All good things must come to an end

With St. Louis’s victory in the World Series Friday night, the perfect sports month comes to a close, even with three days left on the calendar. This was a less than perfect sports weekend for yours truly, given that the Tigers didn’t play yesterday, and in three weekend nights, the Stars only played once. They made the most of it, however, beating the Kings last night, 3-2, giving rookie netminder Mike Smith his second win in as many starts, and equalling the team’s best start ever at 9-2.

Oh well, I suppose I can always root for Carolina against Dallas tonight…

The MLB Postseason

Division playoff series kick off today, and I thought I would post my totally-uneducated picks.

The Oakland-Minnesota series looks, to me, to be the best match-up, and should be very entertaining. It could honestly go either way. Dan will be pulling for the Twins, while Tom roots for his hometown A’s, so IM chatter should be fun. I wouldn’t be surprised by the Twins moving on, but I think we’ll see Oakland playing for the American League championship.

The Padres’ magic ride is going to come to a halt when the Cardinals crush them and move on.

Speaking of magic, the Yankees will likely use some to string out their series with Detroit, but I think the Tigers are going to continue to shock the league and advance to face the Athletics.

I think a Dodgers-Cards matchup in the National League championship would be great. Sorry, New Yorkers, no chance for a Subway Series the rest of the country wouldn’t care about any way. LA just has to get past the Mets first, though it will probably take them six games to do so. From a purely nostalgic view, it would be nice to see the Dodgers in the World Series again.

We’ll revisit these in a couple of weeks, when I’m sure I’ll be totally wrong on all counts. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying what is quite possibly the best sports month: Major League Baseball, college football, and the beginning of NHL hockey!

Go, Gary, go!

Congratulations to Gary Matthews, Jr., who became only the third Texas Ranger to hit for the cycle, and the seventh American Leaguer to do so in order: single, double, triple, home run. The homer, which came in the top of the sixth, was a thing of beauty, sailing over the wall in left-center. The Rangers hit five home runs in the big park in Detroit, on their way to routing the Tigers, 11-3.


  • For you baseball aficionados, Tiff has a great story on what happened when she gave tickets to some coworkers, and how they thanked her.
  • Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit, affectionately known as the MacBU, has its own blog.Via The Iconfactory
  • Someone took the house I, and I’m sure thousands of others, would love to live in–Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater–and put it in Half Life 2.Via

Sorry, Wes

Couldn’t resist.

Nats vs Cubs IM

How do I love thee? Let me check the pitch count

In an IM conversation earlier this evening, a friend was telling me of a conversation he had had with an acquaintance. The acquaintance could not understand my friend’s love of baseball, and I thought his answers were worth sharing:

It’s the thinking man’s sport, to me. It’s the game within the game. Where a team sport can have one hero. Where great hitting teams can get crushed by great pitching. Where no-name guys with sub-par careers can make history by pitching a no-hitter, and the greats who pitch seven no-hitters.

The game of inches and 90 feet, strange-shaped ballparks with short porches and high walls.

Where fans root for the opposing hurler because he pitched a no-hitter against their favorite team.

Well, except in New York.

Where players come back out for a curtain call.

Batboys, batmen, batwomen.


Where a regular $40 baseball shoots up to $1 million just because some guy hit it for his 500th homer.

Where caps first got their bills bent, and a player can go from goat to hero in the span of an inning.

Where there is no clock and you play until the tie is broken, but the home team still has a chance to win.

Where the managers dress just like the players and aren’t called coaches.

And umpires put on the armor, too.

Where fans are so much a part of the game, they can even affect a play, like robbing a flyout into a home run or turning a triple into a ground-rule double.

Where a guy’s speed turns a triple into an inside the park home run. Where teamwork can create two outs on one pitch, and, on the rare occasion, a triple play.

Where sacrifices are also a statistic.

And it’s the only American past time that another country made into their present time: besiboru … Japanese baseball.
Why do you love it?

Mostly baseball miscellany

Sometimes, it seems like the Starbucks growth pattern really is this bad, doesn’t it?

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Texas Rangers All-Star Michael Young became the 10th-fastest MLB player to reach the 1,000-hit milestone, cranking off a single in the fifth inning yesterday. Last year’s AL batting champ continues to impress, and remains one of our favorite Rangers.

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I should also note that while my little phisch will see a game on the tube and remark, “Baseball!”, he’s not to the point where he knows players’ names.

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LSU athletics director Skip Bertman was inducted in to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Topping Bertman’s impressive accomplishments are the five NCAA championships he led the LSU Tigers to, making them the dominate team of the 1990s.

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the Tigers won the first championship in ’91. I was at my hometown church, in the gymnasium, buffing the floors, while my bride-to-be was cleaning the kitchen. Starting in high school, I took on the janitorial duties there as a part-time job, and the once-a-month gym floor buffing happened to take place the weekend of the College World Series finals.

Congratulations, Coach, and Geaux Tigers!

Every day at the ballpark is a good day

It’s an even better day when your team wins.

Last night I took in my second game of the season at the Ballpark in Arlington. (New readers should note I try not to dignify the Ballpark by its new, corporate name.) My good friend Francisco organized a gathering of friends and coworkers, but it ended up just being four of us, which included his coworkers Patrick and Russ. We had wanted to sit in the Home Run Porch out in right field, but was told by the nice lady at the ticket office that it was sold out, so we went to the upper deck behind home plate. The Home Run Porch never did fill up.
Vicente Padilla had one of his best games for the Rangers that I’ve seen, going eight innings, allowing only four hits and a single run. He threw an impressive 79 strikes out of 111 pitches; it would be nice if games like this became the norm for Padilla, rather than the exception.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Astros pitcher extraordinaire Roy Oswalt walked Brad Wilkerson, giving up the go-ahead run. The Rangers notched a third in the eighth inning and closer Akinori Otsuka did what he was brought from Japan to do.

I always have a good time at the Ballpark, no matter if the Rangers win or lose. Jumbo hot dogs (all-beef Hebrew National, of course; they answer to a higher authority) and peanuts, chilled Ozarka bottled water (brought in to the park, not purchased), and good camaraderie with pals makes for a great outing. We missed you, Brent, but given the circumstances, totally understandable. Hopefully we can all get together at the end of July.

Holy Smoke Resignation, Bertman!

After taking over from the legendary Skip Bertman, LSU baseball coach Raymond “Smoke” Laval has resigned after five years at the head of the program. Under Smoke’s leadership, the Tigers amassed a record of 210-109-1, 88-60-1 in the SEC. LSU won the SEC Championship in 2003, and played in the College World Series twice, in 2003 and 2004, out of four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Lest anyone think this was about LSU not making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in, well, a long while, this is what Skip had to say about his friend, and the search ahead:

“I think hiring a new coach is not as easy as people might think. The coach that resigned had the most wins in the Southeastern Conference in the last five years, more than any of the other 11 coaches. He had the most wins totally in the last five years over every coach except for the coach at South Carolina. He’s the only coach besides the South Carolina coach who has been to the College World Series more than once. No other coach has won the conference more than one time in the last five years. I think that’s a lot of pressure. The standards here are high and the pressure is great.”
It would be tough on any coach having to step in to the incredibly big shoes left behind by Skip Bertman, and Coach Laval has done the best job he can. We wish him well in his future endeavors, and will always consider him one of our own. Thanks, Smoke!


Johnny Cash’s Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways is scheduled for release in July. This album comprises the absolute last recordings Cash made before his death, part of his collaboration with Rick Rubin.
[Wave of the phin to Prosthesis.]

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Now all of my fellow Star Wars fans can decorate their walls with their favorite images from the movies.
[Wave of the phin to Firewheel Design.]

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Professional baseball is coming to Israel, with plans to apply to be in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The history of baseball in the land of the Bible is astounding.
[Via Newsvine.]