I don't really get why everyone (hyperbole) is getting so riled up about Joba's 8th inning exuberance but to listen to David Delucci and NY Sports Talk Radio you'd think he whipped his crank out on the mound and started helicoptering the shit out of it. People really need to settle down about this. Simmer.
Here's what I think (move away from the edge of your seat): everyone involved in this imbroglio is to some degrees wrong. The most wrongest is David Delucci. Joba's post-strikeout fist pump doesn't show anyone up. He's not pointing at the guy or yelling at him, he's just getting (overly) excited. Yes he does it too much and yes it's completely contrived and he just does it because it looks cool and now everyone expects him to do it, but it's completely harmless to the player on the "receiving" end of it. It blows my mind that Delucci somehow feels "disrespected" by a fucking 8th inning final out on-the-mound celebration. To pull the "play the game the right way" card here is absurd. But this isn't to say that Joba is blameless here.
With a 3 run lead in the 8th inning of a May 8th game and no one on, Joba Chamberlain is supposed to get the final guy of the inning out. And when he does he should be happy. He did a good job. But how he can possibly justify going bonkers and screaming at the top his lungs when he strikes a guy out in the 8th when facing no threat is a real headscratcher. An 8th inning strikeout is more a time for a muted fist pump or maybe a leg or glove slap (again, subtle). It doesn't get my blood boiling or anything that Chamberlain is somehow rubbing it in to the batter, but what does cause me pause is why he's so fucking excited. IT'S THE 8TH INNING IN A 3 RUN GAME WITH NO ONE ON! This is no time for crazy histrionics. It's like Bill Grammatica going nuts after kicking a 29 yard field goal in the 4th quarter to put his team up 17. I just find the whole thing so unnecessary and bush league.
You win the game or get a big out, go nuts like K-Rod or Papelbon. You strike out a career .260 hitter in a game you control barely a month into the season, you fucking walk back to the dugout and shut the fuck up.
Friday, May 9, 2008
I'm not sure how long I'll do this but I'm going to start posting some of the songs I've been listening to up in this piece if only so I can have a record of the type of my flavor the month.
Above is Death Cab For Cutie with "I will possess your heart," the long version (also comes in the the 4 minute version. It come off their album "Narrow Stairs" coming out this Tuesday (May 13th). I can't speak for the rest of the album but I enjoy this tune.
Posted by Luol Dang! at 11:33 AM
Thursday, May 8, 2008
It'd be fair to say that I haven't watched the NBA with any regularity since MJ put down his last championship. For whatever reason the league lost whatever luster it had for me when Michael took off. The draw at the time was that every time Mike was on TV something unreal was bound to happen. And then he was gone and no one picked up the slack. It probably didn't help that the year following MJ's departure featured a 5 month lockout followed by 8 years of mediocre play led by dominating big men like Shaq & Duncan, the league just lost the imagination that used to draw me in when I was a kid. If you made an NBA Superstars video of the early 2000's you'd have half an hour of Duncan bank shots and 20 minutes of progressively less aggressive Shaq Dunks. Sweet. I'm told today that the NBA has the most talent its ever had. That may be true but even with the advent of the Kobe / Lebron era (I'm aware that Kobe's "era" began much earlier), I haven't really had any interest in watching. Those guys, while dominant, just lack something that I can't put my finger on (Kobe's luster was lost on me the day he decided to not take a single shot in a playoff game out of spite). Call it what you will maybe a little likable pizzazz that these guys lack... But whatever it is that they are missing is exactly what Chris Paul has; and he has it in f'n droves.
I'm not sure I've seen a more exciting athlete on TV in the last ten years. LT, Mike Vick, Lebby, Sid the Kid, college Reggie Bush, whoever. I'll put Paul up against any of them. If you haven't seen this kid play (and he is a kid at 23 years-old), you need to Tivo it or something. He's in the lane, he's throwing alleys and he's pulling up from anywhere making it look frickin seamless. He may be the most smooth player I've ever watched play... and I HATE NBA basketball (especially the Spurs who feature the least likable group of "stars" the world has ever known).
To put it in proper perspective, it's midnight on a Thursday, I just finished the last law school final exam I will ever take in my entire life (hopefully) and I haven't been alone with myself without a book in front of me for the last 4 weeks. And rather than abusing myself via the absurd amount of fresh porn that has built up in my absence (not to mention that Cinemax is presently showing "Hotel Erotica Cabo 10: Primal Urge"), I'm watching Chris Paul single-handedly keep the Hornets in a game against the best--and least exciting--team of the decade.
Now, maybe that simply means that I've lost my touch and just need to get back in the swing of things or maybe it means there are some things I need to work out in a lengthy therapy session, but the conclusion I've come to is that it means that Chris Paul is watchable to even the most casual of NBA fans under the most extreme of circumstances.
I'm not sure we'll ever see it replace the "NBA, it's FAN-tastic" slogan but for me: "Chris Paul, he'll distract you from masturbating" is pretty high praise.
Posted by Luol Dang! at 11:03 PM
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
After coming back from a 4 run deficit and taking the lead on a Dustin Pedroia pinch hit single in the 8th, the Sox put Papelbon on the mound and were on their way to a win. With a man on (infield single) and no outs, a routine ground ball was hit directly at Lugo. He charged it in time to get the lead runner out and possibly turn two (though it would have been a tough double play). At the very least he had plenty of time to get the batter (Renteria) out at first, and that's when Julio Lugo stepped in and took matters into his cold concrete hands. Instead of picking the ball up and throwing it to a base for what is known as a "force out," Julio decided to kick the ball around for a little while and not throw it to any base for his 10th error of the year. A sac bunt, a productive ground out and a broken bat bloop later and the Tigers had won. Thanks Julio. You are the worst.
Posted by Luol Dang! at 10:10 PM
Monday, May 5, 2008
Listen, I'm well aware that this is a Yankees town. The Mets often play third fiddle to the whoever the Yanks' opponent happens to be in terms of coverage in the tabloid rags. I'm rarely surprised that the Mets don't get a ton of respect. I'm also aware that at this stage in the season the major story in NY (if not all of baseball) is the struggling Yanks and their awful "rotation." But even for NY today's coverage in the Post was comical.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are the best team in the majors. Their big time offseason acquisition was Dan Haren. The Mets are the consensus pick to take the NL East and are most folks pick to get to the World Series. The acquisition of Johan Santana is the reason for the hype. Yesterday, in the rubber game of what is likely to be the NL Championship matchup (I'm assuming the Cubs will blow it at some point), Dan Haren squared off with Johan Santana. The game did not disappoint. 2-2 into the ninth with a 9th inning error deciding the game and the Mets coming out victorious thus stealing the series in AZ. A pretty big story and a huge confidence boost for the Mets. In the NY Post today, there was one article. One. The back page of the Post, the Yankees' back-and-forth journeyman Darrell Fucking Rasner. Inside the Post, 5 articles about the Yanks. FIVE TO ONE! The Yanks touched up the last place Ms 4th pitcher at home and got 5 articles. The Mets best pitcher pitched great and the Mets won in a dramatic last inning and there is a single fucking mention! What a fucking disgrace.
I know that the Yanks are a much more interesting story even when they are average (or especially when they are average) than the Mets are when they're good, but the Mets are going to stay baseball relevant deeper into the season than the Yanks will. So I don't know, maybe you want to familiarize yourselves and the public with what's going on with them?
Posted by Luol Dang! at 9:18 PM
I'm not sure this is even worthy of a response because unlike a surprisingly large portion of Americans (according to a CNN.com poll, 60% of Americans feel that thoroughbred horses are mistreated) my readers are all probably in agreement here, but it's strikes me as so ridiculous that I feel I have to respond.
Taking advantage of the publicity of the death of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby yesterday, the folks at PETA have come out in support of horses. Here is a portion of the statement released:
PETA is calling for the immediate suspension of jockey Gabriel Saez—who whipped Eight Belles mercilessly as she came down the final stretch, no doubt in agony from two front legs that were about to snap.Now, a couple things strike me about this portion of the quote and I'll hit them first before I post and respond to the most offensive portion. Firstly, as was pointed out in several places today including Tirico and Van Pelt's radio show, if their problem with the jockey Saez is that he whipped the horse "mercilessly" (not sure I agree with the word choice, but I'm no Buzz Bissinger so I'll relent in that critique), why did they single him out? Didn't every jockey whip their horses? I understand that I'm being a little picky as I'm sure the response from PETA would be that their first choice would be to get rid of horse racing altogether, but the fact that Saez was singled out strikes me as very odd.
Secondly, the folks at PETA seem to be suggesting that the injury was preventable. And not in the sense that it would have been prevented had the horse never been involved in racing in the first place. They suggest that the horse was in agony on the final stretch because her legs were "about to snap." Now, I'm no Equilogist (nor am I a veterinarian) and I wasn't in the room when they carved up the poor lady, so I really can't speculate on the cause of the injuries, but apparently if you are a PETA member you can simply know by watching the race that horse was running in such a way that her legs were essentially matchsticks waiting to be snapped. Now how on fucking earth could a reasonable human being come to that conclusion when that horse finished fucking second at the fucking Kentucky fucking Derby (if she were in a ton of pain on the back stretch, me thinks she may have slowed a touch). It's not only blatant and baseless conjecture on the part of the PETA folks, it's so illogical as to undermine their greater point. In order to sustain this line of argument, EVERY FUCKING HORSE WOULD BREAK THEIR LEGS AND DIE. But this isn't the best part so I'm moving on.
Here was the most unsettling portion of the statement:
Despite the wealth associated with thoroughbred racing, for the horses—most of whom end up broken, cast off, or sent to Europe to be killed for the dinner table—it's a dirty business and no better than dogfighting.I'll start by saying that I'm not going to even address the suggestion that Germans are eating horses or turning them into coffee tables (the quote could really be taken either way) as it really has nothing to do with anything. The part I want to get to is the Horse Racing = Dogfighting.
First, shut the fuck up. This is stupid. The PURPOSE of putting dogs in a ring together is for one to injure or kill the other. The unintended consequence of horse racing is injury. And because horses suffer so greatly from the recovery process associated with these injuries (or die anyway through infection or circulation problems), the humane treatment for these injuries is euthanasia. In dogfighting, the dogs get the shit kicked out of them in order to ready them for fights. Many die in training. Thoroughbred horses are perhaps the most pampered animals on earth next to the Kobe Beef Cattle. They are well fed, well bred and get to run around as much as they want. Dogfighting and horse racing couldn't be less comparable on so many levels. So while choosing a brutal sport involving animals that was recently in the news is clever and gives the reader a nice visual comparison, the analogy is so off that it just serves to discredit your greater argument. You can't make outrageous statements like this and expect me to take your greater point seriously. Any chance you had at convincing me that you have the capacity to be reasonable is out the door because my eyes are rolling.
You see, if you want to make the argument that the governing body of horse racing needs to take a look at this incident and see if the horse was ill prepared or the maybe horses today should be better tested prior to a race or whatever, that's fine. Who knows, those concerns may even be legitimate. But if it's the public's support you want, quit reaching into your case of crazy and making statements that are not intended to inform but are instead intended to scare people into taking your side. It cheapens your argument and loses your grip on anyone who would even consider taking your side. I have no idea if thoroughbred horses are being mistreated or if Eight Belles' death could have been avoided (I have my suspicions that this couldn't be farther from the truth) and because of the public deaths the last couple of years I'm almost willing to listen to arguments suggesting that something is amiss. But when the people who have taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the animals rid themselves of facts in favor of fear mongering and outrageous headline making, you lose all credibility with me.
Posted by Luol Dang! at 8:01 PM