Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday News and Notes and Clues and Oats

There will be no waxing eternal this morning. Just some ideas and concepts from a dude who should know better:

1) Yanks-Red Sox at 7. My excitement level is about equal to Joba Chamberlain's when he sees a red car pass on the street.

2) Speaking of the Nebraska Nailer, I get the feeling tonight might be a defining start in his season. He's had success against the Red Sox before, including a couple gems, but he doesn't look great yet this year. If he gets knocked around today, and especially if he starts aiming his pitches and walking batters, it could further shake his confidence going into the summer. We need Joba at his fireballing best, and a great outing against the Sox might be just what the good doctor ordered.

3) Yesterday, David Ortiz gave Joba a fatherly warning: stop throwing at people's heads. The tone was respectful and maybe even complimentary, but I still hope he gets knocked on his ass. (Although that might be a waste of an out, since he can't hit anymore- .220 with 0 HR in '09.)

4) The comments came because, for whatever reason, Joba hates Kevin Youkilis. On three separate occasions, he's thrown pitches that came very near to The Youk's ugly dome. Included on that list is the greatest foul ball in history, when a fastball sailing over Youk's head hit his bat. As the miffed Red Sock picked himself up from the dirt and glared at the mound, Joba assumed a look of dumb incredulity, as if to say, "What? It was a strike."

The whole situation prompts an interesting question: what the hell is going on between these two? Joba isn't the smartest dude in clothes, but he's not dirty and he's never had a headhunter's reputation. So what's the deal? Something must have happened...did Youkilis deface the pissing-Calvin decal on Joba's pick-up? Did they get in a fierce debate about the merits of getting high on spray paint fumes versus huffing gasoline? Is there socio-economic tension, since Youk's parents owned a nicer satellite dish? We'll probably never know...

5) Saturday features my most-anticipated game of the year so far. AJ vs. Beckett. Does anybody else get very uncomfortable watching Beckett on the mound? The way he stands is...disconcerting. Someone needs to pull him aside and be like, "Josh, man, you're a great pitcher. Just an incredible talent. Everyone says it. Can I offer a little constructive criticism, though? It's just a small thing, barely noticeable...but did you ever, how can I put this delicately...did you ever consider not standing on the mound like an obese dude with two wobbly knees and a stick up his ass reading a comic book at the community swimming pool?"

They need a special center field 'Beckett Camera' that zooms past the mound and just shows the hitter and maybe part of his arm.

6) ESPN's caption on the MLB home page for this weekend's series:

Ready for Round 1 of Yankees-Red Sox? Steve Phillips says pitching will define this series.

That's pretty much a foolproof argument, isn't it? I mean...isn't every single game defined by pitching? If the score of Friday's game is 14-12, you could go up to Steve Phillips and be like, "you guys were wrong, this game was defined by good hitting." And he'd just smile, shake his head, and give you a patronizing grin. "Can't you see, buddy? It wasn't defined by good was defined by bad pitching. Just like I always said."

And then he pats you on the back and give you a ten-dollar bill because he feels sorry for how your life is going.

7) Rangers - Capitals tonight at 7pm, game 5. New York has a chance to clinch and advance to the eastern semis, where they'd face Boston. I'm not going to pretend I've followed hockey much since '96 or so, and I'm no expert on the game itself, but I think if Henrik Lundqvist has 97 saves and a double hat trick, we have a good chance of "icing."

For the record, the mailman at my work, a huge Rangers fan, thinks they'll lose by three tonight on the road. Then again, I've won about 80 dollars from him on small bets since he started working three months ago, so maybe he's not the best guy for predictions.

8) I suffered the most embarrassing loss of my life last night in a Thursday basketball league. A team consisting of my "friends" beat us by a score of 79-23. That's a narrow victory margin of 56 points, for math aficionados. We actually beat them earlier in the season, hard as that is to believe, but last night they caught fire and we eventually conceded and spread the ball around. Instead of accepting our gesture of defeat and graciously taking their time on offense, they ran up the score with a sick kind of glee. Nate, who you might remember from an earlier post, actually put full court pressure on one of our guards with two minutes left and his team up by 50.

It was the last game of the regular season. And the great part is, we play them next week in the playoffs. Here in this blog, on the public record, I swear by all things holy that I shall have my revenge. It doesn't seem likely, but karma is my brother in arms. It goes down next Thursday. I'll update on Friday.

9) My brothers and I have been playing an NBA Playoffs fantasy game which I highly recommend. The rules are that each person picks 16 players in a snaking draft. Your team has to have one player from each postseason club, and you tally the points as the playoffs progress. If you wanted to be more complex, you could keep track of rebounds, assists, blocks, etc. It creates a draft with some interesting complexities...obviously Kobe and Lebron are the best bets, but after that you have to make some judgment calls. Is it worthwhile to pick Dwyane Wade, when he'll be out (and therefore useless) after two rounds, max, or is it better to take a risk and go with someone like Tony Parker, who could lose in Round One but could also make the Conference Finals? Or should a high pick be spent on a Pao Gasol/Mo Williams type, a number 2 or 3 scorer on a team destined for the Finals? It's amusing, and keeps the lengthy playoff run somewhat interesting. As of this morning, my team has 611 points, and my brother Thomas has 609.

10) It's sunny and warm in Brooklyn. Enjoy the weekend, see you Monday.

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