 games to lift the trophy.

Game One - Quarterfinals

I wish I would have been keeping track of my stats, because I played pretty well. We were the visiting team and we started off the game by rattling off 5 runs. We did really well on making smart throws and committing errors. I got up probably 3 times, and I think I made it safely all 3, or at least 2 of 3. I know there was one time where I screwed up by getting picked off first on a line drive, as I was running to 2nd and couldn't get back in time after it was caught. But we won handly and even envoked the slaughter rule, ending the game in five innings.

Game One: 14-3 (F/5)

Game Two - Semifinals

So now we made it into the final four, and our reward was a rematch against the team that we just played on Thursday--the team that beat us 14-8. And they hit the ground running. We were the home team, and they scored 5 runs in the top of the first. It looked to be a repeat of Thursday's game. But we responded scoring 5 as well in the bottom of the first. I got moved up to 2nd in the lineup based on my strong hitting in the first game. After the first inning we clamped down on defense. And kept our good bats going. I think we were up 7-5 after three innings, and 11-6 after about five. We held on and didn't need to bat in the bottom of the 7th.

Game Two: 14-6

Game Three - Finals
We had an hour to celebrate the fact that we made the finals. Our team was grilling burgers and dogs in the park and reveling in our success. I brought up how in '07, we won the consolation bracket (going 2-1 that day). We all agreed that it's better to just make the finals in the actual winner's bracket, than winning the loser's bracket.

1st Inning

As the home team we took the field first and promptly gave up 4 runs. They had a bunch of big hitters and I think we might have made an error or two. They also had guys fast enough to beat a throw to 2nd on a ground ball. In the bottom of the first, I got a hit but the leadoff guy in front of me got caught in a pickle. At any rate we didn't score. End 1st: 0-4
2nd Inning

In the semis, we stormed back after giving up a bunch of runs in the top of the first. When we couldn't get our bats going I started to accept that we were outmatched. However, the bottom of their lineup wasn't as strong and we held them scoreless. In the bottom of the second, I think I drove in the first run. But that's all we could manage. End 2nd: 1-4

3rd Inning

Somehow we held them scoreless again and got our bats going. We started our batting by saying "we're only down three" and by the end of the inning we were within one. End 3rd: 3-4

4th Inning

As soon as we got close, they responded with two more of their own. But we held our own, getting two back in the bottom of the inning. End 4th: 5-6

5th Inning

As soon as we got close, they kept pulling ahead. They scored two in the top and we couldn't do anything in our half. End 5th: 5-8.

6th Inning

At this point, our defense needed to tighten up. Down 3 with only two innings to go, we were running out of time. Amazingly, we held them scoreless. In the bottom of the sixth, we had an amazing rally. We tied it up for the first time since the game started. We scored three runs, including a home run from a guy who's been struggling. We also got a run awarded when their third baseman boxed out one of runners who was heading to third. Without the interference I think he would have just ended at third, but the ump awarded the run to us. End 6th: 8-8

Top 7th

As the home team, all we had to do was keep them to no runs and then get one on the board. With two outs, one of their big hitters came up. I think there was a guy on first and a girl behind him in the lineup. In this tournament, there is no "intentional walk" penalty for walking a guy with a girl following him. So I decided to make sure not to give him anything to hit. I wasn't going to intentionally walk him, but I would have been fine with a walk as I think we could have gotten the girl out behind him to end the inning. I pitched a spinning ball low and inside and he swung for it and pulled it foul to left field. I did the same thing again and this time he kept it fair, a long fly ball to left. And our guy was there to catch it. Mid 7th: 8-8

Bottom 7th

All we needed was one run to get the championship. To start us off was the bottom of the order and she got out. The leadoff guy in front of me got safely to first. So now I'm up. Tie game, bottom of the 7th, one out, and the winning run is there on first. All I have to do is get a big hit and get him in. Or even if I can hit safely, the girl in the 3-spot still has an out to spare, and our cleanup hitter could knock in the winning run. So what happens? I take a crack and it's a low fly/blooper to right field. When it came off the bat it felt pretty good. But it was short lived. The right fielder came charging in and caught it. And then he threw it to first and got our leadoff hitter before he could get back. Basically, I had a chance to be a hero, and it was the worst possible scenario. Now we're headed to extras, and we're going to be starting with the girl in the 3-spot. At least if we only got one out on my at-bat she could have gotten through the inning. Oh and their whole team got so excited when the inning ended, I thought that they thought that they won. But they were just excited to get to extras. End 7th: 8-8

Top 8th

Free Softball! In the Championship! After holding them on 8 for the last two innings, it was not meant to last. We gave up two runs. I don't even remember how it happenned, probably an error, perhaps they beat a throw or two out. But they put the pressure on us. Mid-8th: 8-10

Bottom 8th

I'm going to take this play-by-play as best I can remember, identifying players by their lineup spot.

We need two, and the girl in the 3-spot starts us off with an out.

The guy in the 4-spot makes it safely to first.

The guy in the 5-spot flies out. The runner stays on first. Down two, two outs, runner on first, girl up to bat.

The girl in the 6-spot hits a grounder to the left side of the infield. And the third baseman THROWS THE BALL OVER FIRST BASE. Runner from first gets to go to 3rd. Batter now on 2nd.

Our captain comes up in the 7-spot with the tying runs in scoring position. Earlier in the game he had a home run and I all I can think about is him getting another dinger. He hits it safely, I belive hard up the middle, and he gets the run in from 3rd, but the girl who was on 2nd has to stop at 3rd. Down one, two outs, runners on the corners and another girl coming up.

It was at this point that I was sure we were out of magic. I thought that we had our chances, specifically I had my chance in the bottom of the 7th, and this was the end of our run, with a girl coming up in the 8-spot. And I don't even remember where she hit it, but she hit it and got on base, driving in the tying run. I couldn't believe it. So now the game is tied, still two outs and we've got runners on first and second.

A guy is up in the 9-spot and hits a ground ball to short. Our captain has no choice but to run to third. At about 5 feet away from the bag he goes to apply the tag, our captain jumps to his left and sort of slides around to third base. From my vantage point I didn't think there was any way that he could avoid the tag. The ump comes in calling him safe at third. The shortstop starts yelling about he was out of the baseline. Which I suppose you could have called, but not at this point in the game.

So here we are: tie game, bottom of the 8th, bases loaded, two outs. And we got a guy coming up in the 10-spot. He's been known to have some deep hits, but also known for popping up or flying out. Doesn't hit a lot of grounders. It's all on his shoulders. And he hits it--deep and high to centerfield. Two outfielders are running towards it. All that son of a bitch ball has to do is land and we win the championship game on a walkoff hit in extra innings. After what seems like 30 seconds, wouldn't you know, the ball lands in the grass a couple feet between the two outfielders. Our captain stamps his feet on home plate as the winning run, and for the first time in the entire game, we had the lead.

Game Three: 11-10 (F/8)

When that ball landed in the outfield, me and everyone else on the bench stormed the field and started screaming and jumping up and down. I was so happy for the guy who just had the winning hit as it would have been so easy for him to pop up or fly out. I made sure to collect the game ball right away from one of the opposing players, and confer with the captain while we're screaming that we should give it to the guy with the clutch hit. We did and he immediately threw it into the air and it almost landed on our opponents. Oops. He got it back.

So there you have it. With two outs and down two runs, we had five batters get on base safely, including that costly error when it was still 8-10.

And now even though our team is 1-4 in the regular season and generally don't have great odds for winning on any given day...since I've joined the team in 2006, we've won this tournament 2 out of 4 years. More than any other team.

When we won in '06 we were up by 8 runs or so in the last inning. This was a walkoff 3-run rally. I think this is the best championship moment of my athletic career.

Friday, June 19, 2009

can't wait to go to jacksonville


(sigh)

and so glad we're not going to miserable San Diego:
or even poopy old Chicago:

(double sigh)

Softball 2009: Game 5

Our game last week got rained out, so this is game 5 in week 6. Walking to this game I was worried we were going to get blown out 15-2.

------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- F
THEM 2 1 1 6 0 4 0 -- 14
US --- 1 4 0 0 0 3 0 -- 8

We actually had the lead through three innings. But we couldn't hold defensively and there you go. Here's an example of errors we made: With a runner on first, our shortstop makes a nice catch on a line drive and tries to get the runner out going back to first. In his haste he throws the ball over the first baseman's head and the runner advances to third.

This one's even worse: with a runner on second, our third baseman picks up a groundball. The batter is a girl and he's got tons of time to make the throw to first. He fakes the throw to first, in the hopes of getting the guy on second to take off and tag him. That runner doesn't move, so now he's wasted a couple seconds and he chucks the ball to first way over the first baseman's head. Instead of getting an out and allowing the runner to advance to third, we got no outs, one run scored, and the batter is now on second. When you have guys that are solid hitters, you're counting on that girl every 3 batters for an out. Then your error turns that into an rbi double. That's how you give up 6 in an inning.

My first at bat had a line drive out of reach for their 2B. It went off her glove and I got my first double of the year. The next time up, she shaded to my right, and was in position to make the catch. For my last at bat, I put it up the middle. I thought it was going to land in this giant puddle so I rounded first to get credit for a double if the ump called it out of play. My first base coach was telling me to take second, as well. And then, they got it in quickly and I was easily out on the slide at second.

Batting Stats for Game Five:
1st AB: 2B, run
2nd AB: line out
3rd AB: 1B

Average: .666
Slugging: 1.000
0 walks
0 strike outs
0 rbi
1 run

Pitching Stats for Game Four:
7 IP
14 runs
1 K
0 BB

ERA: 14.00 and the loss

Pitching Record: 1-2

2009 Team Record: 1-4

Thursday, June 18, 2009

scheduling fantasy playoffs

As I previously stated, I'm pretty happy with a 10-team, 13-week schedule. (2 divisions, play 4 teams in division twice, and 5 teams out of division once).

Which is your favorite playoff alignment?

Option 1: 4 playoff spots. Semifinals in week 14, Super Bowl in week 15.

Option 2: 4 playoff spots. Semifinals: combine scores from week 14 & 15. Super Bowl combine week 16 & 17.

Option 3: 5 playoff spots. Top 3 teams get a bye. 4 and 5 seed duke it in week 14. Then semifinals in week 15, Super Bowl in week 16.

- - -

Disadvantage for option 1: Over by week 15.

Disadvantage for option 2: Super Bowl held during period where best teams might rest players.

Disadvantage for option 3: 5 out of 10 teams make the playoffs.

a surreal experience at the post office

No one likes the Post Office. But I try to tolerate it. Sure there are long lines and surly associates. But it doesn't help me any to walk in there pissed off. And since I've been selling books on half.com, I've had to make a bunch of trips to the Post Office.

When mailing books or other media, you can ship at a reduced rate that takes a bit longer called Media Mail. Of course, they have automated kiosks which I would use, except that Media Mail isn't an option at the kiosk. So I have to wait in line with all the retards who are buying stamps and shipping Priority, which you can quickly and easily do at the kiosk. Anyways...

After waiting in line for 10 minutes, with customers waiting behind me, this was what just happened to me:

Me: Hi, I'd like to ship this Media Mail.
Associate: Anything fragile, perishable, dangerous?
Me: Nope.
Associate: Where is your name on the return address?

(As I've done before when shipping half.com stuff I write my address but leave off my name, just since the stranger receiving the book doesn't need to know.)

Me: Okay, I'll write it on there. (I do so.)
Associate: Do you have any ID? (I hand her my driver's license.) Uh, this address doesn't match the address on the package.
Me: It's an old driver's license. I haven't updated it in a few years.
Associate: So this is your current address? (pointing to the package)
Me: Yes on LaSalle, just up the street.
Associate: Do you have anything else that has your current address on it?
Me: (I look through my wallet) Uh, I don't think so.
Associate: (blank stare)

There is a stand-off here for a couple seconds as I can't find anything to prove I live at the return address and she doesn't want to take my package.

Associate: You should always write your name and current address on the package.
Me: (I find my voter's registration) Here.

Associate: Okay, would you like to send this express?
Me: I'd like to send it Media Mail please.
Associate: What's in this?
Me: Just a paperback book.
Associate: A book? What kind of book? (the package is an 8x10 envelope and you can clearly see the outline of the book and feel it inside)
Me: A paperback.
Associate: What kind?
Me: A paperback textbook.
Associate: (blank stare) A paperback? What kind?
Me: (incredulously, at this point) It's an academic, textbook, paperback.
Associate: Oh, a textbook. That'll be $2.58. Do you want any insurance?
Me: No, that'll do it.
Associate: Confirmation?
Me: No thank you.
Associate: Stamps?
Me: No.

Friday, June 12, 2009

it's tough to lose

Of course it hurts to lose an NBA Finals game that you should have won. But what I mean is that to lose a game like this is really hard. It takes a focused effort from multiple players to blow a game like this.

With 1 minute to go, the Magic have the ball, up 5, at home. You do not lose that game. Here's who blew it:

With 50 seconds left and no one knowing what to do, the Magic could have called one of their 3 timeouts. They didn't call a timeout or a play and ended up with a missed field goal from Rashard Lewis. (Blame: Coach, Lewis)

After Kobe sets up Gasol for a dunk, the Magic are up 3 with 31 seconds left. 7-second differential between the shot and game clock. Again, no timeout, but they do get it to Howard under the rim who is locked up by Kobe. Up 3 with 11 seconds left, and Howard misses both free throws. All he needed was one. (Blame: Howard. I know he's a big guy but you have to make 1 in that situation if you want to be a great player.)

10 seconds left, Lakers down 3. Their lineup: Kobe, Fisher, Ariza, Odom, Gasol. In this case, you obviously don't want Kobe to take a 3. But you don't let Fisher take one either. Since they took it out in the back court, you could have fouled with 6 seconds left and made them make free throws. At the very least you have to prevent Kobe or Fisher from getting an open 3. (Blame: Coach, Nelson).

Okay, it's tied with 4 seconds left. Plenty of time. You advance the ball with a timeout and have two to spare. They "run the inbound play" but no one comes to get the ball. So they burn a timeout. (Blame: Coach, players on court except Turkoglu)

After a timeout, they draw up a new play but still no one comes to get the ball. (Blame: Coach, players on court except Turkoglu) but Turkoglu doesn't take a timeout (Blame: Turkoglu) and forces it to Pietrus. He dribbles around Fisher and fires a bad fadeaway with 2 seconds left. At that point there was no one in front of him. I know he was trying to beat the clock, but you keep going. (Blame: Pietrus)

So that's how you a blow a game like that. You have every player make a mistake, and your coach repeatedly makes mistakes. And that was just to get to overtime.

Monday, June 08, 2009

tennis

Roger Federer is the most successful male tennis player in history.

Here's the list of notable men's grand slam titles winners:

Federer: 14 (career grand slam)
Sampras: 14 (missed French)
Emerson: 12 (career grand slam)
Laver: 11 (career grand slam)
Borg: 11 (missed Australian and US)
Tilden: 10 (missed Australian)
Agassi: 8 (career grand slam)
Perry: 8 (career grand slam)
Budge: 6 (career grand slam)

You could debate better career of Sampras vs Emerson, or even Sampras vs Agassi. Is 14 total better than 8 if you couldn't win on clay?

But what you can't debate is that Sampras' 14 is better than Borg's 11 and that Federer's 14 is the best of them all.

On the women's side:

Margaret Court: 24 (career grand slam)
Graf: 22 (career grand slam)
Moody: 19 (missed Australian, did not participate)
Evert: 18 (career grand slam)
Navratilova: 18 (career grand slam)
King: 12 (career grand slam)
Serena Williams: 10 (career grand slam)

It's a lot more cut and dry. Also, Margaret Court is a good name for a tennis player.

the one year kansas city was a 4-team city

I was born November 22, 1983 in Kansas City. During my childhood the only teams were the Chiefs and the Royals.

The Royals even won the World Series. I was almost 2 years old. In the last 23 seasons the Royals have never won their division, and have only finished 2nd three times. But that's not the point.

When I was born, Kansas City was actual a 3-team city. The Kansas City Kings played their last NBA game before moving to Sacramento in 1985. But that's not the point.

The point is that in Kansas City's sports history there was one magical year where they had a team in each of the four major sports. This is a look at the 1975-76 sports year. 1975 was the first season for the NBA Kings. It was also the last season for the NHL Scouts, who eventually became the New Jersey Devils.

- - -

The Royals played their first game on April 7, 1975. They spent 11 days in first and finished 2nd in the AL West with a record of 91-71. The A's won the division.

The Chiefs opened their season on September 21, 1975 with a 33-37 loss to the Broncos. They lost their first three and last four, finishing 5-9, good for 3rd in the AFC West.

On October 8, 1975, the Scouts started their last season in Kansas City. They went 12-56-12 which placed them last in the Smythe Division. The only worse team in the league that year was the Washington Capitals.

The Kings started their first Kansas City season with a loss to the Bullets on October 23, 1975. They finished 31-51, 5 games out of the playoffs. They wrapped up the sports year by losing to the Buffalo Braves by a point on April 11, 1976.

So in 1975, Kansas City had a weighted winning percentage of: 36.83%

Royals: 56.17%
Chiefs: 35.71%
Scouts: 17.65%
Kings: 37.80%

What a year it was.

Friday, June 05, 2009

what college should I have gone to?

So obviously I had a great time at U of I. I met my wife, found a career, and made some semi-decent acquaintances. And for reasons from financial to geographical, it really was the only choice for me. Literally--I didn't apply anywhere else.

But inspired by this post, in an alternate universe, what options were there? With the benefit of hindsight, the main criteria I'll use are warm weather, sports success and what fits my personality.

Obviously, if I attended a college from 2005-2009, University of Florida would be the only choice.

For starters I'll list the NCAA champions for 2001-2005:

Freshman Year
Football: Miami
Basketball: Maryland

Sophomore Year
Football: Ohio State
Basketball: Syracuse

Junior Year
Football: LSU
Basketball: UConn

Senior Year
Football: USC
Basketball: UNC

Well, no multiple winners in the list and not that many warm places. Miami, LSU and USC made the cut, but Miami scares me. So if I wanted to witness a title, LSU and USC are in the running.

The first other school that comes to mind is Texas. It's in Austin. It's warm, they have a good music scene, and they have barbecue.

Texas Football
Freshman: 11-2, Holiday Bowl victory
Sophomore: 11-2, Cotton Bowl victory
Junior: 10-3, Holiday Bowl loss
Senior: 11-1, Rose Bowl victory (38-37 over Michigan as time expires)
Year after graduating: 13-0, National Championship victory, one of the greatest games ever

Texas Basketball
Freshman: Sweet 16
Sophomore: Final Four (lost to Carmelo's Syracuse team)
Junior: Sweet 16
Senior: First Round

Not a bad sports history, especially when you include the year after college.

The other school that comes to mind is Florida. They didn't win any championships during the four years I would have been there, but they've won a bunch since then. Plus, it's warm.

I like jambalaya and all that, but I don't think I would have enjoyed four years in Baton Rouge.

So now I'm down to:

USC: Los Angeles, beaches, football national championship senior year
Texas: Austin, music, barbecue, football national championship the year after
Florida: Gainesville, four championships after college

I don't think I would have fit in at USC. They seem like douchebags and I'm more of an asshole. Plus, I like the Pacific coast, but LA isn't a college town.

At the end of the day, I think I just would have liked Texas. Between the music and the barbecue, it just seems like my kind of town. And if I went to the Rose Bowl in 08 to watch the Illini lose to USC, I probably would have been at the 06 Rose Bowl and lost my mind.

turkey talk

I suppose this could be a regular feature called "meat zone" or something, but whatever. I have a lot of thoughts on turkey right now. I think it gets a bad wrap. I say that because when someone says "turkey" I think bland, weak, no flavor crap.

But it shouldn't be like that. I love thanksgiving turkey when done right. I've had plenty a bland, dry turkey while watching the Lions lose. But I've also had it moist, seasoned, delicious. What's even better is the post-Thanksgiving sandwich leftovers. Usually I just go with turkey on mayo with cracked black pepper, a little mustard. You could add pickles or a cheese like provolone (cheddar goes better with chicken or roast beef) and toast the bread if you want. But that's a damn good sandwich.

So why then, is the sliced turkey sandwich, what people order year round, the worst goddamn thing in the world? You got to Subway, you try and make it yourself with Hillshire Farm Deli Select sliced turkey, and it tastes like shitty nothing. It's TERRIBLE. I told someone how good Bellacino's sandwiches were. They went and got the turkey sandwich and said it was just okay. Well of course it's not great, you ordered the wrong fucking hoagie.

To correct this injustice to turkey, I recently bought a pre-roasted 1/2 turkey breast for 9.99 at Trader Joe's. I've looked at roasting my own turkey breast before (as I've done with a whole chicken) but it seems that even just the breast usually costs around $15. I suppose it's a fine value for the meat, but that's a mental price barrier that's a little steep for me. But at Trader Joe's I was looking at 25oz of roast turkey for $10. Since I usually pay around $4 for 9oz of sliced ham, I went ahead and got the turkey.

It's delicious. I've had 3 sandwiches so far and should be able to get about 6 more out of it. So how does slicing turkey turn a delicious meat into a slimy, flavorless, soft mush? I don't know. Ham tastes better sliced thin and piled high. But turkey? Eesh.

That was all I was going to say about turkey, but then I was doing some research to find anyone else that agrees with me that sliced turkey sucks. I came across a recipe for thanksgiving turkey jamabalaya which caught me eye. Except if you have to roast the turkey first which is a laborious process it seems to be adding a lot of work. Perhaps it would make a nice Thanksgiving side dish if you used pre-roasted breast to cut down on prep time.

And then I came across this page of layered Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. As I said before I'm usually a simple leftover sandwich guy. But if I were to think about such things, I wouldn't be a fan of cranberries or mashed potatoes on mine. Instead I would go with turkey, dressing (aka stuffing, but we don't stuff ours) and a little bit of brown sugar sweet potatoes. Mmmm.

Softball 2009: Game 4

I was on the DL for Game 3. Our team lost 4-6 to a beatable team. This week started a 4-week stretch against the best teams in the division. We close with a rematch against games 1 and 2, which should be winnable games.

------- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- F
US --- 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 -- 1
THEM 1 0 3 0 2 0 x -- 6

Batting Stats for Game Four:
1st AB: ground out
2nd AB: line out
3rd AB: 1B, line drive

Average: .333
Slugging: .333
0 walks
0 strike outs
0 rbi

Pitching Stats for Game Four:
6 IP
6 runs
1 K
0 BB

ERA: 7.00 and the loss

I pitched the whole game. And didn't really use my left hand except when batting. So what happened? Defensively, I pitched great and we didn't play too bad in the field. Some good catches. We turned a 1-4-3 double play. The run in the first inning scored because a 3rd baseman threw the ball 5 feet over our 1st baseman on a routine grounder. They scored in the 3rd on a deep line drive stand-up triple. But really they had a lot of good bats, and you can tell by the line score, when the top of their order came around they were going to get some good hits. But holding a good-hitting team to 6 runs is a good case scenario.

As for our offense...we don't have many good hitters. Myself included.

Here's the story on just about every team: every guy is capable of hitting an extra-base hit. And the girls are likely to get out. Often teams have one girl that you can count on to get on base. The really good teams have girls that can hit as well.

Our problem is that our guys aren't guaranteed hits. Whether it's a pop-up or a weak grounder, we just don't have a lot of power. I think in Game 1 we scored 13 because they had a lot of defensive errors.

I tried to draw walks so I wouldn't have to swing with my sore tendons in my left arm. But the pitcher never threw more than 1 ball before getting a called strike. So the first time I hit a weak grounder to the 2nd baseman and it was an easy out. The next time I swung at a high pitch and thought it might clear the 2nd baseman but she was able to catch it. My last at bat could of ended the game. Top 7th, two outs. Just like game 2. Except this time we were down 5. But still, I didn't want to end the game. So I choked up and hit it out of the infield. It went up the middle and landed between the centerfielder and the 2nd baseman. It was a nice hit.

Oh and we almost got shut out. The run we got was batted in by a girl on a grounder to short that could be considered an error. So there you go.

The next three games should be losses, and we should be able to win the last two if our good people show up. Last year, in my absence our team was 2-7. Hopefully we could get to at least 3 wins this year.

Pitching Record: 1-1

2009 Team Record: 1-3

Monday, June 01, 2009

cavs vs magic redux

When I read this article after the Cavs lost game 1 to the Magic, I scoffed. I thought it was jumping to conclusions after one game. I thought this was LeBron's year. They swept their first two series. Simmons told me so. Even Fanhouse home of the post-game 1 insight had this prediction:

"Rust is overrated; Cavs in four. That said, the Magic tend to play better when everyone in the world has counted them out, so this could theoretically go five, maybe six. Either way, the Cavs will be representing the East in the Finals."

So I brushed off the Tim Potvak theory because it didn't support the conclusion I wanted. I didn't think that Lewis and Turkoglu were that much better than the Cavs bench. But what was the difference in the series? Not that Howard outplayed LeBron, but that the Magic was the better team. James couldn't do it all.

All that said, I would have been a lot more impressed if Potvak would have written that before game 1, instead of after the Cavs lost at home.

- - -

Of course, I only pay attention to the NBA in the playoffs. When the playoffs started, I was surprised that Cleveland had the league's best record. I assumed nothing had changed since I saw them in 2007: LeBron is awesome but can't beat a solid team like the 08 Celtics or the 07 Spurs. But I got sucked in because of their record and performance in the first two rounds and listening to the experts.

So I was wrong twice. Or in other words, I was right all along. Just glad I didn't put any money on the Cavs before the Magic series.