Shut out the Angels?!

And be in second place behind Texas for the 2012 season? I’m waiting for the twilight zone music to start this season, yet the A’s keep on keeping on. Really 4 out of 5 against Anaheim? and  hand them their 8th shutout of the year and lead the league with shutouts given with 5.

WOW, I love my A’s but I didn’t think they would start the season off like this. I live on the east coast, most games I watch are recorded. I cant stay up to 1:30 every night to see the end of an A’s game that results in a loss. I tried that last summer and realized where the idea for the movie Fight Club may have had its roots. Tonight was a good trade off though. A few less hours sleep and a win. Keep it going fellas.

School assignment

School projects in my digital media program have kept me so busy this semester! I’m having a great time though. My most recent projects are revolving around both video and web documentary. NPR’s Ira Glass makes it all look too easy. Lots of hard work and honesty goes into film making of any kind, something I am painfully learning every day this semester. Subject matter for my documentary started with the birth of the modern baseball card, which is interesting but dry like a Ken Burns film. I do like Ken Burns films, don’t get me wrong, but to many, not interested in the subject matter at hand, they can induce sleep.

I narrowed the scope of the subject matter down to something a little closer to my own heart and tomorrow I will be showing the rough cut for the first time in class. The Intangible Value of Baseball Cards. It’s about the experience children had with going down to the local gas station or liquor store and getting bubble gum cards. It’s about the imagination triggered by cards in the silly looks of players to the anecdotes on the reverse side. It’s about my own experiences both good and bad, from my uncle stealing my mothers vintage 1966 Topps cards to my favorite card, the 1987 Topps McGwire.  Collecting cards was a pure experience untainted by media, and its value rested in the imagination.

So anyway, that’s what I have been up to besides watching box scores when I get a moment of free time.

New season YAY!!

I trailed off last year amid a crisis of trying to find work and making a decision to go back to school…again. School won out, and I’m in my second semester of a digital media program. I have been trying to keep up with baseball like I used to but its next to impossible. I do however plan on regular interesting updates here.  Mostly baseball but mixed with some of what I’m doing at school. In a nutshell I hope to make it interesting for all five of my visitors.

How about this off season though eh? Buh bye pitching staff. Hello new prospects. As an A’s fan I should be used to the motel 6 atmosphere of our players checking in and out, but its tough to see some of those characters like Gio leave. I was happy to see Crisp stick around this season. If nothing else is interesting we can take bets on his hairstyle for the day…..I’ll be back soon

A Day Trip

The last 6 games have been so painful to watch that to pour any more energy into thinking or writing about them could leave me in straight jacket and you comatose from reading about it.  So, lets skip those two series and pretend they didn’t happen. Instead I will share something fun.

Saturday morning, yay!!  It’s my wifes birthday this weekend and we decided to make a day trip to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Its a short drive from Albany New York, all of an hour or less, and the area is gorgeous. Camping, fishing, boating, golfing, and a few other museums nearby, are just a short list of things to see and do. It’s a small community and the little downtown area next to the Baseball Hall of Fame has a very welcoming feel to it. It’s homey and the people are friendly in most shops and restaurants.

We arrived around 11am and parked next to Double Day Park. The baseball field there has this great old feel to it and there is almost always a game being played, so a crack of the bat is one of the first things you hear when you open your car door downtown. The next sense is of course smell. Plenty of good cooking to choose from here including  Nicoletta’s, an Italian restaurant with out of this world food and over the top service. Its  located across the way from the HOF museum and is the place I asked my wife to marry me. We had hoped to grab some lunch there today but they weren’t open until dinner. Instead we followed our nose and  went to the Doubleday cafe which features great burgers, and beer (Olde Slugger is our fav)  from the local brewery Ommagang.  It’s a great feeling when you walk into a eatery and the wait staff  recognizes you from almost a year ago. The waitress and my wife had a good time discussing home made origami earrings during I entertained myself by watching breaking news on the e coli outbreak.   Be sure to grab a Double Day shirt when you eat here: Cooperstown, a drinking town, with a baseball problem.

There is a a lot stores to meander through, many of which are in very old buildings that used be small inns, and in one case a very old theater. The architecture alone is a reason to visit Cooperstown. After lunch I did my usual around the horn where I scout the stores for things I am interested in, usually 1952 and 1953 Topps baseball cards. I should note though that the stores offer more than just baseball cards. You can find just about anything you want baseball related. From team seat cushions to a one of a kind Christy Mathewson/Cy Young duel signed postcard. Personalized bats are a favorite for the younger crowd, you can get them turned and watch while you wait. This trip I found a 1953 Topps  Jackie Robinson and a Hoyt Wilhelm to add to my set. After doing two rounds into the stores to be sure I didn’t miss something I made my way over to the Hall of Fame. While your walking around town keep an eye out, you never know who you may run into. I almost bumped Rickey Henderson into the street one year, and another time came face to face with James Earl Jones while walking in the HOF.

Student interns from all over the country are helpful and courteous from the moment you walk into the museum. Every year I renew my membership and chat up the new kids to see where they are from. The money goes to not only take care of the halls great many artifacts but it also goes to some very innovative HOF education programs for young school children. The museum has changed quite a bit in recent years. Interactive exhibits and short films like Whose On First seem to attract most people. This year I took my time and went through the new Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream exhibit thoroughly. Things like Aaron’s home run balls are a wonder to enjoy and the exhibit tells the whole story of breaking Ruth’s record. Real hate letters with death threats sent from racists, donated by Aaron, are on display as well as photos of Hank being patted on the back by a couple of white guys after breaking the record.

The museum offers so many things to see and enjoy that it’s impossible to describe it all in words, so I hope you enjoy the pictures. Every year the HOF has a spot for the recent World Series champion. I took more pictures but I think I may just fit them into another page or post. This is cluttered so I may take them down soon and put them on a different page soon. Also sorry about the fuzzy photos, they are taken in haste to not be in the way of other people enjoying the sights.

Around the museums green space you can find bronze statues of ballplayers like Satchel Paige and others

Catfish during the A's dynasty in the 70's

HOF first inductees, no introduction required, I hope

The Hall, in the Hall.

An old poster from the Negro League days

Satchel Paige game used uniforms

A sample of each clubs lockers in the hall.

Cuz the mayor said so!

Its been an exciting couple of weeks. Ive had the police called on me, I turned my garage into a gym, I have come to a conclusion on my future education, and in baseball, momentum is clearly building up for the Athletics as the bats come alive and pitching continues to thrive. Oh yeah and there was that game in Texas that never was.
Last year my wife and I purchased a condominium. Its in a unique area that sits between a golf course and a river on a island and happens to be down the street from what else? A baseball/sofball field. More like a sandlot realy. Its city owned but utilized by a local softball league 2 months out of the year. A few years back it was almost converted into houseing but homeowners along with the mayor were able to keep it as a greenspace for all to enjoy. For a year now my wife and I had been taking our dog up to that space/sandlot to throw the ball around and let her get some off the leash time. Often we would meet other people in the community down at the lot by chance, and the dogs would run and have a good time. On a few occasions people would come to play a game on the sandlot and we always obliged them and just left the lot to the players. (just to clear one thing up so I dont feel it necessary to spend much time on it, the dog poo was always cleaned up no issue there) Anyhow, a year passes with no issues.

About a month ago while down at the sandlot my wife and I are approached by a very aggressive individual claiming we and others like us were the purveyors of destruction to his beloved “softball park”. I assured him of his misconceptions being incorrect, and pointed out the bags full of trash my wife and I had picked up. Bags full of trash his league players had left behind. He ( the league president as we came to find out ) insisted we should not be there. In the spirit of not pounding the guys face in while my wife watched, we left the lot, went home, and my wife called the mayors office to see where we could make a formal complaint. Suprisingly, the mayor got on the phone with my wife to discuss what had happened. The mayor then went on to assure us that we could use that greenspace anytime as long as there wasnt a game or event going on.
Two weeks ago approximately, I took the dog down to the sandlot. Thiry minutes or so goes by and then the same guy showed up. He got out of his work truck and begins to yell at me. At this point, I had a choice to beat his brains in for being a complete jerk or calmly tell him I had every right to be there. My wife who was not with me would later be glad to find out that I chose the latter version. This imbecile then phones the police at my refusal to vacate.
Police arrive a few minutes later while I continue to toss the ball for the dog. The policeman first gets the league presidents version of events, and then attempts to diffuse the situation by asking me to leave the lot. How could I possibly leave though? Im a citizen of the city and pay to have this sandlot/greenspace maintained. I made the policeman aware of my intentions to stay and topped it off with the mayors spoken approval to my wife. The policemans tone changed a little at the mention of the mayor and he wished me a good day. I stayed at the lot till my dog was tired and then I left.
The rest of the sandlot story includes alot of mundane details but I would rather just summerize. The mayor has since spoken to the president of the softball league, this year is his last as president. The mayor also agreed to help find a designated dog park for the neighborhood. We have since spoken to other residents and enjoy their full support. I have to say its a beautiful thing to behold when you stand your ground and demand your just dues. Even if its just a ballpark…er sandlot.

Life is good. The A.L. West remains up for grabs with no clear cut “best” team to beat. Its early but the 3 way fight for first will most likely go down to the wire come the end of the season.  The A’s pitching staff will be equal to or outmatch any team and with Boom Boom Bailey on the mend will only get tougher to compete with. Run production is getting better but could still benefit from one more solid consistant bat.  I hate to say it but I fear Godzillas game juice seems depleted. The A’s could find a much better DH just about anywhere at this point. I wont go further on that as I know we are stuck with him. Kouzmanoff however has got to go. 6 errors on the season and virtualy no bat. Its time to give someone from the farm a chance.

Im looking forward to the 4 game series with the Angels comming up. Those games could be season changing to say the least.

And for petes sake rain rain go away.

Momentum and history

I cant help but smile when I see Coco Crisp take the field. Not only does he contribute with good offense and defense, but he brings a playfullness to a game turned mostly business. A recent tweet from Coco reads: “4 all that’s behind the curve, “Fro-Co” is my hair unbraided+me. A guy at the game was yelling it, now ppl start callin it the Fro-Co look”  Sorry Coco, its catchy sounding, and looks like it may stick. Perhaps the A’s will put togather a “Fro-Co” day. First 20,000 fans on Coco Crisp hat day get a Fro-Co hat complete with fro! I think that would be worth the airfare cross country for me. *laugh*

The A’s played .500 baseball in most of April. A tip of the cap goes to the pitching staff and deservedly so. Offense seems to be catching up though. Kurt Suzuki, since Wednesday, has 5 RBI and 2 homeruns. Not bad for a new daddy right?  Coco Crisp has done his part in between starts due to a sore quad, and Godzilla smacked a huge shot to right field to win the 4th game in walk off fashion against the Rangers taking the series 3 out of 4. (My poor wife was in my office talking to me about her work day when Matsui hit that homerun. I jumped up and pumped my fist screaming, scaring the daylights out of her.)  Oakland will now go into May with a great start 2 and 0. The Indians come to town tommorrow. I cant wait to see the boys shut Cleveland down. We got MOMENTUM!

 The other day I was thinking about past successfull teams with a similar makeup to that of the A’s and it dawned on me that the 1988 Dodgers might fit the bill. I went to http://www.baseball-reference.com/ and looked them up.

A small example of offense stats are as follows:

The 2011 Athletics have a batting average of .240 and a on base percentage of .309 in 28 games.

The 1988 Dodgers had a batting average of .248 and a on base percentage of .305 in 162 games.

A few pitching stats:

The 2011 Athletics ERA 2.76  and a WHIP of 1.241 in 28 games.

The 1988 Dodgers ERA 2.96 and a WHIP of 1.205 in 162 games.

I know its a tough comparison as there is an abundant amount of baseball to be played this year, and that Dodger team was more than 20 years ago. Twenty years ago at the begining of a steroid era that would see a explosion of offense that is. If baseball is as clean now as they say, then pitching has regained the lost yardage of yesterday, and if you think of it that way perhaps the comparison is not that far off.

 

 

Off day update

Just a quick note because I mentioned it yesterday. Kurt Suzuki and wife Renee welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world. Congrats to them and their family.

Froco is on.

I gotta do my part tonight for the A’s so my profile pic will feature Coco Crisps froco. That is all for now

Split and run.

  Every Saturday my wife and I visit our local farmers market. Its one of the biggest in the area and they have a great cross section of food and art for sale. Being an Oakland A’s fan in the northeast can be lonely at times. The shear amount of Yankee hats and other pinstripe apparel creates a visible ocean of some crazy, but mostly passionate friendly fans. In crowded areas like the farmers market my A’s hat acts like a lure to these northeast fish, er, fans. Lately the comments range from “hey buddy how about trading some of that pitching” to the more unusual “look, its our minor league affiliate”.  I just laugh and have a good time with it. Most of it is very friendly banter. Then again, if we could trade to get Nick Swisher back….

 

    The last two nights of Oakland baseball has been a real turn around. One could characterise it as explosive in a side by side comparison to the previous nights.Splitting that four game series was better then I had hoped for. When teams have such drastic turn arounds like this it makes me wonder about the catalyst that sparked it, because I dont believe in luck.  Watching the offense score by not only homeruns but some stolen bases and timely hitting is a huge relief going into a series with the halos though. It’s a mixed bag for me when the A’s head to the southland to play the Angels. I  know they need to win these games in a big way,  but they were my grandfathers team so I have a soft spot for em. I dont want my boys to kill the halos, just crush their spirits, and cast their souls to the void, in a profound sweep they wont forget. Okay, maybe I went a little too far at the end here. It does have a good ring to it though.

Over 39 left on base and counting

   In the last three days of Oakland Athletics baseball I have seen some pretty damn good pitching performances. One exception being Jeremy Blevins.( Was it just me, or did it look like he just didnt give a rats *** about being called out in relief last night?)

 The offense, to just be simple and honest, stinks. In the last three days more than 39 runners have reached base only to stand there as statues. I can only imagine Billy Beane in the workout room at Oakland just completely flipping out and breaking things. The drawing I was working on at home suffered maiming. This lineup needs to be shaken up badly. Another season like last year is not acceptable. If the A’s had scored just half of those runnners, Oakland would be in first place or tied for it.

   To squander the pitching the A’s have, because offense cant step it up, is a crime. It used to be I would pay more attention to offense during a game. Now, I find myself walking away for a drink or a bathroom break when the A’s are up to bat. Even my dog, who likes watching

Thumbnail image for Elcie under.jpgbaseball with me, got up after the 4th inning last night and went to the other room. A change needs to be made.

    Call up, make a trade, shake up, yell, scream, cross your fingers, rub your belly and pat your head, meditate, do yoga, take batting practice naked, pull fingernails out, water board, group hug, plant a tree, grow out a beard, stop bathing, only eat chicken, drink a redbull, give the opposing pitcher the finger, lean into a few, take one for the team, eat alot of garlic to dizzy up opposing catchers, mandate full body hair removal for those that leave runners on base.

 My point is, the A’s need to explore new avenues to make this offense work. Minor changes in the lineup, or giving Godzilla a night off is not a fix. If the A’s are not going to score many runs but have the capability to limit runs scored, then take a look around the league and get a few bats to optimize the lineup to sustain enough runs scored to win the tight games.