February 2009

It’s time for a break

Ladies and Gentlemen of MLBlogs,

Tonight, I watched as my two favorite teams lost their first spring training games, the Rockies fell to the Diamondbacks 5-3 and the Red Sox lost to the Twins 5-2. It was heartbreaking. Well, I didn’t actually watch the Rockies play, but I read about it after.

While I was watching the Red Sox play, my eyes were glued to the TV. It felt like an eternity since I’d seen something so phenomenal, something that my heart had longed for. Baseball encompasses my life, it’s in every breath I take. As of this moment, every goal I have in life has an ulterior motive. I want to go to bartending college and get a job at a lounge that’s rumored to have Rockies go to it. I want to go to rolfing school to learn about a specific type of massage that should help me with my sports psychology goal.

I’ve never been more in love with anything than I have with baseball, and, as sad as it is, I mean anything. When hockey consumed my life, I had no problem with the off season, I survived it. If you were to tell me that at that time that in the future, when I was 23 years old I would be infatuated with baseball I would have called you crazy. Maybe it’s that hockey season is longer, I can’t really say.

Yes, baseball and I seem to go together like this:

Or this

This consumption of my life has made me think I need to try an experiment. But first, I have to give you some background on what I’m doing and why.

I’ve decided that I need to take a break from blogging. Here’s why, blogging has consumed my world. I love talking about baseball and to be given the opportunity to talk about it with people who love it as much as I do, probably more, means that I don’t have to talk about anything else with anybody. I have people to talk about baseball with, my love and my obsession, who needs anything else?

Next point, I’m incredibly dense. Once I went to Best Buy with my friends, and apparently the cashier guy was flirting with me and my friend had to point it out to me. I was like, “what? No, he was just being friendly” and she was like, “no, Emily. He was very obviously flirting with you.” Then my other friend who was at the other cashier station was like, “Emily, even I could tell he was flirting with you.” So, then, I had to ask this question. This question came with all seriousness, “how can you tell when someone is flirting with you?”

Yes, I had to ask that question, and I still don’t know the answer. I believe that I’m not a very interesting person. I don’t have a lot to talk about except for what’s going on in the sports world, mostly baseball and hockey and I’m starting to get pretty good with football. I very much think like a guy, and because I can relate to guys so well, it’s very easy to tell that most of the ones you will encounter hate it when you know more about sports than they do. So, here’s what I’m thinking. It’s time to learn to talk to people. I often have trouble making conversation with people unless they bring up something about baseball. I try not to bring it up because then you’ll never get rid of me, I’ll just keep trying to talk to you about baseball, but if someone else does, then, I’m like, “OH BASEBALL!!! Yeah, what did you think of this off season trade? How do you think this pitcher is going to do? What did you think of (insert something interesting here)?”

So my hope is that not talking about baseball for a week will force me to talk about something else for a week. I mean, I wouldn’t mind talking about baseball with someone if they bring it up to me, but to have it available to me 24 hours a day seven days a week, maybe it’s time to think about other things. With the start of spring training games, I know, it’s really not the best time to be taking a break, but that’ll be a little bit of a test. I hope you all understand what I’m trying to convey to you.

So one week after posting this blog… and doing the usual blog rounds… Yeah, then I’ll be back March 3rd. Oh man, it seems really far away, I hope I’ll make it. So, I’ll be eager to come back and catch up on things and see how my conversational skills will go. After all, admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Oh! Also, I put a little link to my Facebook page on my sidebar, so then we can be not only MLBlog friends, but Facebook friends as well. Yay. Okay, I’ll be back March 3rd (not quite a week, but c’mon, baby steps).

1. Video courtesy: FritoLayDips
2. Video courtesy: FritoLayDips

# 47

Thank you MLBlogs for helping me to remain within the top 50. However, I am disappointed to see that I am moving backwards rather than forwards which has led me to postulate the following:

A. I need to write more often
B. I need to write better
C. Both A and B

While C would probably be the best choice, I’m really hoping that it’s A because the fact is, I’m really not that great of a writer or a story teller, so asking me to write better is like… asking… um… I can’t think of anything right now, but you get the idea.

Anyway, for those of you who know me, and none of you actually know me… so… I don’t really know why I said that, I’m usually never on time. I mean, for important things I am, but for most things, I’m usually running late. This didn’t change with blogging. Jimmy over at Baseball, the Yankees, and Life began the tradition of making a dedication in your entry some time ago. Sticking with my usual lateness, I opted to choose this moment to jump on that train and dedicate my blog to this guy:

Joe Koshansky.jpg
# 47, Joe Koshansky.

Koshansky is a left handed first baseman for the Rockies and was drafted in 2004. Koshansky has moved all through the system, the Tri City Dust Devils, the Asheville Tourists, the Tulsa Drillers, and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Koshansky.jpgJoe Koshansky is the first player in Colorado Springs Sky Sox history to hit for the cycle not once, but twice.
 Koshansky3.jpgOne of the biggest problems Koshansky faces is that he has a tendency to strike out, but he’s got some serious potential. 

The main reason I chose to write about Joe Koshansky was because of the my first memory of him. I was at a Rockies game with my friends, we sat in the pavilion and he came to the plate. I had never heard of him before, it was a game that he was brought back up from the minors and Garrett Atkins had a day off. Anyway, we watched as he hit a solo home run, his first in the majors. It was in a game against the Florida Marlins, and I remember it because my friends kept yelling at Matt Treanor saying “Treanor needs more training.” Anyway, it was probably one of the proudest moments of his life, and the sheer amazement of watching the ball fly into left center field made Rockies fans proud as well.

That’s one of the cool things about the brain, we have what’s called mirror neurons which allows us to have an empathetic response to both pleasure and painful reactions. Your sensory neurons tell you that whatever it is you’re watching is actually happening to you. That’s what made Joe Koshansky’s first home run so special for me, because of my mirror neurons.

That’s also what’s bad about them. They emit a painful response as well. The other day I was watching someting on Clint Malarchuk. Being baseball fans, I don’t expect many of you to have heard of him. He was a goal tender for the Buffalo Sabres. In 1989, while playing the St. Louis Blues, Steve Tuttle, a right wing, and defensive player Uwe Krupp collided right in front of the goal. That’s apart of hockey, colliding, however, Tuttle’s skate flew up in the air and cut the carotid artery of Clint Malarchuk. It takes two minutes and 16 seconds for your body to entirely bleed out, and at 40% blood loss, you black out. So, you would think that Malarchuk would have died, but he didn’t. He was saved by his trainer who had Jim Pizzutelli who had served in Vietnam and saved Malarchuk’s life. That was a long story, but watching it evoked a response in my neck. A painful response.

That didn’t have anything to do with Joe Koshansky, I just wanted to explain how cool it is. Anyway, it’s an honor to dedicate my entry to Joe Koshansky. Look to see him doing amazing things with the Rockies, he’s young and has amazing potential. According to Don over at the Rockpile Rant, he’s also on Facebook, I have no idea though.

1. Photo courtesy: www.daylife.com
2. Photo courtesy: www.daylife.com
3. Photo courtesy: www.minorleaguebaseball.com

It’s that guy!!!

Recognize this guy?

Ronn Svetich.jpg
Didn’t think so, and I wouldn’t expect you to. Heck, I wouldn’t even recognize him even if he walked up to me and said, “excuse me, do you have the time?” and I said, “oh it’s about 1:30″ and then he would say, “I like your shirt” (because I proudly rock the Rockies shirt) and I would say, “oh thanks, I have an unruly obsession with baseball and the Rockies.” And then our conversation in my fantasy land would end. Well, I mean, if it were my actual fantasy land, then he would be like, “oh no way, I work for them, I could totally get you a job.”

His name is Ronn Svetich, and he’s living my dream.

This is the sports psychologist, or “performance enhancement” coach, for the Colorado Rockies. He joined the organization in 2000 where he’s been working with both the major and minor league teams. Although I knew he existed and had been with he Rockies for nine years, I never knew his name or even what he looked like. I mean, that still isn’t a good picture of him. So, odds are, even if he actually did walk up to me and ask me the time, I’d be like, “it’s one thirty” and we’d carry on in our different lives.
Jorge De La Rosa.jpg
In an article by Thomas Harding, Svetich recently helped Jorge De La Rosa overcome some emotional issues on the mound. It’s hard to come back after you give up a homer or walk a guy, and those are the issues that were holding back De La Rosa.

As human beings, we like to have control over things, over the situations that we encounter. That doesn’t change in baseball. Pitchers like to believe they have control over the game and hitters like to believe the same thing. The fact of the matter is, they don’t; and that’s what Svetich helped De La Rosa understand. You can’t get mad because a guy swung at your pitch, you can’t get mad that the blue called it a ball when it was very clearly a strike (in your mind).

So here I sit, with the name of the man who I would do anything to work under, and I’m practically powerless to find him.

Well, not exactly powerless, that’s not really the word I wanted to use, it’s just the one that my brain decided to give me. I have ideas and things that I need to pursue, to develop, before I could even be allowed to be in the presence of this man. I have completely put him up on this pedestal and I don’t really know anything about him. I don’t know anything about his philosophies and his ideas, I don’t know the tactics he uses to get players to focus, I know nothing about him; and yet, I am willing to sacrifice everything to work under him.

But… not just yet. Yes, I would love to be involved in the club, who wouldn’t? But I have a lot to do before I can grace the field with my presence. Ha ha. I have tentative plans to follow (and I say tentative because obviously ever since I started developing plans they have gone awry), and things to pursue before I could even think of working in the majors, let alone the minors. 

I didn’t talk very much about Ronn Svetich because I don’t actually know very much about him. But I thought that I would share with the world his existence, my love affair for his job,  and hope that he some how finds his way to my blog. And c’mon, he’s decked out in Rockies gear, who wouldn’t want that? I mean… ya know, besides someone who hates the Rockies (blasphemy) and how could you hate the Rockies? Half the country doesn’t even know who they are anyway, but I’m one of the lucky ones who does. 

1. Photo courtesy: mlb.mlb.com
2. Photo courtesy: www.rockymountainnews.com

A long story.

I am from Boulder, Colorado. If you’ve never heard of it, well… I don’t know what to say about that. It’s a place where all the rich hippies live. Didn’t think there could be such a thing as rich hippies? Well, then you haven’t been to Boulder… or at least haven’t lived there. That being sad, it’s a magical land where pedestrians always have the right of way and everyone rides their bicycle down main highways. That’s a lie, not everyone, but some of the rich hippies and most of the regular hippies do. That being sad, you’d think you would be able to conclude two things about me: I can walk the streets without fear and I’m in shape. Like I said, you would think you could conclude those things about me, but you would be wrong. This post really only has to do with the first of those two things.
ipod-touch.jpg
Today I was walking to Ace Hardware, about seven blocks from where I live, to pick up a cable splitter. Let me tell you, first, that I cannot function without my ipod, I hate walking down the street having to listen to different conversations that people have because sometimes you just want to tell them that they are clearly naive and ignorant, but you’re not actually allowed to do that because then you would look like a pedant, and that’s kind of annoying too. Anyway, that’s not actually my ipod, mine is way better, it’s got pictures of Rockies players on it. Yeah, it has pictures of Rockies players on it, and no pictures of my friends. That’s the kind of life I have…

Anyway, with that in mind, when you’ve got an outside stimulus, for the most part, your cognition is lowered meaning that your brain function as a whole essentially goes down. While this is semi the case with my ipod, I’m very good about being aware of what’s going on around me, like hearing sirens, or if I was involved in something cool like an action flick and a car drives up on the sidewalk, I would probably be able to jump out of the way. So, this coincides with people talking on a cell phone. All kinds of places tried to implement this thing where you have to have a hands free device when you drive, but holding the cell phone isn’t actually the problem. You’re involved in a conversation which means you’re paying attention to the person talking and not to your driving.

I jump around a lot in my blogs, have you noticed that? That’s one of the reasons that I’m really awful at interviews and conversations in general, is because my mind is in so many places and sometimes it feels like I just drank like… twelve Red Bulls, ya know, gives you wings? Or whatever it’s supposed to do… make you hyper… something like that. Actually, I’ve never really had a Red Bull, I mean, not without vodka, so I don’t actually know what it would do to me. I know, brilliant right? Mixing a depressant with a stimulant. Of course, I don’t know if Red Bull would actually do anything to me because I have some ADD so for the most part, caffeine just puts me to sleep. Is that what’s in a Red Bull? I don’t know. Not important.

RoadRage.jpgAnyway, after my conversation with many people, and by many, I mean like… five, it’s come to my attention that Colorado has the worst drivers ever. I didn’t actually think this was true, I mean, people in California, New York, or Chicago must be worse. No, I’ve known people from California and Chicago, and they all agree that Colorado has the worst drivers. People here all like to drive their gigantic 7 miles per gallon Hummers that aren’t actually designed to drive up in the mountains and take up eight parking spots. Coloradans don’t actually pay attention when they drive, and I should know, I’m one of them. I mean, I pay attention, but I’m out on the road with lots of people who have some serious road rage and probably need to be in therapy. Bwah ha! But look at this picture I just found:

road-rage-graphic.jpg Colorado isn’t even on there!!! But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have bad drivers.

As I said before, being from Boulder, you’d think that I would just walk out into the street with the assumption that the world will put on it’s brakes for me. I have these completely ridiculous and incredibly irrational fears. One of my biggest fears is arachnids. I don’t even like to see the s-word, I had to put arachnids because that’s not as bad. Anyway, I am so scared of them, I run away even at the smallest one. It’s completely absurd because I could just step on the stupid thing. No, instead, I vamoose out of wherever the thing is. Oh man, like this one time, I was staying at a friends house, and she doesn’t have any fear of arachnids and bought this book all about them and set it next to my bed. Anyway, I go to sleep and the next morning I wake up and see that I’ve set my pants on this book. Well, I don’t want to have to look at the book when I go to put on my pants, so I decide that I am going to move them, and what actually crawls out from the freaking book?!?! That’s right, an arachnid. Everyone was sleeping, so I had to contain my fear, but I almost peed my pants. Another fear that I have is being abducted by aliens. Why this is a fear, I have no idea. I’m not a hick, I don’t live around corn, and I’m not a world leader, so I shouldn’t actually have anything to fear. I think I actually saw the movie Signs when I was 18; I’m 23 now and I still can’t watch it alone. I get really scared that aliens are going to come and try to abduct me. Or, oh!!! Like that creepy scene inPedestrian.jpgthe movie where the alien’s hand like thing is like reaching under the door, oh man, I’m freaking myself out just thinking about it, I don’t know why I even let myself think of that. I also have this large fear of being hit by a car. I walk a lot down to the 16th Street Mall when I go on job hunts and it’s like… an eleven block walk from my house. Even if there are no cars coming, I have to wait until the little red hand turns to the little walking dude and even then, I have to look both ways like ten times before I cross the street. I had a professor in college who told us that pedestrians are hit the most frequently when they cross during the little hand thing, but they have the most deadly hits when they have that little walking man thing. You’d think that would cause me to evade those walking guys and cross when there’s a red hand. Don’t be ridiculous. Pedestrians are hit the most frequently when they cross at that time. I still check like ten times even when there’s a walking dude. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Not cross the street?

Okay, so here’s how all this ties in. When I walk places, I always make sure that the car is going to give me the right of way. If the driver easily has time to go whatever direction they are and are sitting there waiting, I will out-wait them until they give me the little waving hand signal that I can cross. And since I have headphones in, it won’t do any good to verbally tell me to cross the street; plus, I can’t read lips. So today, as I’m walking to Ace Hardware, I come across a girl who is at a stop sign. This is your typical looking Paris Hilton wannabe type girl, with the sunglasses that take over 90% of her face, she probably had on leggings and those gross boots and has the same attitude as Paris Hilton that she’s better than society. Anyway, she kept looking at me impatiently
and finally gave me the “what are you waiting for stupid pedestrian?” wave. As I’m crossing the street, I wave and say thank you (I always say it outloud like they can hear me or something) and she rolls her eyes at me. Apparently, my fear of getting run down by an automotive vehicle caused her to wait a whole extra ten seconds which evidently enraged her. This happens quite frequently, not necessarily with Hilton looking girls, but with people in general.

It just so happens that when I also am driving in and out of Denver, people like to go faster than 75 mph on I-25 and will run you over if you’re doing anything under 90. This also happens to me quite frequently. Of course, I have no idea what to do about it, I mean, you just have to get out of the way because who wants to get run down by one of those gigantic Hummers?

So, can you now conclude two things about me? I can’t drive or walk in Denver. I think I’m doomed.

 

1. Photo courtesy: http://www.nonstopmac.com
2. Photo courtesy: kempster.com
3. Photo courtesy: image.motortrend.com
4. Photo courtesy: wtfurls.com

All Encompassingly

Can’t please all the people all the time and last night all those people were at my show. – MitchMitch_Hedberg.jpgHedberg

The other day my iTunes was on shuffle, and what should come on but that joke. If you haven’t heard of Mitch Hedberg, well, that’s very unfortunate. He’s one of the most hilarious people to have ever existed, may he rest in peace. The joke isn’t really that funny, but it got me thinking about baseball.

So, I thought of his joke and him talking about his show, which, through a series of different ideas, made me think of the show. My brain often has weird trains of thought that somehow connect things that are entirely unrelated. It’s like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon only not including Kevin Bacon… like… finding themes… that are not Kevin… Bacon… That didn’t make much sense, but, I got it, because that’s how my brain works.

With spring training here, there’s no doubt that everyone’s getting a little tired of hearing about Bud Selig.jpgBud Selig. For the most part, Selig is should be the icon of an example meant to be followed. As the commissioner of baseball I believe he should be a leader, someone who we can be proud to look up to  and be unashamed of the fact that he is the guy who runs America’s sport. However, with all the recent drama, Selig has come under some serious, and well deserved, investigation. Maybe not by the sport itself, but by the fans.

So, here I am, with all the possibilities of what I could be taling about, like Troy Tulowitzki becoming the new face of the Rockies, what pitchers are looking like in spring training, and everything else that’s going on with baseball soon showing it’s glorious self again. Yes, here I am talking about everyone’s favorite person, Bud Selig.
Roger Goodell.jpg
My first thought is this: leading by example. Although slightly old news, the commissioner of football, Roger Goodell, opted to take a pay cut for the good of the team. Although football’s struggles remain, including having to cut 150 employees at it’s headquarters, Goodell has taken a significant step in making football better. Yes, he will still be a millionaire, no, he didn’t give up his entire salary, it’s about a 20 or 25% pay cut, but he’s taking more of a step than Bud Selig has in helping out our economy and the sport that he loves despite the fact that he’s eligible for a raise. Bud Selig is the highest paid sports commissioner, followed by Goodell, David Stern, and then Gary Bettman. My opinion is that it would be admirable for Selig to take a pay cut, especially with everything going on.

Everything includes the steroids saga. Something else we’re all tired of hearing about. Jesse Ventura believes that Bud Selig should be indicted because all the juicing happened on his watch. Question is, what would that really accomplish? Vince McMahon was also indicted for steroids in the WWE, something that was for “entertainment purposes.” Ventura believes that what you’re dealing with here are real athletes- real cheating athletes, 104 of them in 2003.

So, here, in my mind, is where Mitch Hedberg ties in with all of these. The fact is, you can’t please all the people all the time. If you were to indict Bud Selig, it would almost be an obligation to release those other 103 names and indict them. If you take the route that I do when any problem comes up, which is to ignore it until it goes away, it’s not going to go away. It’ll linger around waiting until something else comes up that requires the same attention. I recently read an article that you can find here about who it is that’s getting challenged (and here’s his follow up article). The debate if we’re all out there to protect Babe Ruth, the white guy’s record. Personally, I don’t really agree with what he’s saying, but I did think about it. Selig is talking about taking away Bonds’ record and is taking grief about the possibility of suspending A-Rod. You do either of those, how is it going to look? Does that make sense? I’m not trying to fuel a “racism” debate, but I can see where this idea of protecting Ruth’s record could come in. Although I’m one who believes that Bonds should forever be plagued with an asterisk by his name. OH! Speaking of asterisk, have you seen that gross commercial? Where the kid has an asterisk shaped pimple on his forehead? It’s gross.

The point is, I’m not defending Selig, I’m not defending anyone. I do believe that action needs to be taken to show that baseball isn’t going to tolerate this. What that action is has yet to be determined, if any will be. And if and when that action is taken, how are you going to please the world? Regardless of what you do, it will look bad in someone’s eyes.

So when asked, “Emily, do you hate all the shenanigans that’s going on?” I can say, “all encompassingly.”

That… was also a Mitch Hedberg joke. I guess you’d just have to hear it to understand.

1. Photo courtesy: http://www.uptowntheater.com
2. Photo courtesy: http://www.ucdailynews.com
3. Photo courtesy: weblogs.newsday.com

My lineup

It’s almost here!!! Spring training!!! I am so ready. Sports, my usual life, some how betrayed me: A-Rod and steroids, 103 other players and steroids, Michael Phelps and the whole marijuana thing, Roberto Alomar being sued for not telling his ex girlfriend he has AIDS, Miguel Tejada charged with lying to Congress, I mean, when will it end?

To pass the time, I got a pet. Not as cool as it sounds. I got one on my ipod, and I named his Dustin Pedroia.
Pet.jpgThere he is! My pet, Dustin Pedroia. It was that or Jacoby Ellsbury, those names fit him more than anything else.

I was recently reading an article by Thomas Harding who was talking about the projected lineup for the Rockies. Here’s how he laid it out:

1. CF: Ryan Spilborghs
    BA: 0.313, SLG: 0.468, OBP: 0.407
2. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
    BA: 0.263, SLG: 0.401, OBP: 0.332
3. 1B: Todd Helton
    BA: 0.264, SLG: 0.388, OBP: 0.391
4. 3B: Garrett Atkins
    BA: 0.286, SLG: 0.452, OBP: 0.328
5. RF: Brad Hawpe
    BA: 0.283, SLG: 0.498, OBP: 0.381
6. 2B: Clint Barmes
    BA: 0.290, SLG: 0.468, OBP: 0.322
7. LF: Seth Smith
    BA: 0.259, SLG: 0.435, OBP: 0.350
8.  C: Chris Iannetta
    BA: 0.264, SLG: 0.505, OBP: 0.390

I like it, it’s a good batting order, which is one of the most crucial elements in offense. However, I thought about it and decided that if fate allowed me, I would develop my own:

1. CF: Ryan Spilborghs
2. 2B: Clint Barmes
3. 1B: Todd Helton
4. 3B: Garrett Atkins
5. RF: Brad Hawpe
6. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
7.  C: Chris Iannetta
8. LF: Seth Smith

I didn’t change a lot, but enough that I think it would change things. And I’d like to explain to the world why I did what I did. I really only think Rockies fan would care about this, I’d be interested in hearing about what you think the projected line up should be.

I put Ryan Spilborghs first. It’s very common for him to be the lead off man, however,Spilborghs.jpg he shared his position with, now Reds player, Willy Taveras. I think there will be added pressure for him to perform being in a full time position, and I do admit that I have my concerns with him. He better not perform like he did in the Mexican Pacific League, he ended the season with like… a 0.209 BA. Something very unimpressive. However, I didn’t base my decision off how he performed then. His 2008 season was overall good, Spilborghs is a good slugger and can work the count, an important trait. His biggest fault? He’s no Taveras when it comes to speed, Spilborghs isn’t known for his base stealing ability.

Barmes.jpgClint Barmes is a great player, and he proved it. After he got sent back down to the minors, he worked hard to get back to the show. It was impressive. I didn’t put Tulowitzki at second, and part of that might have to do with the fact that he was plagued with injuries last season which had a devastating effect on his stats. I believe that Clint Barmes is a contact hitter, he rarely struck out last season. It’s true Tulowitzki struck out less, but I think that Tulo doesn’t have the patience that Barmes does. I also think that being sent back down to the minors had a pretty profound effect on Barmes’ attitude. He knows what it’s like to make it to the show and be sent back down, and I think that’s something that makes him want to work harder; and that’s not to say that any player appreciates it less.
Helton.jpg
Todd Helton rounds in at third because well, he’s the best hitter. The best hitter means that you have the ability to hit, it doesn’t mean that you’re a big slugger; although, Todd is a big slugger. But of the team, he’s the guy who is the best. He can reach base. His stats last year might not reflect his ability but that might be because of all the injuries he suffered. Helton’s a great player both offensively and defensively. In 2000, he epitomized a clutch hitter which brings him higher up in the lineup.

I believe that Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe are kind of interchangeable atAtkins.jpg their spots. They’re both phenomenal hitters and both good in the cleanup spot. Brad Hawpe led the club in home runs and Atkins came in second. These guys can hit big and they can hit hard. Atkins led the club in RBIs, however, that statistic really doesn’t tell us much except that in a given opportunity, he can spread the wealth around to his teammates. It’s difficult to decipher who should come in at the cleanup spot. Putting together a line up is one of the most difficult things because it is so crucial. It’s a well known fact that the higher you are in the lineup, the more at bats you have. For every lineup spot a player moves up, they get see 18 more at bats per season. That’s what makes this so difficult, Hawpe and Atkins are our biggestHawpe.jpg hitters and to bring them farther down in the count means that they see less at bats. However, that’s part of the strategy of the lineup, putting your biggest sluggers in first isn’t going to really accomplish anything, you have to consider all your options: who can work the count, who works well under pressure, who can advance a player? Being a pitcher and facing, what you know as the best player on the team (hence why he’s in the cleanup spot), odds you’ll walk the guy increase. That’s why having the other best hitter in spot number five is so important. The fact that you’ve got another great guy in the lineup is going to put pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes. 

I put Troy Tulowitzki in spot number six. His statsTulo.jpg definitely suffered with an injury prone season; however, like I stated earlier, I don’t believe that Tulowitzki has a lot of patience. He’s a great player and great with a bat, so it’s difficult to decipher where he’s best in the lineup since his performance last year was… well… subpar. If during spring training he shows up ready for the season and not injury laden, his odds of moving up in the lineup will increase. It’s an honor to have Tulo on our team, but he needs to learn one of the most basic rules for a hitter: wait for your pitch. He’s eager, but he’s young. He’s got no where to go but up, and his talent is growing exponentially with every season he plays. Putting him far at the bottom was a tough choice because I do expect great things out of him.
Iannetta.jpg
In the seventh spot is Chris Iannetta. Being the catcher
is one of the most difficult positions,it’s hard on your body and incredibly demanding. Despite Iannetta having such a great season last year, putting him farther down in the lineup, in my opinion, is a wise move. The last thing you want is a worn out catcher, especially one as talented as Iannetta. Putting less stress on him is beneficial for the entire team, especially the pitcher. Keeping Iannetta fresh by giving him less at bats makes him better defensively, which is where a catcher is most important.

Finally, Seth Smith. Smith has often come in as PH, which tells me that he’s got some talentSmith.jpg with a bat. However, he’s young and inexperienced. He’s taking over left field which is enough pressure as it is. Having to fill Matt Holliday’s shoes is an incredibly responsibility and it puts a lot of tension on an ability to perform. I believe that because everybody believes that left field is a big spot to fill, it’ll also reflect in batting. Whether real or imagined, Smith is going to feel pressure to drive in the runs like Holliday did regardless of where he is in the lineup. But Smith is young, he’s got a lot to learn and he can make mistakes. I put him in the eighth position not because I believe that he’s the worst hitter on the team, but because he can clear the pitcher’s spot. It’s playing for the betterment of the team and not necessarily for his own personal statistics.

So, there it is, my lineup. It kind of kills me to see Carlos Gonzalez with the number five. That means that Holliday is officially gone. I kind of died a little inside. But now all our players have numbers and it’s officially the 13th which means that I’m one day away from spring training. Not only that, but if Todd Helton isn’t ready for the 2009 season, which it sounds like he might not be, bringing in Ian Stewart will completely change the lineup. While that’s not something that I considered in my arrangement, I’ll have to completely rearrange everything. Bt anyway, tell me about what your lineup would be. I’d be interested in hearing what other people think would be best.

Spring training. Just breathe, it’ll come.   

Is A-Rod taking the fall for 103 players?

Here are what some of the experts have said about the news of Alex Rodriguez confessing he used steroids:

I took this from the AP on Comcast, don’t think I went out and did research, I don’t deserve that much credit.

President Barack Obama
: I think it’s depressing news on top of what’s been a flurry of depressing items when it comes to Major League Baseball. And if you’re a fan of Major League Baseball, I think it tarnishes an entire era, to some degree. And it’s unfortuante, becauseI think there were a lot of ballplayers who played it straight. And, you know, the thing I’m probably most concerned about is the message that it sends to our kids. What I’m pleased about is Major League Baseball seems to finally be taking this seriously, to recognize how big of a problem this is for the sport, and that our kids hopefully are watching and saying: you know what? There are no shortcuts. That when you try to take shortcuts, you may end up tarnishing your entire career, and that your integrity’s not worth it. That’s the message I hope is communicated.

Tom Hicks, Texas Rangers owner: This whole episode has caught me totally by surprise. I feel personally betrayed, I feel deceived by Alex.

Rich Hofman, Rodriguez’s high school baseball coach: I’m sad for him, because I kno wwhat it’s going to do for him, and what he has to carry with him, what he’s going to have to put up with for the rest of his life. It’s something you can’t take an eraser to. Now it becomes part of your history.

Curt Schilling: He’s fricking human, he made a horrible choice and he’ll have to deal with it. Do whatever you want, speculate on whatever you want but the guy ‘manned up,’ admitted his mistake, that’s enough for me. Nothing we can do about it at this point but move on as fans and players. I still believe the names of all the positives should be released. That the media chose to only ‘out’ him is a crime in and of itself.

Pete Rose: I was a little disappointed in that because A-Rod will
probably be the player of the decade in the 2000s, and the player of
the decade probably for the 90s is Ken Griffey Jr. And I’ve just never
heard those two guys linked to any kind of enhancement as far as drugs
are concerned. So I was a little surprised that A-Rod did that in 2001,
2002, and 2003. I don’t want to listen to all this B.S. on ESPN about
how he was a kid and didn’t know what he was doing and stuff like that.
I mean, you did it. You admitted it. Go on with your life.

Joe Torre: We all hope that this information that has come out is going
to benefit the game of baseball in the long run. It blindsided me and
it was so widespread. We all have to take blame for this. I had never
really heard anything in connection to him. When you watch his work
ethic, the time he puts in at batting practice and in the weight room,
I had no reason to question him. He was the most ability of any player
I’ve seen. It’s going to be tough for him but I’m happy that he came
out, faced the music, and took responsibility for it.

New York Yankees statement: We strongly believe there is no place in
baseball for performance-enhancing drugs of any type, and we support
the efforts of the commissioner to continually improve the testing
process. We urged Alex to be completely open, honest and forthcoming in
addressing his use of performance-enhancing drugs. We take him at his
word that he was. Although we are disappointed in the mistake he spoke
to today, we realize that Alex – like all of us – is a human being not
immune to fault. We speak often about the members of this organization
being part of a family, and that is never more true than in times of
adversity. Alex took a big step by admitting his mistake, and while
there is no condoning the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we
respect his decision to take accountability for his actions. We support
Alex, and we will do everything we can to help him deal with this
challenge and prepare for the upcoming season.

Right now, the world is disappointed, heartbroken, angry, and betrayed by this confession from Alex Rodriguez. I know I am.

untitled.JPGI tried to look disappointed when I took it, but I didn’t know how to do that except by kind of looking down and then it looked like my eyes were closed, ya know, I’m asian, and I didn’t want people to think that I was sleeping over the story. So, I just ended up looking straight ahead, but there’s meant to be disappointment there.

I started thinking about Alex’s confession, I dwelled upon it. This morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed, I laid there for a while, and then finally decided that I wasn’t going to accomplish anything by laying in bed thinking about it. But I think that this news has actually… well… slightly depressed me. I mean, I’m literally depressed about this situation and about baseball.

These days, people seem to use the words “depressed” and “clinically depressed” interchangeably. I’d like to say that the two are very different, and at this point, my feelings come more from the second one.

I thought for a long time about one of the best names in history and what he had done for this great game. I never really liked A-Rod, but I respected him as a player. He was one of the best, his contract reflected it. I mean, no one would pay me $275 million to play ball because I suck. This statement made me lose a lot of respect for him, a lot. Using steroids is just… I don’t even know how to describe how negatively I feel toward it.

There was part of me that gained respect for A-Rod as a person, for a time. Let me explain. Rather than taking the Barry Bonds approach, Alex Rodriguez stepped up and admitted his mistake. Rather than taking the Jason Giambi approach, Alex Rodriguez actually said, “yes, I used performance enhancers.” And he could’ve just said it was in 2003, instead he admitted that he had used for three years. Part of me thought, hmm… these gestures by Alex are almost… respectable. Almost.

Then I started thinking about other things. In fact, Jay Mariotti pointed them out to me on Around the Horn. But first, let me ask, what the heck is Lil Wayne doing on the show?!?! I mean, I know he writes a blog of something for ESPN, but, he’s not very good on Around the Horn.

Anyway, Jay Mariotti asked this: He felt the pressure when he was with the Rangers, but not when he went to the Yankees?

Really? In 2003 the Rangers finished fourth in the AL West. Alex Rodriguez felt pressure to compete with that team, but not when he went to what is considered the best club in all of major league? In the year 2003, the Yankees finished first in the AL East. Wouldn’t you feel more pressure with the Yankees?

When I went to check my e-mail, I read an article talking about Alex Rodriguez, and I started realizing, this guy was actually describing exactly how I felt respect towards A-Rod. While part of me is so mad about the use of drugs, the other part of me is wondering why his name was the only one leaked. So, I’d like to leave you with some things that he wrote that made me think. HIs name is Lee Russakoff, and he’s asking about the integrity in baseball:

I wonder: Are integrity and success in professional sports mutually exclusive?

Think
about it. How else can you explain the silence of the 103 players out
there whose names are still under seal? How else can you account for
the inaction of the countless others who took banned substances at some
point in their careers?

No one….not a soul…has stepped up on his own and admitted his mistake.

Sure, Andy Pettitte came clean …once he got caught.

Jason Giambi came clean…once he got caught.

A-Rod said the one thing he’s proud of is being “forthright about my own situation.”

Yea, forthright…once he got caught...

If you knew you were dirty, why would you risk being outed by the media,
the players union or the government? Why risk the snowball of negative
press when coming forward voluntarily and completely would gain you a
rainbow of positive press.

You’d be the guy who willingly chose
honor. The guy who willingly chose the integrity of the game over the
integrity of your legacy. The guy who willingly told the truth when no
one else would.

And America would love you for it.

Because being an honorable man isn’t about always making the right choice. No human being always makes the right choice.

Being an honorable man is about owning up to your mistakes and atoning for your sins.

And right now, the sport of baseball is batting 0-for-104 on that playing field.

His last thought is the one that made me think most. It’s combined with Obama’s thought that this entire era will forever be tainted:

Baseball needs a leader. The entire sports world needs a leader.
Someone who never used steroids can come out and try to be that guy.
But he’ll fail. Because we won’t believe him. At least not entirely.
The taint of steroids is all over every player of this era–be he clean
or not.

Baseball and blogging

It seems as though the latest scandal plaguing our minds is A-Rod, or as people would like toalex_rodriguez_150.jpg see more fit, A-Fraud. Was Joe Torre right? Well, when we consider the outside looking in (like Manny Ramirez will be, come spring training, ha ha, hilarious) it appears that Joe Torre had it spot on. And let me be clear that in no way would I defend Alex Rodriguez.

This weekend I spent some time with my friends out in Longmont and I have a friend who is a die hard Broncos fan; completely ridiculously obsessed with the Broncos. Well, the Pro Bowl was this weekend, and she had read that the Manning brothers played a prank on Broncos QB Jay Cutler and threw him in the swimming pool which ultimately would short circuit his little insulin device, he was not injured. Well, she absolutely HATES HATES HATESp1_manning_all.jpg (I cannot stress enough her hatred) Peyton Manning. So she was quite mad about this, and her roommates were making fun of it. So when we went to get pho (it’s a delicious Vietnamese noodle soup), her roommates asked me about the situation. I kind of laughed about the fact that she was mad and she was like, “well think about it this way Emily, what if… Alex Rodriguez and… um… Derek Jeter threw Garrett Atkins in the pool?” (She’s not a baseball person so there was hesitation in trying to guess players that I hated.) Hmm… I certainly would not like it if A-Rod and Derek Jeter, my arch nemeses besides Kobe Bryant, threw the love of my life in the pool (Jay Cutler is not the love of her life, but her obsession with the Broncos as a whole is). Of course, Jay Cutler, like Garrett Atkins, is a multi-millionaire, it’s not like he would have one little insulin thing and none other, but well, whatever. So no, I would not like it if Garrett Atkins was thrown in a pool by two people who I have very large problems with. Okay, that really had nothing to do with what I was trying to post about, but it was mostly trying to describe my dislike of Alex Rodriguez.

With that in my mind, I would like to say with the utmost certainty that I am not in any way defending the fact that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids. When he talked to Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, his words were these:
ARod 60 minutes.jpg
Katie Couric: For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other performance-enhancing substance?
Alex Rodriguez: No… I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I’ve always been in a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level. So, no.”

He joined 103 other players who tested positive for steroids. Now, I haven’t followed baseball as religiously as I do now, so maybe it’s just me, but it seems like with Barry Bonds on the line, more names are starting to surface about steroids. While a large portion of blame can be pointed at the players for making the asinine decision to be the best the cheaters way, we need to realize that nothing has really been done to stop this.

Yes, there were attempts to cease use by doing random drug testing, but what did it actually accomplish; the 2003 test was intended to be anonymous and no penalties were to be brought. Alex Rodriguez, one of the most famed athletes in all the sports world, let a lot of people down. But what is this really evidence of?

To me, it presents how very insufficiently baseball supervised itself for, well, more or less, two decades. This disregard for management has created a cesspool type anarchy for drug abuse. By letting PED using players slide by and run rampant throughout baseball, it creates a bad name for every other player out there making them guilty by association. Some of them actually worked to have the privilege of playing baseball. It seems as though Ken Griffey Jr. is this generations Hank Aaron. It’s getting harder and harder every day for people to respect the game when some of it’s biggest heroes are letting down the world.

I love this game, but it seems that the game may not love me as much. I’m beginning to wonder what people are doing to try and stop the use of steroids. It’s easy to point fingers, I mean, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and now Alex Rodriguez were designed to be the best of the best all in the same era, and now have fallen all for the same reason. So in the spirit of trying to stop the unbridled use of steroids, one has to wonder who it was that leaked the name Alex Rodriguez out of 103 other names. Yes, who was it that breached the confidentiality agreement? Should they also be punished? Wasn’t the anonymity of the test designed so that players felt that they could trust the union? I certainly don’t have answers to these questions, but I would like to meet the person who does.

So, on a lighter note, I would like to talk about blogging and the hilarity that comes with it. I am always incredibly grateful when I get comments on my blog, no exaggeration; with no job, it’s kind of what I look forward to throughout the day. One of the first things I do when I wake up is check my blog, so ya know, I should probably start up that MLBlogs Anonymous group pretty soon… This past week, I was number 41 in the MLBlogs latest leaders. I love the fact that I make it to the top 50 for the week and thank the people out there who read my blog with the most sincere gratitude. Any time someone who is a higher number than me comments on my blog, I am completely ecstatic. This has made me realize something about myself: I have lots of blog crushes.

Yes, it is as weird as it sounds, but there’s also a back story that goes with it.

I mentioned earlier that my friends and I eat pho. We’ve become regulars at one particular restaurant where they know our order and us. My Broncos obsessed friend has developed what she calls a “pho crush.” While we joke that the guy who she has a “pho crush” on is actually her secret boyfriend, I think it can actually be interpreted more as the fact that she is Crush_fotm.jpgalways disappointed when he’s not working because he knows us, he jokes with us, etc. so she likes it when he’s there and is usually pretty excited to see him, hence, a “pho crush.” I hoped that made sense to everyone.

So… what is a blog crush? Being #41, in all it’s excitement, isn’t as gratifying as I would like it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be there, but I’d like to try to do better. I try to comment on others blogs, and make my presence known. So, while I’m very obliged when I get comments on my blog from people, there were certain people who started to stand out. For a while, Red State Blue State was in the number one spot (Julia booted them out of that last week), but when I finally got a comment on my blog from the (at the time) #1 spot Red State Blue State, I nearly died. I was so excited that I got a comment from the (at the time
) numero uno! So, yeah, I have a blog crush on Red State Blue State.

Being in a blogging community actually makes you feel like you’re almost acquainted with the people around you. Ya know? Like… in some sense, you kind of know them. So when I talk about my blog crushes, I usually refer to them as “my blogging friends.” So, while some people may not be a blog crush, they are my blogging friends, and I still am all gleeful when they comment on my blog. You can find most of them, but not all of them, in the side bar.

Julia (the number one blog this week!!) is usually the first one to comment on the things I write. So, like I said, checking my blog is the first thing I do, I always anticipate a comment from Julia. This has caused me to have a blog crush on Julia. Along with that, I have a blog crush on Elizabeth, Jane, Don, and Rays Renegade, but for a slightly different reason. They are all really amazing writers. I strive to write something as good as they do, and often, they write on a daily basis.

There are people who do really amazing things with their lives, like the heroes of baseball, you look up to them. Tom has frequently come up in my conversations with my friends. I talk about him a lot because I really believe in the things that he’s doing with his project. So when I was first mentioning a blog crush to my friends, I was talking about Red State Blue State, and the first thing out of their mouths was “is it Tom?”

My most recent blog crush: Jimmy over at Baseball, the Yankees, and Life. Number ten on the latest leaders, he’s the inspiration for blog dedications.

So… sorry if that is really weird and has weirded some of you out. I kind of think it’s hilarious. In any case, I appreciate everyone who comments on my blog and takes the time to read it. I’m an amateur writer not hoping to make it in the writer world, but I definitely enjoy doing it and enjoy writing in MLBlogs even more.

   

1. Photo courtesy: community.foxsports.com
2. Photo courtesy: sportsillustrated.cnn.com
3. Photo courtesy: http://www.cbsnews.com
4. Photo courtesy: thesodagallery.com 

End It Already

There are certain things in this world that I believe, for whatever reason, should have ended long before their time. Yes, junctures that were far past their expiration date and were starting to plague the world with their luscious scent of repugnance.

Some of my best examples?

1. That show Friends.

friends.jpgI’ll tell you that I’m the only person I’ve ever encountered in my twenty-three years of life who hates this show. I find it to be irritating, vapid, and all around stupid. Don’t ask me why. Like I said, I’m the only person I’ve ever encountered who doesn’t like this show, I don’t expect anyone to feel the same way, I’ll deal.

I believe that this show should have ended long ago. It lasted for ten seasons. Yes, ten seasons of that torture known as the “hilarious comedy.” Why did it have to last so long? Wasn’t everyone else ready for it to end?  

Sorry if this is your favorite show in the world, but, well, I’m entitled to my own opinion.

2. George Bush’s Presidency.

Bush.jpgYes, the man ran a whole country, and I give him tremendous props for that. I know that I could never run a country, but eight years was a little too long for all of us. Of course, when this man first became President, I wasn’t allowed to vote, so ya know, don’t blame me. Ha ha, just kidding, that was mean.

So, from my best understanding, most people were ready for it to end within the first four years if not the first four months.

3. The drama with Michael Phelps.

Michael Phelps.jpgHe’s a kid, he’s my age. Just because he can swim fast doesn’t mean he’s impenetrable to life. Michael Phelps is probably the most scrutinized athlete, but what everyone is forgetting is that he’s human… well… sort of. I mean, besides being as much of a freak in the pool as Tim Lincecum is with a ball, he’s human. He made a mistake, he owned up to it, get over it. He’s been suspended for three months and lost one of his major sponsors. Our country has bigger problems and more important things to worry about than a kid with a bong. As far as I’m concerned, the punishment far outweighs the crime.

This is something that should have ended before it even began.

4. ER.

ER.jpgI watched this show way back in the day, when I was a kid. It’s been on for 15 seasons now. 15!!!! That’s longer than that terrible Friends show! Yes, back when I was a kid, I was absolutely in love with this show, I never missed it… or, I was more in love with Noah Wyle. When I was in elementary school or middle school… something like that, we took a field trip to the ER and they were like, “yeah, that show ER is not like the real ER at all.” Well, that was disappointing. In any case, this show should have ended after George Clooney left and Dr. Green died (I cried when that happened). Maybe not that soon, I can’t remember when Dr. Green died, but it should have ended soon after.

5. Will Manny Ramirez sign?

ManRam.jpg

It’s time to face the music here, ManRam, odds are, you’ll end up signing with the Dodgers, so why all this drama? In fact, it’s more like frama… which is fake drama. Yeah, you’re good with a bat, and if it weren’t for David Ortiz, you probably would’ve been the DH for the Red Sox because we all know that you’re not that spectacular out in left.

But really, it’s time to end the “will Manny Ramirez be on the roster of a team?” stuff because it’s old news. This situation is as bad as “why isn’t Jason Varitek signing with the Red Sox?” As that angel known as your agent would like to put it, “he works for you,” so just sign with the Dodgers already. Maybe they’ll let you be number 28 like you thought you wanted. I’m sure it’ll be as easy as Chad Johnson changing his name to Chad Ocho Cinco.

But wise up, Manny. We’re all a little tired of hearing you trying to hold out for the maximum amount of money. It’s starting to get a little pathetic. What was wrong with getting $25 million? I would have settled for half that, in fact, I would settle for a whole lot less. Of course I’m not “god’s gift to baseball.”

Get over yourself Manny, quit being Manny and just sign. You should’ve done it long ago.
 

  1. Photo courtesy: http://www.celebgossipnet.com
  2. Photo courtesy: I wish I could give a photo courtesy, but I stole this from my friend’s Facebook page, I have no idea where he got it
  3. Photo courtesy: en.beijing2008.cn
  4. Photo courtesy: http://www.nbc.com
  5. Photo courtesy: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Musical inspiration

Today I was walking around downtown looking for a job. I walk up and down the sixteenth street mall, and when you reach Blake Street, Coors Field is about four blocks away. I am graced with living close to Coors Field, and as I was walking, it reminded me of exactly what I want to do, a dream that almost seems impossible that I’m still chasing. Some time ago, my uncle sent me a YouTube video and it somehow resurfaced in my day and I’d like to share it with you. It’s from Britain’s Got Talent and it’s a guy named Paul Potts.

For me, opera is a little hard to appreciate. My dad listens to it all the time and I just get annoyed by it. But I’ll share with you that the first time I heard this, the emotional response was… different. Music is one of our most powerful gifts, and this one had a profound affect on me. With the frustrations of the Rockies issuing a hiring freeze and companies not hiring, I’ve grown more petulant toward society. Paul reminded me that chasing a dream is worth it, and it’s what I wanted to share with the rest of the world.

Keep in mind that he’s an amateur. He said that he sells phone for a living. Hopefully I can be like him. I too am an amateur, and while I don’t sell phones for a living, I have a dream. It reminds me of that Aerosmith Song, “Dream On.” And well, that’s kind of fitting because they play Aerosmith at the end of that video.

So I hope you enjoy it and it has an overwhelming affect on you too.

1. Video Courtesy: myspacepaulpotts

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