The World According to Keitho

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We turn the page

Posted by keithosaunders on November 2, 2017

Another baseball season has come and gone and even an old curmudgeon like me has to admit that this was a good one.  The Astros won their first ever championship and they did it in dramatic fashion, beating the high-profile Dodgers in a riveting seven game series.  The Dodgers dominated the regular season, as well as the first two thirds of the post season.  When it came time for the World Series, however, the middle of their lineup went into a collective slump, and their metrics-loving manager, Dave Roberts, spit the bit.

The Series was probably lost in game 2 when Roberts pulled his effective starter, Rich Hill after 4 plus innings and began using his bullpen (many of whom will almost certainly face rotator cuff surgery in their near future) with impunity.  Then in game 7, when Roberts should have taken a piss-poor Yu Darvish out of the game before facing George Springer, the hottest hitter in the universe, he left him in to deliver a cantaloupe.  The resulting three run bomb effectively put a fork in the Dodger’s season.

A word about the announcers:  Joe Buck and John Smoltz are a terrible listen.  It’s not that they don’t know baseball, but that they are dull as dishwater and humorless to boot.  Throw in the timber of Buck’s voice, which is akin to an amplified washing machine, and you can go crazy.  It’s as if someone was using a jackhammer outside of your apartment — for 5 straight hours!  I’m convinced that the best way to watch these games is at a bar with a TV and a jukebox.

Onwards.

 

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The dating blues

Posted by keithosaunders on October 31, 2017

I began to gig in jazz clubs in my late teens back when I lived in Los Angeles.  I had decided to eschew college in pursuit of a career as a jazz musician – a decision that has netted me upwards of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.  I was having a great time practicing 5-6 hours during the day and gigging at night.

One unfortunate byproduct of this situation was that I was invariably the youngest person in the club by over ten years.  Not being in the cocoon of college made it difficult to find a girl close to my age to date.  Where was Tinder when I needed it?!

Fast forward 40 years and all of the practice paid off.  I’m gigging most nights, and I play at an extremely high level.  However I’m now often the oldest person in the club by over 15 years.  Somewhere up in heaven Rod Serling is having a good laugh.

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Pitching Madness in the World Series

Posted by keithosaunders on October 28, 2017

The way managers have been handling pitchers in the post season is beyond insane. It’s a mixture of by the book, automaton managing, and desperate gambles of 6 out saves from pitchers who have never done it before.

So far A.J. Hinch is thoroughly out managing Dave Roberts. Yesterday he played it old school allowing pitcher, Brad Peacock, to gut out a 3 & 2/3 inning save. Why not stay with the hot pitcher? The rest of his bullpen has been shaky at best. Go for the jugular while you can.

How much does Dave Roberts wish he had stayed with Rich Hill for a couple of extra innings on Wednesday night? True, his bullpen had been great, but even the best have bad outings as witnessed by Kenley Jansen’s last performance. You’re doing the other team a favor when you take out a pitcher that the opposing team is not hitting. The Astros should send Roberts a Christmas present.

Image result for brad Peacock

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World Series Memories: 1986

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2017

Haley’s comet reached its closest point to earth, the U.S. traded arms for hostages with Iran, and a 20 year old Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history.

1986!

Alcoa presents: Keitho’s World Series Memories!

If one team personified the cocaine-infused, go-go 80s it was the New York Mets! Led by Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Daryl Strawberry, and Doc Gooden, they went through the regular season like Pablo Sandoval at an all you can eat buffet, polished off the Houston Mike Scott’s in 6 games, and advanced to a date with destiny with the Boston Redsox.

Game 6 found the Mets down 3 games to 2 in the Series and me ensconced at my best friend, Jeff’s house in the Bronx.

Most people think it was Ray Knight’s clutch hit and Mookie Wilson’s grounder through the legs of Bill Buckner that completed the most improbable comeback of all time, but I know what really happened.

At last it can be told.

You see, it came down to Jeff’s Yankee souvenir watch and Pez dispenser from hell. Little did poor, hapless Calvin Schiraldi realize that his implosion on the Shea mound was the result of Jeff having dangled the Yankee watch in front of the TV (alternating with the Pez dispenser) while shouting, “Callllvinnnn!”

It was the jinx, you see. The jinx.

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We get requests

Posted by keithosaunders on October 17, 2017

Part of the craft being a solo pianist at a restaurant is taking and fielding requests.  I take a certain amount of pride in knowing a lot of tunes – hundreds, if not over a thousand – and as long as I know the song reasonably well I will play it, regardless of how corny it is or how much I don’t like it.  I’m grateful for requests; one of the hardest parts of doing a three hour solo gig is thinking of songs to play.  When I don’t know a song I’m always a little embarrassed, even though I realize that it’s impossible to know every song ever written.

A few weeks ago, however, I received a request that was as original as it was inane.  Someone asked me to play video game music.  I must have looked puzzled because the person quickly added, “You know, like Super Mario Brothers.”

This time, instead of stammering out an apology, I decided to try a new approach. I reached into my backpack, pulled out my new Smith & Wesson M & P9 Shield, fired a few rounds into the kitchen (taking care to avoid hitting the chef) and calmly set the gun down on the piano.

“Now,” I replied, “what was it you wanted to hear, some Bud Powell?  That’s what I thought you said.”

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Replay is killing sports

Posted by keithosaunders on October 16, 2017

Replay reviews is the worst thing to happen to sports in the past ten years.  Fans of replay never tire of saying you have to get the call right.  Never mind that it makes a slow-moving sport slower, the truth must win out!   My response to that remains that the game is losing its soul.  A shortstop makes an error and so does an ump.  And you know what?  The umps usually get it right.  It’s not as if they’re on the take.  As for the close plays…who cares?!  That’s life.

In the 8th inning of the deciding NLDS game five between the Cubs and Nationals – a one run game – Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton was ruled safe on a close pick off play.  Let’s go to the video tape!  The review folks in the New York bunker proceeded to spend five minutes reviewing the play frame by frame, Zapruder-style, to discover that for 1/100 of a second Lobaton’s foot was off the bag.  He was ruled out.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote, ‘For 100 years, Lobaton would have been safe, the original and seemingly obvious call, and everybody would have moved on to the next pitch, unbothered and riveted to the eighth inning of a one-run game. As Thursday night became Friday morning, a ballpark engaged in near-forensic video study, squinting to see if Lobaton’s leg had come off the base at a moment when Rizzo’s glove touched him.’ 

I’ve thought all along that replay is ruining sports and nothing has come along to change my opinion.  Between replay reviews, innumerable trips to the mound, and double digit pitching changes leading to five hour (9 inning) post season games, we’re stuck with a sport that is fast becoming unwatchable.

Say what you want about the other three major sports, they aren’t interminable to watch.  What’s the difference between a bunch of technocrats painstakingly making a call – that is still debatable – and an ump making a bang bang call in the moment?  The difference is that one is anti-climatic (and still sometimes wrong) and the other is exciting.

Image result for jose lobaton pickoff

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Mensa memory

Posted by keithosaunders on October 10, 2017

The Trump-train chugs on.  Last week it was reported that Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, referred to the president as a ‘moron.’  Donald J. Trump, ever the sportsman,  challenged Tillerson to an IQ contest.  Once the news of this reached the high IQ society known as Mensa, the international society offered to oblige by hosting the test.  You can’t make this up!

Mensa is in the news, possibly for the first time ever, and this jogged an old memory of mine.  Years ago I had a gig on a cruise ship. My band mate, with whom I shared a cabin, was a member of Mensa.  How did I know?  He had a Mensa t-shirt which he wore practically every day.

One day we played chess and somehow I beat him. He must have let his guard down, playing a non-genius. I couldn’t believe it, and neither could he. You’ve never seen an angrier sax player. I believe this was the last I saw of his Mensa T-shirt.

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Bring on the playoffs

Posted by keithosaunders on September 30, 2017

This was a terrible year to be a Mets fan.  The team suffered a barrage of injuries early on, unloading much of the 2015 World Series lineup by the trading deadline.  It appears that Matt Harvey, thanks to overuse during the 2015 post season, is all but washed up. Mea culpa:  I was one of those who supported pitching him during that post season, and I still believe it was the right thing to do.  You don’t get many shots at a World Series ring, especially if you’re a Met.

This was also a terrible year for pennant races.  The National League seemed all but decided by the All Star break, although the Brewers made a run for the Central, and at this writing are still alive for a wild card slot. (although the Rockie’s magic number is 1.) I really can’t get too excited about wild card races, however, especially when the Mets are not in it.

Much to my chagrin the Yankees are good again.  I’m hoping that the upstart Twins can take them out in the gimmicky one-game play-in, but who am I kidding – the Twins are the Yankee’s bitch.

In the junior circuit I’ll be pulling for either the Astros or Indians.  Houston has never won a World Series and has only played in one of them.  It would be nice to see them get through.

In the NL I’ll be rooting for the Dodgers.  I can’t stand the Cubs fans, who I find insufferable, so I’ll be content with their team bowing out.  The Cubs seem to be peaking at the right time, however, and I would be surprised if they do not make it back to the Series. The good thing about the Dodgers going deep into the post season would be to watch these idiot Giants fans up here suffer. (I live in the Bay Area)  Talk about front runners!

Well that’s it.  I don’t have a dog in this race so I’m hoping for some good games and a minimum of exposure to Joe Buck.

Let’s go!

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Advantage Republicans

Posted by keithosaunders on September 28, 2017

Conventional thinking would be that this is a horrible time to be a Republican.  President Donald Trump is a disgrace to the office – a detestable, incurious, narcissist who likely is suffering from some form of dementia.  The Republican majority Congress has been ineffectual and, with few exceptions, unwilling to challenge the corrupt and incompetent executive office.

I will submit to you, however, that there has never been a better time to be a Republican. Thanks to decades of allowing our public education to go to seed the populace lacks the intelligence to understand relevant issues, and therefore are willing to vote against their interest.  Racism is rampant and has not been this blatant since the 1950s –  it’s not a stretch to envision a return to the days of Jim Crow.

This is a perfect storm.  We have a population that is too stupid and racist to understand that what is holding them back is the divide between rich and poor, and we have a ruling party willing to exploit their ignorance.  This is the outcome of years of capitalism run amok.

I hope I am wrong.

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Fry it up

Posted by keithosaunders on September 16, 2017

I have noticed that nearly every person under 40 speaks with vocal fry – an affectation akin to a scratchy throat.  It’s millennial code for I am cool.

Vocal fry annoys me to no end, especially when I’m listening to the radio and the host seemingly does not have the ability to speak like a normal human being.  I have to wonder what is on the mind of the station’s management. Can’t they detect the fry, and if so, aren’t they bothered by it?  Walter Cronkite didn’t use vocal fry.  I’m wondering if vocal fry is so prevalent that it is next to impossible to find a decent radio voice.

The case in point is this Saturday NPR show called Invisibilia, whose troika of hostesses sound as if they were awoken at four in the morning after having undergone a tonsillectomy.  Suffice it to say that it is unlistenable, as is 90% of NPR’s weekend programming.  At least Keillor is gone.

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