Monday, May 18, 2009

B-Hawpe is cool




The day after Brad Hawpe hit a 9th inning go ahead two-run home run against the Pirates, he was interviewed by Drew Goodman. I've never really heard Hawpe talk before, and I was thinking, damn... he seems familiar. His tone, the way he phrased words, there was something familiar about the way Hawpe talks. Then it hit me: Ron Livingston. When he was talking about the pitch sequence leading up to his home run, he seemed like a person that was so overly casual about it, that he didn't really care. His non-exact quote: "he threw me a fastball inside that I fouled off, so I didn't know what he would throw next. All I was looking to do was to hit the ball to the right side to advance the runner with less than two outs. But then I guess I hit the ball well, then we won." He was so casual about it, like he somehow got good at baseball, so he decided to make it a career. This reminded me exactly of Ron Livingston's character in Office Space. The gist is that he stopped caring about his job, and he ended up getting promoted because the "Bob's" liked his style. He wanted to ask out Jennifer Aniston's character to watch kung fu with him just cause he wanted to. Hawpe just felt like hitting a home run, then he did it: ya, cool, whatever. Do they look alike?
Maybe, they both have a bored look on their faces. This is another one of my weekly revelations about life, that makes life worth living. I know it's silly, and not a big deal, but who would ever connect the guy from Office Space (and Band of Brothers: Captain Nixon the alcohol connoisseur) other than myself. Making connections, that's what people do. You can connect with people you don't know, like baseball players and actors. They never let you down on a personal level, because you're impersonally connected: through a TV screen or through the stands at a ball game.
Perhaps this is why I am addicted to impersonal connections. Personal connections, especially with new people *Note: I am talking about people beyond good friends and family; those are unyielding most of the time* can be disheartening. I want to believe in the good in people because I know it's there and I can see it most of the time. I don't know if they can see it in me. When you put your all into a person, and they take it for granted, it hurts. I can't see what is annoying about a person who has so much love in their heart that they just want to share it. When that is ignored, it is disheartening. Why would I not persist in trying to share it? It makes no sense to me. What ev, I am an individual.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Two-Face

Aaron Eckhart would be proud of the 2009 Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are the real world creation of Eckhart's character "Two-Face" in The Dark Knight. 31 games into the season the Rockies have used 28 different starting line ups. Clint Hurdle might as well grab Grandpa's lucky coin and give it a flip to decide who to start in a given game. Seth Smith or Ryan Spilborghs? Coin says heads: Spilly gets the start in left. Clint Barmes or Ian Stewart? Coin says tails: Stewey gets the nod even though he lost his eye for the strike zone. We need a reliever to bridge to the 9th... Should we call up a AAA player or roll the dice with Corpas? Coin says heads; Matt Daley (yes, he is a real live baseball player) start warming up. At least each game is fresh, and it's hard to pick on any specific player to pick on when he is struggling, because the coin master Hurdle will just pluck him out of the line up and put him on the bench. Just last week against the Giants, I was happy with my seat along the third-base line near the foul pole because Spilly would be lurking near by. Problem was that Spilly was 300 feet away in right field, and I was stuck with Matt Murton to look at... cool... At least he hit a home run; good job buddy. The real two-faced approach comes with the offense. Just looking at the scores from the first five weeks of the season will show that it's rain or shine with the offense. Either Denver gets four tacos for a buck* with the puchase of a drink, or everyone goes home frustrated over a lackluster two run output. But even a casual fan notices this, so there is no need to write. Luckily I am crazy and have watched or followed along with every game this season. Last night's 12-1 victory over the Astros is a good in-game example. Ian Stewart has been on an ice cold streak of late, and refuses to swing at anything in the strike zone, even with two strikes. In his first at bat he looks lost as the final strike zooms to the upper/outside portion of the strike zone. Same reaction: shrug, say a few words to the umpire, then mope back to the dugout. What is there to complain about, have you been watching the game? Stewey batted eighth in the line up, and the umpires strike zone had already been established. If he had been watching his own pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez, throw some backwards 'K's up with high fastballs, he should have known that it would go the same way for him. Next two at bats Stewey's pretty side comes in as he picks up 5 RBIs with two swings of the bat: solo bomb into the second deck in right, and a scud missle grand slam into the scenery in center. Fourth AB of the game? Strike out looking: two-faced Stewey. I would even say that his grand slam was lucky for the team. The inning started with the bases loaded and zero outs, with a run alread in from a Brad Hawpe single. Seth Smith grounded into a fielder's choice which left the bases loaded, and Chris Iannetta struck out. Bases loaded with two outs, and no runs in from the predicament- not exactly the pretty side of Two-Face; more like the monster Batman defeats. But Stewart's grand slam was the pretty side of Two-Face; the "White Knight" from the movie analogy. Which will we see throughout the season? I think Two-Face will make many appearances in the coming months.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Soccer/Football/Futbol doesn't catch on

A revelation occurred to me as I watched FC Barcelona defeat Chelsea 1-1 in the champions league semifinals. The first leg was a 0-0 tie in Barcalona. Barca advanced due to an injury time goal from Andres Iniesta in the second leg to tie the aggregate total to 1-1. But Barca's goal came on the road, so they advanced on away goals. There was great outrage from the Chelsea players because after the Barcalona goal, they felt like they got hosed on a hands infraction the ref failed to call. In order to call the hand ball, the ref would essentially have to give Chelsea a goal in the form of a penalty kick. The revelation I had was a curiosity in the media coverage that Chelsea would recieve for blowing the game. In England, many of the articles would have been about how Chelsea should have played differently in the final stages of the game since they had a one man advantage, or how the ref screwed Chelsea over. But in America there would have been coverage on the former, however most of the discussion would reside as to why the premier club soccer tournament is decided over a two game series, and how the teams can tie, but somehow one is deemed superior. Apply the Champions League's logic to a sport like hockey. Instead of a potentially thrilling seven game series, we would succumb to a two game series, where each team has one home game. Seeding is irrelevant, as a one seed and an eight seed would each have one game. First game of the series is a battle of goaltenders as the home team (team 1) wins 2-0. Game two has a bunch of penalties, so power-play goals are prevelant. The home team (team 2) wins 5-3. Aggregate goals are 5-5, so the series is at a deadlock. But team 2 has a 3-0 away goal differential, so they are deemed superior for scoring goals on the road, so they advance. What? A two goal loss is a two goal loss, does a team honestly feel better about itself for losing even if they score? No. This is why series decided by an even number of games, no seeding, away goal superiority, and no underdogs is a weak way to promote the supposed most popular game in the world, played at its highest level.