Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Washington Nationals are out of their freaking minds.

Before the season started Washington said they would only allow Stephen Strasburg to pitch around 160 innings this year.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  They were a perennial last place team that was being smart and conservative with their former #1 overall draft pick coming off of Tommy John surgery.  He was a guy considered to be the future of the franchise; a superstar in the making with only half a season of big league experience.

The Nats may never get another chance like this. 
But, things have changed.  Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in the majors today (15-6, 3.16 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 197 K).  Oh yeah, and the Nationals are in first place.  At 85-53 they have the best record in all of Major League Baseball.  This is a franchise that has never won a championship, playing in a city that hasn't even witnessed a postseason game since 1933 (in fact their only playoff appearance was as the Montreal Expos 31 years ago; during a bizarre strike shortened 1981 season in which MLB added an extra round in order to represent the clubs with the best records both before and after the mid season strike).

After yesterday's game Strasburg's innings count stands at 159 and 1/3, and true to their word the Nationals announced today that they are shutting him down for the season.  They're the best team in baseball, and they are going to voluntarily stop using their number one starter in order to "save him for the future."  Wake up.  Take a look around.  The future is right now.  What are you saving him for?  Your franchise will never get a better chance to win it's first World Series and bring a title to a city starving for one.  Nothing should get in the way of that.

I would understand if it was Strasburg himself (or his agent) that felt this was the right move.  He has a long career and future contracts to worry about.  But for the team, the opportunity of a lifetime is staring them right in the face, and they're choosing to look the other way.


Friday, September 7, 2012

The Best Halftime Show Going

The #1 act in the game.
Here's another summertime post from the "tales of what it's like to be a Celtics season ticket holder" genre.  Today's topic: Halftime shows.

If you go to a lot of games it's easy to get pretty bored of little kids playing basketball, which last season seemed to be the intermission entertainment more often than not.  Once in a while they'll have an old fashioned playground game of knockout between some randomly selected contestants, and that at least provides a little variety.  Earlier in the summer I wrote a piece suggesting how they could improve the "half court shot" contest.  I'm not much of a fan of guys playing drums on plastic buckets, and you can see usually see that outside North Station as you leave the game anyway.

Occasionally the Celtics splurge and actually spend a little bit of money, and that's where the acts really get good.  There's a group of people who wear skis and jump on trampolines that are very impressive.  One couple does a spectacular schtick where they change clothes unbelievably fast.  But for my money, nothing beats the Red Panda Acrobat.  Her background music gets me pumped too.

Now obviously the bowls must be very heavily weighted on the bottom in order to all land and stack like that; but still this blows my mind a little.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tory Burch scares me a bit

What does that logo remind you of?
I first noticed the logo on a pair of shoes late last winter, in early March I think.  Then I started seeing it on bags.  As the weather turned nice women all over the place were wearing flip flops adorned with it.  And just last week I was talking to a girl who had it displayed on her cell phone case.  Amazingly she paid $50 for the plastic iphone cover, just because of it.

Tory Burch is so hot right now.  Like Hansel hot.  And that is peculiar to me.  Not for the obvious reason that it seems ridiculous for anyone to pay large sums of money for a logo (and then hang it from your elbow?), but for the logo itself.

I can't be the only person out there who thinks it's eerily similar to a swastika, right?

Also check out my daily Celtics links post at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Red Sox are in Complete Control of the A.L. East

Boston may still have something to "play" for. 
Seriously.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's true.  While Boston has no chance themselves to win the division, they have the power to chose who does.  Baltimore and New York have identical 76-59 records.  Tampa Bay is only 1.5 games back at 75-61.  Eighteen of the Sox final 21 games are against those three teams (6 vs each).  The Red Sox could lay down against one team of their choice and go 0-6, then compete against the other two.  Even if they went just 3-3 vs each club while trying to win, that would create a 3 game difference in the standings, and most likely be enough to give the A.L. East crown to whomever they picked.

Now lets take this one step further.  Oakland is also 76-59.  Three of those four teams will almost definitely make the playoffs (two via the Wild Card).  If the A's can stay hot, Boston could decide which division rival it would like to eliminate from the postseason altogether.  For argument's sake, let's say that team was the Yankees.  Here's a breakdown of the Sox last 15 games of the year: 4 in Tampa, 3 vs Baltimore, 2 vs Tampa, 3 at Baltimore, 3 at New York.  Hypothetically, what if the Red Sox headed to Yankee Stadium on October 1st in the midst of a 12 game losing streak.  There's a very good chance a win or two in the Bronx would send New York packing for the season.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Good" by Better Than Ezra

This song was all the rage when I first got to college in 1995.  I remember hearing it at numerous fraternity rush parties that fall.  The questioned we always wondered was, "who is Ezra?"  According to Wikipedia, to this day the band still refuses to reveal the origin of their name.  Considering the fact that their success peaked with Good seventeen years ago, maybe it's time for them to rethink their stance on this one.

Also, if you're a hoops fan go read my "Celtics News From Around the Web 9/4/12" post for CLNS Radio.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Who's got the competitive advantage now?

Oliveira (left) does look suspiciously tall...
A month ago I wrote a post about Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic sprinter with no feet.  I made the argument that the odds were very likely that his prosthetic limbs gave him a competitive advantage over the other runners.  So when I read this story on last night, I was very amused by the irony of it.

Pistorius lost the 200 meter final at the London Paralympics yesterday to a man named Alan Oliveira, and after the race Pistorius claimed that Oliveira had an unfair advantage.  According to Pistorius, Oliveira uses prosthetics that make him taller than he should be.  Oliveira won the Gold with a time of 21.45 seconds, and here are some of the things Pistorius had to say about it afterwards (quoted from the espn article):

"He's never run a 21-second race and I don't think he's a 21-second athlete."

"I've never lost a 200-meter race in my career."

"We aren't racing a fair race. I gave it my best. The IPC (International Paralympic Committee) have their regulations. The regulations (allow) that athletes can make themselves unbelievably high."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stinky Sox and Sunset Silliness

If you'd like to read some impressive stats about how pathetic the Red Sox have become, check out my Sox vs. A's series recap for CLNS Radio.   Back on August 20th I said they'd officially given up when they let Carl Crawford have Tommy John Surgery, and they are 3-10 since.  But I think the most telling sign of how little they are trying at the moment; in 99 plate appearances against the A's this weekend, Boston players drew a grand total of two walks.

In totally unrelated news, I went to Menemsha to watch the sunset this evening, but didn't really consider the fact that it was the last big weekend night of summer.  It was about as crowed as South Beach on the 4th of July.  That's a bunch of Martha's Vineyard jargon for those who aren't familiar.


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