Posted by keithosaunders on September 24, 2010
This year baseball fans are being treated to a good old-fashioned pennant race. With a week and a half remaining in the season the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants have been flip-flopping daily for the division lead, with the Colorado Rockies not far behind. At the moment the Giants are in front of the Padres by a half a game with the Rockies trailing by 3 and a half. In addition, the Padres also trail the wildcard leading Atlanta Braves by a half game.
Over in the A.L. East the Yankees and Rays have been involved in a close race which has been rendered moot by the absence of an American League wildcard race. Barring a miracle finish by the Redsox, who are 7 games out of the wildcard lead, both the Yankees and Rays will be in the playoffs. What should be a riveting race between two great teams is instead meaningless.
In 1993 there was an incredible pennant race between the Atlanta Braves, then in the western division, and the San Francisco Giants. On July 20th of that year the Giants were a comfortable 9 games ahead of the Braves. Around that time the Braves acquired Fred McGriff from the Bluejays, and inserted rookie Greg McMichael into the closer role. They reeled off 27 wins in 35 games before facing the Giants with their new lineup. They then swept a 3 game series at Candlestick to move to within 1 and a half games of the Giants. The teams met for their final series on the last week of August, a series in which Atlanta won 2 of 3.
In September, thanks to an injury-depleted pitching staff, the Giants fell 4 games behind Atlanta. Improbably, that managed to turn it around by going on a 13-1 tear setting up a final weekend of the season which found the two teams deadlocked in the standings. The Giants played in Los Angeles against their arch-rival, Dodgers, while the Braves played the expansion Colorado Rockies, whom they had owned throughout the season. It all came down to the last day of the season, both teams owning identical records. The Braves won their game against the Rockies 4-3 and retired to their clubhouse to watch the Giants lose a laugher to the Dodgers, 12-1. (This was a modicum of revenge for L.A. The Giants, behind a home run from an aging Joe Morgan, had ended their 1982 season in similar fashion) The 1993 Giants finished with a record of 103-59.
Because a 100 win team missed the playoffs, baseball felt that they had to do something to rectify the situation. This factor, along with the enticement of additional TV money, prompted the creation of the wildcard team.
In 1995, when the wildcard system was adopted, baseball sacrificed drama for the inclusion of two additional playoff teams. While there still are compelling races such as the one this year, having a wildcard team precludes the possibility of two 100 + win teams doing battle. One or the other will almost certainly claim the wildcard spot since the chance of having a third dominant team is practically impossible.
In the two division format there had been riveting tension that lasted all throughout September. Compare that with the ennui that has settled into the AL East most of this, and every season. The divional format existed in major league baseball for 24 years. In this span 100 win teams missed the playoffs twice. The only other time it occurred was in 1980 when Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Oriole’s won 100 games yet finished behind the division-winning Yankees. Imagine how crabby Weaver must have been after having squandering a 3-1 lead in games to Pittsburgh in the 1979 World Series only to follow it up in with a 100 year non-playoff season!
A good friend of mine, and occasional guest-blogger, Jeff Mazzei, has long thought that the leagues should be divided into four divisions, thus eliminating the need for the wildcard. There would be the same amount of playoff series, yet each division would at least have the possibility of a good race. I can live with a good team missing the playoffs. What I can’t stomach is too many more close, yet meaningless divisional races.
Fred McGriff — Crimedog!
Posted in baseball | Tagged: Atlanta Braves, Earl Weaver, Fred McGriff, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, pennant race, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays | 2 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 22, 2010
It’s one thing when a moderate Republican wins an election, but it’s an entirely different thing when incompetent radicals such as Christine O’Donnell and Carl P. Paladino are victorious. I realize that Delaware had an extremely small turnout, but I was stunned that tens of thousands of people supported a candidate (O’Donnell) who believes that masturbation is commensurate with adultery. Over in New York State, Paladino, who is running for governor against Andrew Cuomo, supports prison camps for welfare recipients.
Meanwhile, in Washington, there are enough votes in the Senate to prevent the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law — policy that prevents gays from openly serving in the military. It is deplorable to me that a significant faction of our leaders believe that a person’s sexual orientation has a bearing on his or her ability to serve.
What is going on here? For me there is only one explanation: Blatant racism and homophobia. These candidates, and for that matter a large portion of our elected officials, are clearly not qualified to lead. O’Donnell barely graduated college. Paladino is an anti-semite who circulates racist emails. They have no business impacting a community election, let alone a national contest.
I lived in New York City for 26 years, more than enough time to understand that outside of Manhattan and a few sections of Queens and Brooklyn, is right-leaning at best, and virulently racist at worst. It is not a stretch to see how an anti-intellectual candidate such as Paladino could connect with Staten Islanders, let alone Long Islanders.
It all boils down to the shock and outrage that a black man became president. It flies in the face of everything these dullards were taught and believed in. They would rather support candidates that would worsen their situation, i.e. cut taxes for the rich and decrease access to education.
I can’t entirely blame the candidates or the Republican Party. They are exploiting an opportunity and using it to their advantage. It’s the voter who I reserve my outrage. It is they who vote against health care, jobs, and education. They won’t find opportunities for advancement from the racist Paladino, or the righteously wacky O’Donnell. What they will find is a celebration of mediocrity. It is a sanctification of 18th century oppression that I thought we had moved beyond.
Posted in Obama, Politics | Tagged: Barack Obama, Carl P. Paladino, Christine O'Donnell, Congress, Don't ask don't tell, racism, Tea Party | Leave a Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 20, 2010
Last week a tornado blew through Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. It did major damage in Queens and Brooklyn — there were many downed trees and one fatality in Queens. There were many amateur videos. Here in Berkeley, California I was receiving continual updates and photos on both my facebook and twitter feeds. It felt strange to be experiencing this event almost in real-time from so far away.
As I was checking out my twitter feed I noticed that someone had actually registered Bklyntornado as a user name and was posting as if he/she was the tornado. I have to say, these tweets were hilarious. So without further adieu I give you…the Brooklyn Tornado.
Got a couple fancy strollers in my funnel!
Hanging out in somewhere called “Bushwick”? We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. I’ve never terrorized so many minorities!
What’s up with ‘Fort Greene’? Is there actually a fort there? Not anymore! (Cuz I blew it over. LOL.)
Everyone is describing me; let me describe you: “OMG, a Tornado!” [Pulls out smartphone, starts tweeting. Hit by flying lawn chair.]
Just got a call from Good Morning America. They want to know if I injured any attractive white women they could have on their show tomorrow.
Got this mosque stuck in my funnel. Not sure how many blocks away from Ground Zero I should set it down.
Uh oh. RT @SarahPalinUSA Pls, @BKLYNTornado. Its Ur Right 2 put down mosque, but is UNNECESSARY. Keep terror temple in ur funnel 4ever.
New Yorkers are pussies. In Kansas people would be THANKING me right now. RT @shellybhushan effed up evening. thanks @bklyntornado
My funnel smells like horseshit. Can someone make sure I didn’t suck up Carl Paladino?
Religious leaders say I hit New York because of all the gays. Not true. I hit it because of all the Jews. KIDDING! KIDDING!
My one regret: Not sucking up Larry King and hanging him by his suspenders from the Empire State Building’s antenna. Always been a dream.
You can follow me at my regular account: @OminousLowPressureSystem.
And now I’m off! Back into Zeus’ asshole! (That’s where tornadoes come from.)
Gooodddd byeeeee newwwww yorrrrkkkkkkkk. Getttt sommmeee fuckkkiinnnggg tornadoooooo sireeeeennnnnssss orrrrr yourrr gonnnnaaa dieeeeee
This is sad: New Yorkers don’t believe in me. Now I know how the Mets feel. 😦
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 9, 2010
We were finishing up dinner and I was about to throw the remaining scraps of my meal into the garbage when all of a sudden my son called out, “Dad, no! It goes in here.” He was pointing to a 16 inch hard plastic green pail. I stared in disbelief.
“Good sweet Mordecai, you don’t mean…”
You see, my friends, garbage in the Bay Area is no laughing matter. They take recycling seriously in these parts and you either get on the bus or get out of town.
We’ve got three garbage pails: One for regular garbage, and one for recycling, which conveniently encompasses most plastics, glass, and my personal favorite, foil. These pails are not large and if you overfill them the garbage men will leave the excess at the curb. Then there is the green compost pail where we put the food and lawn scraps. The entire crowd of them get picked up by three separate trucks on Wednesday.
As you can see there’s a lot of pressure on garbage day. First of all, don’t forget to put the pails out on Tuesday night. Second of all, don’t forget about the pails.
The first two weeks we were here the garbage men left the pails halfway full. I was wondering if this was some sort of neighborhood initiation or hazing. Perhaps they wanted a tip. “Thanks for taking care of me, Nunzio.”
Fortunately my neighbor appears to be an expert on the topic and he informed me that sometimes the bags adhere to the bottom of the pail. Yesterday I was able to observe the pickup process. I learned that the garbage men do not actually handle the garbage! The trucks are equipped with hydraulic prongs which lift the pails upside down and into the truck.
I realized that I simply had to put the bag on bottom, which had been sticking, onto the top. It worked like a charm. Yesterday’s garbage pickup was 100% successful and today I feel like a million bucks!
Posted in San Francisco | Tagged: Bay Area, garbage, life, reclcling, San Francisco | 3 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 8, 2010
Lately I’ve been getting into cooking dinners for my family. For the most part I’ve done a good job. A little internet searching usually yields a simple enough recipe for my culinary skill-set, and if I’m really ambitious I’ll even make a sauce.
Tonight I improvised a mexican sauce for steak by adding cilantro, garlic, chile sauce, and lime juice into the blender. I set my phasor on stun and fired it up. (actually it was the blender and it was set to puree) I added the sauce to the steak, put it in the oven at 450, and went about my business.
15 minutes later I checked on the steak only to see it was still rare. I went to the freezer to get some ice for my water and wouldn’t you know it, the handle was loose and came ajar. I tried to set it back in place and ended up gashing my index finger on the loose metal.
There’s always that split second after the cut where you are hoping against hope that the cut isn’t a deep one. I held my breath to no avail. The blood came gushing out like old faithful. I Was like Dan Aykroyd as Julie Child in that old Saturday Night Live skit. By the time I finished with the washing and bandaging of my finger the steak was over-cooked. Like leather. The pity was that the sauce came out good and received rave reviews from my kids. I spent the dinner trying to cut my steak with the knife precariously propped against my thumb. I’m lucky I didn’t do any further damage to my hands.
On a happier note I would like to wish a happy birthday to the greatest living sax player, Sonny Rollins! Sonny is one of my all time favorites and I spent a good part of today on Pandora listening to his music. He is 80 years old today.
Posted in jazz, life | Tagged: cooking, Dan Aykroyd, Julia Child, life, Sonny Rollins | 3 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 5, 2010
Not the football Giants, but baseball’s Giants, the team I grew up hating. How strange it is to turn on my local TV and see the orange and black of San Francisco playing at 7 PM. Living in New York for the past two and a half decades, I was used to seeing their games begin at 10:00 PM. With this damn Pacific time zone all of the sports is done before the network news, which is fine if you like to go to sleep early, but not so fine if you’re used to keeping late hours.
Yesterday’s game, versus my old Dodgers, was a honey. The Dodgers leaped out to a 4-0 lead and it looked as if the punchless Giants would go down easily. The tide began to turn in the middle innings when solo home runs by Buster Posey, Edgar Rentaria, and Pat Burrell (I hate him, that Met killer!) brought them to within a run.
In the 9th inning Joe Torre brought in his fireballing closer, Johnathon Broxton, who proceeded to throw 12 straight 96mph-plus fastballs. There was one on and two out when Juan Uribe stepped to the plate and hit a hanging slider deep into the left field bleachers. 5-4 Giants.
In the bottom of the inning the Giants closer, Brian Wilson, allowed a pair of singles to put runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out, but easily retired the next two hitters to nail down the ballgame.
The game had added intensity since the Giants are involved in a pennant race — they are 2.5 games behind the slumping San Diego Padres, and 3.5 off the wild card pace, chasing the Phillies. If I have to be in a strange city where I know no one and have no gigs, at least there is important September baseball to watch. Oh, and did somebody mention football?
Posted in baseball | Tagged: baseball, Buster Posey, Joe Torre, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mets, Padres, pennant race, Phillies, San Francisco Giants | 2 Comments »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 4, 2010
Like most parents I dread going into a parking lot because of the drubbing I receive at the hands of my nine-year old daughter upon the sighting of any Volkswagen. Somewhere along the line it became de rigueur to deliver a punch to the nearest person after seeing a Volkswagen Bug, although my daughter has amended the rules to make it any model.
Here in the Bay Area I have seen a lot of old cars. I suppose that the mild California winters have allowed for greater preservation — they don’t deal with the rust that ensues from salted roads. Many of the cars I’ve seen have the blue and gold license plates from the 70s. Some, like the one pictured below, even have the old black with gold lettering plates of the 60s.
Coming out of the market yesterday I noticed this old Volkswagen Bug which had the passenger seat removed, allowing for a makeshift backseat. I ended up having a conversation with the owner of the car, now 70, who had earned his living as a Volkswagen mechanic. He was the original owner of this 1965 model and the car has over 500,000 miles. He also has a 1968 model with roughly the same mileage. He has recently replaced the engine, but unfortunately, thanks to a shadow, my photo doesn’t do it justice. It was amazing seeing a shiny, brand-new engine inside of this classic old car.
He is moving to Idaho where he can fly fish full-time. He’ plans on driving both vehicles the 1,000 plus miles.
Posted in San Francisco | Tagged: Bay Area, California, life, punchbuggy, Volkswagen, volkswagen beetle | Leave a Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 2, 2010
Lest you think that the Yankees, with Phil Rizzuto and John Sterling, have cornered the market on eccentricity in the announcing booth, I am giving equal time to the New York Mets TV team. For years Ralph Kiner, the great Pittsburgh Pirates slugger, was a staple in the Mets announcing core. These days he is mostly retired, but every once in a while, say five or six times a year, they dust him off, prop him up, and bring him in. He’s always been a favorite of mine and he was a great announcer in his day, although he could be prone to mispronounce certain names or sponsors. Manufacturers Hanover became Manufacturers Hand Over, while Reds pitchers Mario Sota was transformed into Mario Soda.
Once again, the great Jeff Mazzei supplied the anecdote:
…the highlight was Kiner & Hernandez strolling down memory lane. Gary Cohen made the mistake of asking Ralph if the Mets and Astros had a natural rivalry in the early days because they were both expansion teams that arrived at the same time. Ralph said it was actually very one-sided with the Astros winning most of the time, but he loved coming to Houston because of the hotel. Keith chimed in that he knew exactly what hotel he was talking about (which he did).
Kiner said, “Yes, they had a great bar,” and Hernandez reminisced, “Yes, they had that great brown bag policy. Apparently, Harris County was a dry county, and this hotel let you bring your own liquor into the bar as long as it was concealed.
But this was just the beginning. Keith said, “You know, when I played triple A in Wichita, they had a bar with a policy that you could bring your own as long as you removed the label and replaced it with a label that just had your name, and you’d leave it on the counter. I used to love to tell the bartender, “Give me a Keith & tonic”.
And so began Ralph & Keith’s journey through the dry counties of triple A baseball. It was all the more hilarious due to Kiner’s slurred speech which was interrupted by Gary Cohen’s vain attempts to call the game. I guess you never know when Pandora’s box is about to be opened.
From the Yankee game, Michael Kay was reading a promo for Yankee Classics on the Yes Network. O’neill chimes in with, “Have the Yankees ever lost a game on that show? They must be 1000-0, like the Harlem Globetrotters.”
Posted in baseball | Tagged: Houston Astros, John Sterling, Keith Hernandez, Michael Kay, New York Mets, Paul O'Neill, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ralph Kiner | 1 Comment »
Posted by keithosaunders on September 1, 2010
Keitho shows you the Bronx!
You’ll hear such hits as,
I’m Making a Left, Just Deal With It
Changing Lanes Over You
Reversing Off the Bruckner
Phone now and receive the bonus track, I’m Jiggy with the Jughandles of Jersey.
Act now while supplies last.
Posted in music, San Francisco | Tagged: Bronx, driving, KTEL, New Jersey, San Francisco | Leave a Comment »