Monday, March 27, 2006

Big Game Tonight!

1. Huge women's basketball game tonight. UNC vs Tennessee. To decide once and for all who's going to come up short against Maryland on Sunday. The most consistent women's team of the last 2 decades against this year's best team and best player.

2. I went to Friday night's Men's NCAA tournament games with some folks from work. I decided that I wanted Villanova to win because their pep band played the Minnesota Rouser. The Gators had the best mascot, so good for them, too.

3. I'm working on a post about WBC unis, like frightwig asked. Not sure why, but I want to be comprehensive. Plus, H. has decided to wake up every hour during the night, so I've had less mental attention.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Me Kids, dey love dem some dancehall. Plus, go Cuba!

1. Yesterday, E went to run some errands, and called my cell while I took care of the kids. My ringtone for her is Damian Marley's "All Night" (for reasons that aren't obvious). C started dancing with the ring. When I answered the phone, she was disappointed. After the call, I replayed the ringtone a few times, for her to dance to. Then, rather than listen to the same 20-second clip over and over, I got out the CD* and played it. C loved it, dancing around in her princess dress (the pink one). H seemed to dig either the music or C's dancing, because he smiled and bounced in his bouncy-chair and did the closest thing he can to clapping. We listened to most of the album (track 5 on) and they only tired of it towards the end (I do too though).

*"Welcome to Jamrock": much better than I thought it would be.

1a. So tonight, I'm bringing home my Greensleeves "Diwali Riddim" compilation. We'll see what they think of T.O.K. and Bounty Killer. Maybe I need to burn me a "Best of Sean Paul" to share with them.

1b. If anyone (frightwig) remembers, my hope is that my kids at least appreciate some Jamaican music. I might be able to understand more than 25% had I not waited to college to listen to anyone other than the Wailers.

1c. Yes, I realize that "Welcome to Jamrock" isn't pure dancehall, but it's more dancehall than it is Wailers-style Reggae.

2. I'm heavily cheering for the Cubans tonight. Watching them take on the Dominicans, I thought, "Most of these guys should be millionaires with huge mansions in Florida." Now, I don't know how well paid they are in Cuba, tonight they can get their one night of the glory they deserve. Papi has his ring, Choi has his 6 hr weekend against the Twins, Ichiro topped Sisler and has his ROY, but unless the Cubans really risk themselves, they've only got tonight.

2a. Would be cool though if after they won, half ran for the outfield fence or did whatever they have to do to defect/apply for asylum.

2b. Plus, they're also the chance of sports protests to destabilize a regime. I remember Iran had its Soccer team blow some games so they could stay out of the World Cup. Still, I don't think Cubans will overthrow former player Fidel if they win or lose. Now, I don't think Cuba is the worst place in the world to live, but I think it could be a lot better. If Cuba was free, maybe the Marlins could talk about relocating there.

2c. The Japanese only have to wait 7 years before they can move to the real majors from AAAA(+). Are American clubs be able to sign/draft them before a Japanese club does?
2d. Does the Cuban team have a nickname? If not, I propose the "Pajamas" after those awful red pants. Yet still I cheer for them.

2e. C cheered for the Dominicans on Saturday. I don't hold it against her, though. She declared "Baseball is my favorite!"

2f. I undid the Koreans. I woke up Saturday with a very sore throat and ate some KimChi. I was gonna save it for after they win the first WBC title, but my throat really hurt. Did the job though, but it jinxed the SoKors.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Beautiful KC Jersey

I should write something about the WBC, but I don't have time. However... check out the Royals' new road jersey. It is probably the best looking jersey I've seen introduced since I've been paying attention:

Beware AL Central of the sartorially improved Royals!
Remember, it was this:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NCAA Pool Picks

1. Last year, in my company NCAA pool, I did alright. Top 30% or so. I was leading out the gate with 14 of the sweet 16. However, I had the eventual champion losing its first game, my annual 16 over 1 pick.

2. My bracket says Texas over UNC, only because these schools have the two best athletes in NCAA sports. Unfortunately, they are Cat Osterman and Ivory Latta. Still, I know of no other reason to pick any teams, and Osterman has made Texas my favorite school until she graduates, so why not?

3. I've filled out women's brackets for my own amusment for 4 years now. Last year, I got 3 of the Final Four right and the Champion, Baylor. This year I have absolutely no clue. I picked Maryland, just because I'm still ticked at Brenda Frese for leaving the Gophers, and I'm sure she'll like to stick it right back at me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

WBC Update

1. Okay, The DR beat Venezuela to be the first team guaranteed to the Semis. If Puerto Rico beats Cuba tomorrow, they win the pool, while Cuba would be runner-up to the DR. The Pool's winner is the home team.

1a. Saw Santana sitting next to Henry Blanco in the dugout. Blanco so would have stopped that ball.

2. Japan beat Mexico 6-1. Running Through Scenarios, If Korea beats Japan Tomorrow, Korea wins the pool. If Japan beats Korea and Mexico beats the US, Japan wins the pool and Korea is runner-up. If Japan beats Korea and the US beats Mexico, it's a three-way tie. US has given up 10 among the three, Japan 4 and Korea 3. If Japan wins with 6 or fewer runs, the US is out and If the margin of the game is more than 1, Japan wins the pool. (If Japan wins with 7 runs, it goes the the second tie (earned runs) or the third tie (batting average). If Korea wins and Mexico wins, It's a Three-way tie for second. Mexico has already given up 6 and the US has given up 4, while Japan has given up 4 in both games, so, Japan advances (as the US must give up one to lose). So, unless I screwed something up, Mexico can only play spoiler to the US team, and only if Japan loses or Wins a high-scoring game. Korea can only be out if they give up 7 runs and lose.

2a. No word yet if the Western Hemisphere saw its first competitive gyroball.

2b. Check the video on the link (you'll have to download the file and play it). I don't know if this is a spoof or not, but that ball is creepy, aided of course by the slo-mo audioless presentation that says "proof aliens exist."

Passed Ball

Watching the WBC right now. 7th inning VEN vs DOM. All I want to say is Henry Blanco would have stopped that ball.

I've seen an early score for the Japan-Mexico game. If Mexico wins (not that they're winning), Japan is eliminated, South Korea advances, and the Mexico/USA match is to advance.

If Japan wins, everyone is still alive, unless they beat Mexico by more than 4, in which case Mexico is eliminated.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Reusse's Magic

I think Patrick Reusse may be using black magic or something. There's a lot of Latin-ish stuff at the end of his article on Puckett's rememberance. Link. Please use the comments and tell me (seriously or jokingly) what the heck this is.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Rooting Interests.

1. Okay, now the second round WBC teams have all been determined. Probably the teams that most would have guessed, although many may have guessed Canada over Mexico.

2. So, Pool 1 is the US, Japan, South Korea, and Mexico. Clearly I'm rooting for Korea and Mexico. My only pick is Mexico over the US, as they'll want to avenge their 0-2 loss.

3. Pool 2 is Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. I'm rooting for Cuba (more time for Gourriel to defect to the Twins... I mean, uhm, freedom and the US) and Venezuela.

4. I was thinking, the format of the WBC is nicely expandable. If in 2009, there are 20 countries with potential teams, each of the 4 original pools could have 5 teams. Or with 24 countries, there could be 4 pools of 6. I can't think of 4 more teams I would add, though. My first picks would be Greece, India, Cuban exiles, and a USA B team. Maybe North Korea, Russia, Brazil, and Costa Rica have players, too. Or maybe they could allow a team of guys that don't qualify for any of the other countries. Like if there's a random Argentinian, or if the Cuban exiles don't get their own team.

4a. The USA B team could be a lot of guys who aren't all-stars, but aren't bad players: Lohse, Jacque Jones, Pierzynski, Crede, Rowand, Aaron Fultz, Mientkiewicz, etc. That's a USA team I could get behind.

Friday, March 10, 2006


1. Mexico whupped Canada to guarantee winning Pool B.

2. I guess I totally didn't understand how the tiebreakers work. Here's the official article from

If the Americans win on Friday, they'll be 2-1, as will the Mexicans and Canadians, but Canada will lose out because of the initial three-way tiebreaker: runs allowed divided by innings played in the games only involving the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Mexico allowed three runs against the U.S. and Canada, the U.S. allowed eight runs against Canada and Mexico, and Canada was pelted for a whopping 15 runs by Mexico and the U.S.

3. From the same article:

Losing to the Mexicans, 9-1, with a chance to wrap up a berth in the second round a day after beating the Americans is akin to the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team having lost the gold medal to Finland after it defeated the vaunted Soviet Union. It didn't happen then, but it happened to the Canadiens on Thursday. [emphasis mine]

No wonder Mexico won, they were playing the Habs!

4. ESPN's announcers, who included Rick Sutcliff said that Canada was eliminated. Uhm, well, America could lose today.

5. Man, did the rebroadcast of the Canada/Mexico game cut coverage. They shoehorned a 3 hour game into 2 hours. I missed Morneau swinging and striking at ball four in the 4 walk/3 K 6th. Italy/DR was fit into a 2.5 hour window.

6. Two more Cantu pictures:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pictures of my bump.

1. I am pretty sure that slightly less than zero people care, but here are the pictures of my lipoma, and the place where it used to be.


2. I'm trying to avoid getting score updates from the Canada/Mexico game as I plan on watching the game early this morning. I'm not sure what inning it is, but I saw that the score is 6-0 Mexico. If that would hold, the U.S. would be out, even if they can beat the Suidafrikanners*. Mexico would win the first tiebreaker and the pool on Runs per 9 innings. Then Canada would win the runner-up do to their win over the US. That would make me happy. More Jorge Cantu. Less A-Rod and Jeter.

* May not be real word for people from South Africa. Should be though.

2a. Until I saw the score, I forgot that Loaiza was pitching tonight. I like him. He's a beard Samson. Good pitcher with his beard, bad pitcher clean shaven (as with the Yankees).

2b. Correction: Thinking about it, if Mexico keeps Canada scoreless, USA could still have a better runs/9 than Mexico, _if_ the USA and South Africa stay tied at 0 for more than 9 innings (of course, if the game is tied at 0 through 14, the game is a tie). I don't think that's gonna happen. Also, if Mexico gets the mercy rule against Canada, the US could go fewer scoreless innings. Wouldn't it be cool if the only way the US could advance was by taking a scoreless game into extra innings? Wouldn't it then be cool if Damon hit a leadoff homer?

My bump. My lovely forehead bump.

1. I've had an unusual but subtle growth on my forehead for over a year. Until yesterday, when I had it removed. Benign fatty tumor. Somehow, I figured the procedure would be like gtting fillings, but man, my head still hurts.

2. Bonus is that I got to stay home watch the best day of WBC live baseball yet. Cuba/Panama followed by Canada/USA. The first game was just awesome. Back-and forth leads. 7 hit batters but no ejections (kindof hard to rule a hbp intentional when it pushes in the tying run in the bottom of the 9th). Panama stayed with Cuba, but the Cubans were just too good and got 2 runs in the 11th to win it. Bruce Chen (Panamanian? didn't know) did a great job with his start, but the bullpen let him down. Carlos Lee would have won the game twice and didn't. I really hope a couple of these Cubans defect after this whole thing is over:
Yunieski Maya blew the save but reached down when he needed it to prevent the loss.
Yadier Pedroso is 19 and gave up those tying runs but would show a lot of promise.
And Yulieski Gourriel is the 22-year old 2B who could have saved the Twins' season last year (as Bret Boone did not).

3. Great to see Canada upset the US. I stopped watching when the score was 8-2. Watch out for the RSA, America! They're spunky! If Canada beats Mexico and USA beats RSA, the US is in Round 2. If Mexico beats Canada (tonight, 2am, ESPN, I'm so there) and the US beats RSA, Then all 3 NAFTA countries are in a tiebreaker in which the winner is the one that gave up fewest runs (so far, Mexico) and the loser is the one of the other two that lost to the other (USA to Canada). If Mexico and the US lose, then South Africa, America, and Mexico have the 3-way tiebreaker. Mexico still has given up the fewest runs.

3a. Why does ESPN abbreviate South Africa "SAF"? I have to think for a minute each time I see that. San Fransisco? Slovak Air Force? "RSA" is the standard abbreviation.

3b. Jorge Cantu has the best look in all of baseball:

Love those Mexican Unis, too. I do hate the undershirts with accent-color elbow shading though, and every team has those.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Like a kid.

After posting that, I went to do the dishes. Thinking things over some more.

1. After looking it up, I was 14 for game 6. I was becoming a cynical teen. I would buy a Nirvana album 2 months later. Three years later, I would leave baseball over the strike and not come back for 7 years.

Yet my memory tells me I was a Kid. Like 9 or 10. Maybe that night kindof a night strikes such a childlike awe in you that if you were even close to being a kid, you're temporarily turned back into one for the night. Thanks, Kirby for the last night I was a Kid.

2. Before I left work, I checked the web for updates and saw nothing. When Kirby passed away, I was playing princess with C. It was a great night with her. Decided not to do dishes or make bottles until, well, right now. Just let her entertain me with songs from Cinderella, and dancing and "ice skating" on the rug. Seems somehow appropriate.


1. I have a cousin named Kirby. He's about 5 years old. I wonder how my uncle Corey, his Dad is.

2. B just noted "Grandpa Joe's lovin this." He passed away on Christmas 2 years back... it was pretty to me that Joe wouldn't pass away during the season. Joe played minor league ball in Duluth between the wars.

3. Memory #1: Neighbor kid back in New Ulm, Nate Hilbert, and I had some games close to baseball that we'd imitate. He must've listened to the games on the radio. Tim Teufel and Kirby Puckett were the names that stood out, I think Nate mentioned that they were the new players. Nate knew how Casey announced Kirby, did Casey do that from the start? These players we would act out as. Oh, and Hrbek, too, but he was a name then. This must have been May '84, given Teufel and that I know school was still in session. I would have been 6 and I was just ending first grade.

4. Memory #2: Everyone will remember this, but I don't mind repeating. Game 6, 1991. I was fourteen and stayed up for the whole thing. The Catch at the plexiglas. The homerun.

5. If you were my age in Minnesota, and Kirby wasn't your favorite, something wasn't quote right with you. The discussions were over who was your second favorite player.

6. Godspeed, Kirby.

Go SoKors!

Congrats to South Korea on the first upset of the WBC. I watched almost all of that game, and it was pretty good, even if I couldn't tell any of the Koreans apart. (I think Three last names covers 75% of the team). One of the Lees, Seung Yop, hit an 8th inning 2-r HR to reverse the score. Unfortunately, I had fallen asleep during the commercial between the 7th and 8th and didn't wake up until the bottom of the 9th, so I missed some of the excitement. Notes:

1. I liked the Koreans' simple hats/helmets. Baby Blue with a plain sans-serif "K." I could imagine a "C" and a new direction for the Royals' unis.

2. Learned during the broadcast that the Koreans are playing for something extra. Military service is mandatory in the country (having a militarized border will do that). However, there are some exceptions. Win a Asian games gold medal or any olympic medal, and your service is waived. Apparently, there's a motion in the legislature that getting to the WBC semis will get the team an exemption. That's pretty cool. They're now my darkhorse team to get far, and I'll be rooting for them.

3. Korea's upset wasn't as big as some others could be. It wasn't RSA over USA or China not having to worry about the mercy rule, but Japan is one of the top 6 or so teams.

4. I've got no real love for the US team. I'm hoping Castro and Reyes's Mexico, as well as Morneau and Crain's Canada make it out of Pool B. If South Africa played America close, I wouldn't mind, so long as Joe Nathan doesn't give up any runs.

5. I watched a bunch of ESPN yesterday, and didn't see a single mention of Taiwan's big win over China. Sure, it wasn't USA/USSR hockey or Pakistan/India cricket, but it was a US sport and involves a US rival's humiliation at the hands of it's little breakaway republic. Maybe next WBC...

Bonus: Cat Osterman update. 2 more games, 2 more wins, one in relief.
14-0, .16 ERA, 88.2 IP, 209K.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

ESPN's Priorities

ESPN to America:

This is important:
Providing 50% different angles to a pretty good college basketball game (not that I watched).

This is not important:
Letting any casual fans watch a great whooping of one giant repressive country's baseball team by the baseball team from the little free country that it basically reers to as a breakaway republic.

Priorities, man...

Anyways, time to watch Watanabe confuse the Koreans. Wacky sidewinders pitching with the hand inches off the mound. So far, all 5 games in Group A have gone as anyone could have predicted. Let's hope things are more interseting in the Americas.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Osterman Update

If you forgot, a reminder: my favorite athlete in the whole wide world right now is Cat Osterman, a pitcher for Texas Longhorns Softball. As the baseball season hadn't started, I didn't think to check up on how she was doing in her senior year. In a word: awesome. Now I'm not exactly sue how good the competition has been so far this year, but check out her stats:

12-0 record in 13 games (11-0 in 12 starts and one relief win).
2 R (both earned) in 79.1 innings (0.176 ERA).
21 Hits and 11 BB for a 0.44 WHIP.
190 K's (16.8 K/7, 17.3 K/BB).
The picture is for national player of the week.
At 1825 K, she holds the NCAA K record.

Her first college at-bat in a blowout against Oklahoma Christian was a success, too. A double.

The team's doing pretty well, too: 21-1, ranked #2 in the country. Only loss was a 1-0 loss to #1 Arizona, in a game that Cat didn't start. Cat did get that back with a 1-0 win over Arizona 2 weeks later.

However, big 12 play hasn't yet begun. First conference game is 3/25 against Nebraska. On 4/15, a game against Oklahoma is on ESPN. Hopefully, Cat starts that one. If so I'll be watching...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Baseball. Tonight.

1. I'm excited. Three televised games that I know of tonight. Twins vs. BoSox (Spring Training). Korea vs Taiwan (I will not call them Chinese Taipei, that sounds like a colony!) and Japan vs China (WBC). The Japan game is on ESPN2 at 3:30 am, but I have the baby-feeding night shift (4:30 am?), so I'll probably go to bed early and just stay up and watch the second half of the game.

2. Saw this news of former Twins current Nats in exhibition:
Matt LeCroy drove in three runs with a bases-clearing single, while Cristian Guzman went 2-for-2 with an RBI.

A bases-clearing single? Seems Matty is right where he left off, stretching extra-base hits into singles. I picture him like Happy Gilmore, who gets a hole-in-one and says "That's so much easier."* LeCroy hits the homer and does the same thing.

*Note: may not be actual quote from the movie.