I was going to write about the "No British man has won Wimbledon since 1936" thing, and about how Andy Murray has reached the semis, so it's about to get real. And he is a credible threat to win the thing. Nadal's foot has acted up, so that may give Murray an opening. Federer went out last round to a spry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,* which his helpful. Not sure what to say about Novak Djokovic, other than maybe Murray can catch him on a good day.
*Tsonga might have the greatest range between great and bad than any other tennis player on Earth. Maybe in any sport, period. At his best, he squashes Nadal and makes these "down 2 sets" comebacks on Federer. At his worst, he's liable to go out in the first round. The two top French players (Tsonga and Monfils) are two of the most exciting players going today for two completely different reasons.
Murray is a darned good player, and it would be nuts if he won, but I'm just not as grabbed by it as maybe I should be. Maybe it's because Murray is Scottish rather than English. Maybe it's because I haven't had a chance to watch it like I used to. In any case, I'm going to try thinking about more to add here. Check back this afternoon for more.
As I'm sure most are aware, I'm a big fan of the Prospect League, as I believe it is what college baseball should be. I regularly go to Danville Dans games and really enjoy the whole experience. Good baseball, good atmosphere, good stadium. I think that's true for most of the league. Other fields may not be as historic as Danville Stadium, but many are.
The league is still young, a merger of sorts between two leagues.* That means there has been some flux in the league. Mostly for the good. The league went from 11 teams in it's inaugural 2009 season to 15 teams this year. The only true casualty has been the Dupage Dragons. There have been a few ownership changes, but no other teams have folded. That might change.
*Well, one league and some former owners in the Frontier League. CICL took its teams and basically made the Western Division. The former Frontier League owners made up the Eastern Division.
Before we get into that, let me give a little personal history. I worked for a year (pretty much the 2008-09 school year, plus the 2009 summer) in the Purdue Particle Physics Lab. While not an awful job, there really wasn't any need for my position. I could have very easily been part time and still completed what needed to be done. It wasn't a terribly fulfilling time. I kept looking around to find a better fit, and thought I had landed it. A start-up IT consulting firm, I would be the first employee. Who doesn't want to get in on the ground floor? I jumped at the chance, and I was out about as quickly as I was in. The guy just couldn't afford to keep me. That led to a pretty awful time of no income for a few months. In a moment of desperation,* I decided a great way to be employed was to make my own job. I couldn't afford to pay myself, though, so I needed to find a project for somebody else to bankroll. My idea was a twelfth team in the (at the time) 11-team Prospect League.
*I was pretty desperate to not lose my apartment that I had just signed a renewed lease on, because who thinks their new job at the start-up will end in two weeks? That said, I definitely believed in the idea, I just didn't have the money to bankroll it myself.
Currently, the Prospect League is sitting at a very healthy 15 teams. One of those teams, the Nashville Outlaws, though, has no owner. Apparently the league has been running the team since March, and hasn't gotten any real serious offers for another owner. If another owner isn't found, the team will most likely fold. I'm obviously not close to the situation, but it seems if there aren't any serious offers by now, a new owner is unlikely to materialize. Being the ambitious dreamer I am, it sounds like maybe I ought to revisit my idea, now that I'm in a more stable place.
My idea was to base a team in Lafayette. If a city like Danville can support the Dans all this year, surely the Lafayette metro area could do the same. It fits in the league geographically, much better than Nashville. There is a very nice field, Leob Stadium, that right now I don't believe hosts anything other than Lafayette Jeff baseball and the Colt World Series. I'm still desperate to see the field get more use, because it's a very nice old park in a great, great set up.
The stadium is situated within Columbian Park, which is the crown jewel of Lafayette parks. It used to have an amusement park in its confines, that has since been converted to a water park. There is a small (but pretty decent) zoo right next to the ballpark, along with pavilions and a "standard" playground. I think there's also a mini train track that still runs during the summers, a holdover from the amusement park. You would think with all those people around the stadium any way, you would be able to attract some curious walk up ticket buyers to go along with your baseball fans. And, like I mentioned, the park atmosphere can only help the baseball team.
The first go around didn't really get off the ground. For one, I got my current job before I could really get serious about it, but I did some communication with the league commissioner who was excited to have a Lafayette team before I let the dream die. Or at least take a hiatus. Here, though, is my pitch to bring summer college baseball to Lafayette.
First of all, anybody that's going to bankroll this is going to want to know what sort of expenses they have to look at. I don't remember, and couldn't reveal even if I did, what the franchise fee was, but strictly on the field expense should not be too bad. We would need some basic baseball equipment. Balls, a few bats, helmets, uniforms, and maybe catcher's gear. Even at retail, we're probably looking at a few thousand bucks. Five tops, I would guess. The helmets we probably could have the players buy as part of joining the team, but I would rather have the team buy them so they can be used from year to year. If the players want to buy their own helmet, though, that is an option available to them. I'm sure most players would have their own bats, too, but I would buy a few more or less for emergencies. These would be wooden bats, they do break. The catcher's gear players might own, but it just looks nicer when we can get gear in team colors. And, again, would make a good back up, should some personal equipment break.
The next expense is the park. Renting the field straight up with the city is $300 a night. With a 56 game schedule, we'll say we play half at home, so 28 games. That comes out to $8400. But, that's without working out any sort of deal with the city, which I would be surprised if we couldn't get some sort of break. Even at "retail," if we charge $5 a head, that comes out to 60 people a game. That seems pretty reasonable to get that money back. We might be able to work out some afternoon games on the weekend, too, which would lower the rental to $200 for those games. And, again, that's without working out a deal with the city, which I fully anticipate getting some sort of discount.
As far as staff is concerned, we should be able to get by with a very minimal staff. We'll need a GM, which I nominate myself. If I can make what I make now or slightly better but work in sports, I will be very happy. I can also be a salesman, getting advertisers to bring money and services in. I'll also volunteer as media guy. I would love to be able to call the games on the radio, but I'm assuming whoever we get to broadcast the games (maybe ESPN Radio 1450, out of Lafayette. There won't be any Purdue sports or high school sports to broadcast then) will have their own guy(s). And that would be a little bit of money in as part of that media deal. I would also be the one to run the team's website, Facebook, etc. I could also very easily keep the book at the games and be the one to call in the scores and stats, but I'm sure we can get some unpaid interns to handle some things beyond taking tickets and selling 50/50 tickets.* And because we can sell them on experience, that's no money out of our pocket. The other paid staff would be the manager and a couple of assistant coaches. We would only have to pay the coaches through the season, and we could probably get away with paying a fairly minimal amount, as it's probably going to be a college coach (I would try to get Coach Stevens from Wabash first) who already has steady income. This would just be some side money. Just to aim high, let's say $10,000 to pay three coaches ($5,000 for the head coach, $2,500 each for pitching and hitting coaches). So essentially, the only full time employee is me.
That would come out to less than $30,000 for all the "in-season" expenses, and a lot of the equipment costs (uniforms [outside of hats], helmets, catcher gear) will not going to be bought every season. Because we don't have to (and, in fact, can't) pay the players, that saves a whole ton of money. The only other costs not covered are travel and hotel.
I'm very optimistic this can be worked out for either free or close to it through trade deals. We throw free advertising at Imperial Travel and one of the Lafayette hotels* that they give us services for instead of money. Maybe over time we'd buy a team bus, but if we could work out a cozy deal with Imperial, I would be happy with that.
*In this league, the home team books hotel rooms for the visiting team. It hadn't crossed my mind before I started looking into it, but it makes a whole lot of sense. As far as the team owning a bus, there do seem to be some pretty reasonable deals on a used bus, which is an option that would be up to the owner. I'm fine either way.
It sounds like a winning deal to me. With a possibility at making a little money, or at worst spending what would be two full-time employees at a presumably well-off owner of a Lafayette business, we can bring a great family entertainment option to Lafayette, as well as bringing a great opportunity in helping college ballplayers work their way to pro dreams. What's not to like?
As you might have guessed, that's a concept* of the (in Uni Watch parlance) softball tops of the team. I really like the name Conductors. Purdue, and Lafayette as a whole, have had big ties to the railroad historically, and this pays homage to that. The colors I picked more or less to be unique, not sold on it at all. I don't think it's bad, though. Just because I can, here are what the "standard" white and greys would look like below. Thought I would probably put a number on the front, too. And stirrups!
*And by "concept," I mean I played around with the Russel Uniform Builder for about ten minutes.
Now I just need to find somebody with some money who believes in this the same way I believe in it. It would be nice if that somebody would read this article.
As has been documented here multiple times, I am a big Cubs fan. As most are aware, it's been over a century since the last time the Cubs took home a championship. Because of this, they are usually the first team to get mentioned when talking about cursed franchises. Problem is, this is far from the only cursed team I like.
The Purdue Boilermakers Final Four drought isn't nearly as legendary, but it stretches back to before I was born.* This is not due to a lack of talent. Purdue has put plenty of players in the NBA since, fairly highly ranked more often than not, won plenty of Big Ten championships. And yet, something always happens that seems to stop the team in either the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.** It's maddening. This could be (will be soon?) a post in itself, but the bewildered Jeff Foster tells us it's time to move on.
*Last appearance: 1980. My birth: 1986.
**The past two years, that "something always happens has been named Robbie Hummel and his broken down knee. Just when we got over the whole broken back fiasco.
There have been a few bright spots. The Colts won a Super Bowl in 2007 (2006 season) after many disappointing playoff runs with Peyton Manning. The Blackhawks broke a 50-year Stanley Cup drought last season, though I would be lying to say I've been a huge Blackhawk fan all my life. Or even a Colts fan. So, while those championships were nice, there are bigger prizes for me.
That leaves us with the Pacers. As has also been documented here, I'm not a huge NBA fan. I was when I was younger. It seemed like the NBA was king when I was in grade school with everybody. But, sometime in high school, I just sort of lost interest. I was still a big NBA fan when the Pacers made their finals run against the Lakers, but I think everybody knew there was no beating that Laker team in a best of seven series. They had some very good teams all through the 90's, especially the late 90's, but ran up against either Jordan's Bulls or Ewing's Knicks. The timing was just never right. It looked for some time that the Pacers would be the first ABA team to win an NBA championship, which would be fitting, because the Pacers were not always so cursed.
The ABA was a better time for the Pacers. The league was constantly in flux, most teams would fold or move in a few years. But not Indiana. To quote the great online museum that is Remember the ABA, "Through all the ups, downs, twists and turns of the wild ride known as the ABA, there was one constant -- the Indiana Pacers. Their three ABA Championships and five ABA Finals appearances in the nine seasons of the ABA were unmatched in ABA league history. Success, stability, and support all fed off each other to create a magical time and place among the legends of Indiana basketball." The picture of Darnell Hillman pouring champagne over Roger Brown underlines the point. There was an era when the Pacers were the powerhouse.
Though it was long before I was born, this is the reason why I am and why I continue to be a big supporter of the Pacers despite my general disinterest in the NBA. On the national sporting scene, all Indianapolis was known for was the Indy 500 and a plethora of amateur sports. Hoosiers and the Purdue-IU rivalry, and Notre Dame football for those that realized South Bend was in Indiana. But, in the '60's, Indianapolis was a city that was ready to join the big boys. It was still not a huge city by any stretch. Judging from the census figures, there was probably a bit over a half million people living in Indianapolis when the ABA came to town. The Pacers were a founding franchise, starting in 1967. There were 11 teams originally, and only the Pacers and the Kentucky Colonels made it through the entire run of the ABA without changing locations, names, or folding.
The league was founded on the premise of forcing their way into a merger with the NBA, which almost killed the league before it had a chance to merge. For Indianapolis, though, that was just what the doctor ordered. If the NBA didn't consider them a major enough market, they would show the league what they were missing with an ABA team. And show them they did. The ABA mounted serious competition with the NBA, both for players and TV money. When the NBA finally came calling, the Pacers, having a very strong case for being the pearl of the ABA, were one of the four teams to move into the NBA. It was the Pacers that showed the nation Indianapolis could a major league city. Indianapolis returned the favor and kept growing, too. Between the Pacers success, the continued success of the amateur sports scene, and the city's commitment to building top-flight facilities, the seeds were sown to draw in the Colts.
It seems that people forget that, even with the Colts coming to town and the Pacers early struggles in the NBA (thanks to some draconian rules about the ABA teams coming into the league), Indy was firmly a Pacers town for a long time. It was nearly impossible to get a ticket in the early years of Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers had a headstart on the Colts, both in terms of relationship with the city and winning records. Plus, Indiana has always been a basketball state. True, football has made some major inroads with the success of the Colts during the Manning era, but it is still primarily a basketball state. During the time when both the Pacers and Colts were perennial playoff teams, Indianapolis more firmly attached it's economic wagon to sports, also landing the NCAA headquarters and a deal to host the NCAA basketball championships every four years.* And it has served the city well. The downtown has grown and developed, the city now boasts two beyond excellent venues in Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium. Even the Indy Indians boast the best minor league park in America with Victory Field.
*I'm going off memory on that, so I could be off, but that's got to be close.
It seems because of all this, Indianapolis (and Indiana as a whole, really) understands that sports are bigger than the games. These teams, these structures, are as much of a civic entity as they are a business. That's what makes sports grand. It may be rooting for laundry (to paraphrase Seinfeld, I think it was), but it's important laundry. The jerseys might say Pacers at home, but they say Indiana on the road. That jersey represents not just a team, but a population. Which is why when that trust it broken, it usually takes something a little harder than a few losing seasons to break. And it just so happens that the Pacers lost the city (the state?) with one of the ugliest incidents in the history of sports. Or maybe civic history, period.
The Malice at the Palace, November of 2004. I was watching this game live when it happened, and it was an absolute train wreck. You knew you were watching something horrible happen, but nobody was going to change the channel or miss a moment of it at the time. ESPN and news outlets covered this for weeks straight. And, yes, it killed the Pacers for years. David Stern came down hard on both teams, but the Pacers especially. As he should have, no doubt about that. But that was a Pacer team that I still believe would have won a championship, if not that year, the next. Instead, Larry Bird (understandably) broke up the team after that season, and the Pacers didn't see the playoffs again for five years.
The brawl and subsequent rebuilding killed fan support. It still hasn't remotely recovered. I do think it gave Pacer fans an insight into Braves fans. We were making the playoffs every year, and it got to be where you just expected it to happen. The season didn't start until the playoffs. The fanbase 1) got a taste of what it's really like and 2) found out who the real fanbase was. The team had to struggle through purgatory for a while, but there have been some promising signs as of late.
I would say it started with Danny Granger. He was a rookie for the season after the brawl, so obviously it wasn't a quick turn around. I would say I like Granger, but I'm not a fanboy. There are issues with Granger, namely his defense and is often reluctant to take the ball to the rim. He sometimes doesn't give the impression that he really gives a damn. That's certainly from the outside. Maybe he's just become a bit numb to losing, given when he came in. But he is a borderline All-Star, and there was no reason he should have slid to the 17th pick in the draft when the Pacers gladly snapped him up. That was a big break, it gave the team somebody new to build around after Reggie Miller retired.
The 2006 and 2007 drafts were essentially a waste, setting back the rebuilding. In 2008, the turnaround started in earnest. Granger and Mike Dunleavy started really showing their potential, and Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush* joined the team. Tyler Hansbrough came the next year, and though he basically missed his rookie year with an inner ear infection. He showed what he could do this year, silencing any critics that said he was not an NBA caliber player.
*Rush may be gone after this season with George Hill joining the team. I'm not terribly upset, because Rush was certainly inconsistent, but it certainly seemed like he tried hard, and when he was on, boy could he shoot.
Finally, all the rebuilding is starting to pay off. The Pacers were starting to get talked about around the state. Paul George, who has surpassed just about everybody's expectations, joined the team, and after the departure of Jim O'Brien, the rotations seemed to solidfy, and the team finally gelled into a very solid basketball team.
The team finally broke through to the playoffs an gave the top seeded Bulls all they could handle for five games. Indianapolis was finally excited for the Pacers again, looking towards the future and what the team needs to add instead of falling back to calling the team "thugs," which has not been true in a few years.
Another way to measure the momentum is the draft party. It usually attracted a few thousand, enough for some good pictures, but nothing special. This year, 8,000 people came to see who the Pacers would take at 15, even though I think everybody knew that it wouldn't be anybody to get especially excited about.* That shows a definite uptick in interest. It seems people just want to be around, be involved in the resurgence, which is great. Absolutely great.
*Unless maybe it was JuJuan Johnson or E'Twuan Moore, given the Purdue connection, or even Matt Howard or Shelvin Mack out of Butler. And yet, I think everybody was more than thrilled when the Pacers essentially traded their draft away to get George Hill, another local product. Well played, Larry Bird.
Of course, like I said, the Pacers are cursed. Even this surge in momentum (playoff berth, finally having money to spend, great pick up in Hill, measurable increase in fan interest) is poorly timed. As soon as the Pacers are really back on track, it's all threatened to be derailed by an NBA lock out. There's nothing anybody in Indianapolis can do about that. I suppose Herb Simon has a bit of say, being an owner and all, but I don't think he's one of the more influential owners. Really, if Indy was a bigger market, I think you would hear more about the Pacers being a cursed franchise, because it seems for all the franchise has done right over the years, something just always happens.
They do if it's in support of boobies. Or gets them a discount on getting into the game. Which it actually didn't this time, but that didn't stop my brother (on the right) and his old college housemate Joby from getting in the spirit on Saturday. I would have pinked it up, but I didn't own anything pink and didn't really get anywhere to buy anything before the game.
The game itself was great. Not too many hits, a solid 3-2 game, Danville won over Springfield. The winning run scored from second on a wild pitch, which was awfully exciting. And it's probably those sorts of plays that go a long way towards explaining Springfield's 4-15 record.
In personal news, I'm now completely out of my old apartment. The floors have been mopped/vacuumed, the counters and sinks have been cleaned out. I plan on shampooing the carpets this evening, and then I'll be done. That's a positive. On the negative side of things, I won't have internet at home for at least a month, maybe more like two, two and a half. I've moved into my mom's while she's in France chaperoning a school trip. And she's still using dial up. I think she might be getting broadband soon, but not until she gets back. As slow as dial up is, it's better than nothing, but I still can't use it. The USB modem she has apparently doesn't have any Windows 7 drivers. And no unsecured wireless for me to, uh, commandeer. It's another reason to look forward to moving into the new place when we'll get U-Verse internet. Have I mentioned how excited I am for that?
With all the moving and cat care-taking this weekend, I didn't get to watch too many games. I did watch the Cubs get an all-too-rare win on Friday, though. The Royals are really a pretty decent team, though they've definitely slowed down from a hot start. The future is bright in Kansas City, though. Watch out for them to make a return trip to the playoffs maybe even next year. That would be the first playoff berth since 1985, where they outright stole the World Series from St. Louis. Not that the Royals were a bad team by any stretch, but there's a reason the name Don Denkinger is still famous, especially in Missouri. I also want to clarify that the Royals were a very good team basically up until the strike, they were just the "Always a Bridesmaid" team when it came to postseason play.
Now that the moving has calmed down, there will be some bigger and better blog posts up ahead, more in line with the Marlins post of last week. Those are the sorts of posts I started this blog to write. Now, granted, doing that daily is tough, so I don't know that I can deliver that every day. But I want to deliver that more often than not, and I haven't done that recently. The posts might get done later, but at least until we closer to the wedding, I'm going to really try to churn out more quality pieces.
The Boston Celtics already have a little experience with a substantial Indiana fanbase from the days of Larry Bird. It seems they've rekindled that experience after trading for JaJuan Johnson and drafting E'Twuan Moore last night. I'm sure Boilermaker fans everywhere are ecstatic those two will continue to play together, and I know I'll be paying much more attention to the Celtics now than I did before. If they could get Robbie Hummel next year, well, they might have to start broadcasting games in Indiana.
I was really hoping that would happen, although I was really hoping it would be for the Pacers. As it turned out, though, the Pacers gave all their draft picks (plus a draftee from 2005 that's still in Europe) to the Spurs to get George Hill. I was okay with that. I'm not sure the Pacers really needed a point guard, Darren Collison did great this year, especially in the playoffs. I thought AJ Price was a very serviceable back up with a bright future ahead.* Still, we all knew TJ Ford was gone ASAP. And, for those who don't remember, George Hill is from Broad Ripple and played his college ball at IUPUI. I didn't watch a game of it, but I hear he had a very, very good series this year, although San Antonio got knocked off by a better-than-an-8 Memphis Grizzly team.
*He was noticeably in over his head during the playoffs when Collison hurt his ankle, though.
I didn't really watch the draft (I wrote a little something about drafts back when the NFL had theirs), but it went about as well as I could've hoped. There's one thing I can't really decide about the draft, though. Is it more of a college thing or more of a pro thing? Obviously, it's a pro event. But when I do pay attention, it's typically because there are Purdue players I'm expecting to get drafted and I want to see where they end up. I did watch the draft when the Pacers took Tyler Hansbrough,* and I was mostly watching for the Pacers. Still, it's more exciting when I can watch Purdue guys make their NBA dream come true. Maybe that's a function of being a much, much bigger Purdue fan than an NBA fan.
*I always liked the Hansbrough pick, and I feel he's really proven he belongs during his time with the Pacers. He missed a lot of his rookie year with an inner ear infection, but if you remember, he absolutely gave the Bulls fits on both ends of the floor in the playoffs. And those were not his only big games. Ask the Knicks. At the time of that draft, though, you might remember that it was very trendy to dislike that pick and decide Tyler wasn't nearly athletic enough to make it in the NBA. I think in a few years, we're all going to look back and wonder how JJ fell so far in the draft, too. Because, frankly, I can't figure it out.
In baseball news, we have another managerial resignation that again seemed to be the manager's choice. Why did he resign? Because the owner didn't meet with him to discuss a contract extension. Now, I don't know the entire story, I haven't read the articles or anything. Just heard a quick blurb on Sportscenter on the radio this morning. So, maybe I'm missing a key issue here. But it seems like if you do have a contract for the year, and the owner didn't meet with you on some random June day, that isn't the time to decide "I'm outta here." There's still a ton of time in the season to work this out. The timing just seems bizarre. And, really, so does walking out on the Nationals right now.* They're a game on the good side of .500. There are some nice pieces there, along with some very promising young guys in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Ryan Zimmerman has been good for a few years, and is still young. If they weren't in the same division as the Braves and Phillies, they would probably be getting some better press right now. In any case, this is a team that looks to be on the upswing with a great core. Not the time to be walking out because the owner or GM wouldn't meet with you on June 23rd.
*Does that sentence sound as strange reading it as it did typing it?
I'm sure there's a crucial piece that I'm missing here. Maybe we're all missing it here. But, you know, it seems like the Expos/Nationals have been nothing but a cavalcade of errors from Day 1 (at least since I've been paying attention), and this is just another incident to add to the list. It seems that franchise is cursed, and really, Washington has been a cursed baseball city since time immemorial. Or, you know, 1891. It seems
Well, so the Cubs didn't take round one of the Chicago rivalry, but somewhere,* Michael Barrett is smiling thinking of the time he clocked A.J. Pierzynski. At the time, Barrett looked like a hero, because Pierzynski was a known asshole. Turns out, Barrett was also a pretty big asshole that got him shipped out to San Diego or someplace because he couldn't get along with the rest of the team. Kind of shame, I always like Barrett behind the plate.
*Of course, that somewhere is not the majors, were Pierzynski is not only still in the league, but still an everyday catcher. Or, you know, as everyday as catchers get. A quick bit of research tells me Barrett first was on the Mets A team before moving up to AAA. Can't find anything for 2011. Maybe he finally met the end of the road.
Also, if you haven't seen Doug Davis pitch, he is awfully entertaining to watch. I don't think he can even dream of throwing 90, he seems to top out at 86 or so. But he's got a very slow and deliberate wind up which would drive me nuts at the plate. He then has a very slow, easy delivery. A lot of times you talk about a slow easy delivery and how the ball seems to explode out of nowhere. Not Davis. The ball just sort of meanders to the plate. Think of watching Wakefield throwing knuckleballs, except these are your standard fastballs and breaking balls. It looks like a beach ball on TV, I can only imagine how hitters are seeing it. And yet, the dude just gets outs. He had one bad inning, but he's a joy to watch. I don't know if he'll have any real long term success in the majors, but I hope he sticks around for some time.
Also, the Pirates have once again pulled to an even record, 37-37. They're still only three games back in the division, and they may be poised to make a move. The Cardinals look lost without Pujols in the mix.* The Reds were slumping even before the Yankees rolled into town. The Brewers have definitely cooled off since interleague started, and now have a hot Twins team to deal with. The Pirates have a good Red Sox team to deal with, so that is not working in their favor. But, Boston's rotation has shown a tendency to leave them, so maybe they catch a break this weekend.
*Though how much of that was St. Louis and how much of that was Philly finding their groove is hard to say. Still, it's a real shame that Albert went down when he did, just as he was starting to look like The Machine again.
In moving news, I take my bed apart tonight and start staying at my mom's while she's away. A bit sad, but definitely much more excited to start moving stuff into the new place, which if I didn't mention it, comes open to us on July 7th. Some of the furniture (or maybe TV's, more likely) might have to be put on hold a little bit to get Kristine a new car, but I'm so excited to get things in and decorate. There will be pictures, whether you like it or not.
Last night was supposed to be both Watchfire Signs Night and Two Dollar Tuesday. Things didn't pan out, though, because of rain. The thing that troubled me, though, was deciding to wait until the rain had stopped and then calling the game because the field had taken too much water.
Don't make us all sit through an hour or hour and a half rain delay and then decide to call the game without even trying to throw down some Diamond Dust or anything. I wasn't on the field, of course, but it didn't look too bad from what I could see. It just felt like no effort was made, and that kind of bothered me. If you call the game while it's still raining, we can all get behind that. But waiting until it's done, don't do anything to the field, and then say we're not playing is just insulting.
Because of that, I don't have much to write, because I didn't get to watch any MLB last night. I did finish packing up the kitchen. Now just the bedroom to go, which shouldn't really be that bad. Then it's to my mom's for a bit while she's in France, and then into the new place.
Well, we got the apartment. Took a look around, and we loved it. Dr. Freeze emailed us last night and let us know he would love to have us. Which means I get to play real estate agent today. Because I was busy looking at the place and packing up, I didn't watch any sports, but I can post pictures. This here is the outside of the house.
Here are our stairs. There's a nice little storage area behind the stairs, too. I hope we don't really have to use it that much. Still, nice to know it's there. I love that we all have private entrances. If you can't tell, we get the entire upstairs of the place. The downstairs is split between two one-bedroom apartments. Ours is a three-bedroom, although one will be used as a library of sorts. More on that in a bit. We do have a great little area at the top of the stairs. The website lists it as a "reading nook," which might be what we use it for, too. The current tenants had a computer set up out there. I don't think we'll do that, but it's a decent little area that could be very versatile.
Below is a picture of the living room. I love the wood floor, and I think we're going to be thankful for the coat closet. It's not that big of a deal to me, but Kristine was getting pretty upset that there might not be enough closet space in the master bedroom for both of us to hang our clothes there. I tried to assure her it's no big deal, but clearly it was to her. The living room closet might put down this crisis.
The French doors leading in the master bedroom was a huge selling point. The current tenants had the room kind of cluttered and disorganized, to say the least. I think we're going to have the bedroom looking more like these pictures rather than how we saw it last night.
I was also a big fan of the kitchen. Not quite as much cabinet space as the house in Wingate, though frankly, that was probably overkill. These will be great. The best part, though, are these appliances. Look at this stove! Look at the fridge! We'll get a pretty nice washer and dryer to match.
The current tenants had their washer and dryer in there, and it didn't feel crowded or cramped, which was great. Being able to do laundry at home again was a pretty firm requirement. Another thing I was greatly looking forward to was having real internet again. No more hoping I can pick up somebody else's free signal. And this place came through in spades. I don't know if it's because this place is just a couple blocks from the College or if all of Crawfordsville has access to it, but we can get AT&T U-Verse internet (not TV, though) at this place, which I am super excited about. Super fast internet for cheap, because it's fiber? Sign me up, please. The only thing I didn't get that I was looking for was central air. There are three window AC units already installed, and we'll probably add my current one to the mix, so that should keep things cool.
Last picture. This is the room that really sold me. There's another bedroom that just a very standard, smallish one. That'll become the guest room. This one, though, is going to become a computer room/library/music room. I'm picturing the desk with the computer right here in the curve of windows, with the library on one side and instruments on the other. These windows look out on Jefferson St., back towards downtown. Probably one of the better views in Crawfordsville, which is not known for being particularly picturesque. This room wasn't quite as big as I thought it would be, but it will certainly be big enough.
I am so excited to live here, if that hasn't shown through. Thanks again, Dr. Freeze!
Today’s post is written in Word, because Weebly is flaking out today.
I admit, I didn’t watch much of anything today because I’m busy packing up and getting ready to move. Just the kitchen and bedroom to go! And the bathroom, but that consists of the medicine cabinet and some towels. No biggie there.
Now, normally that would result in a short post, but the news saved me today. Edwin Rodriguez resigned as Florida’s manager before yesterday’s game. And this seemed to be an honest resignation, rather than a “what word would you like us to use in the media?” resignation. This could be for a number of reasons, and I think it was for a number of reasons. It could be as simple as taking your ball and going home after a 1-18 June, as it looks like Billy* is doing. While I’m sure that’s a major part of it, the reasons go deeper than that, it seems. Which is also why I don’t blame Rodriguez in the least.
*I was ashamed of myself for knowing the marlin’s name without having to Google it. Furthermore, I really don’t have any idea how I knew that, as Billy isn’t quite in the same class as a Fredbird, Bernie, or even the terrifying thing at White Sox games. I don’t know its name, and frankly, I don’t think I want to.
I don’t know of anybody who thought Rodriguez would be around for more than one year, and that pretty much comes down to one of the most interesting and loathsome owners in baseball (and maybe sports as a whole), Jeff Loria. I think Loria hands out business cards that say “Delusional Crazy Man” with the way he* runs the team. It seems like Loria is under the impression he bought the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, or even Dodgers. It must be terribly confusing when his stationary comes back in teal. Because he does not seem to understand that the Marlins are not a “glamour” team.
*A lot of this could be said of previous owners, too. Really, the Marlins are just a fascinating organization on a lot of levels. Unfortunately, “on the field” is not typically one of those levels.
First and foremost, to support this charge, is the Fredi Gonzalez debacle last year. Loria was apparently so disappointed and distraught that Florida wouldn’t be making the playoffs that he fired the great Bobby Cox’s disciple. This in the face of nobody outside of the Marlins, maybe outside of Loria, believing the Marlins were ever in serious contention of making the playoffs. The fact they were even in the conversation for a Wild Card was a great credit to Gonzalez, and probably why he is now managing a very good Braves team. A Braves team that is currently tied for the Wild Card lead, it might be mentioned.
There is also the Bobby Valentine mess from last year. There was a big push to hire him as the manager last year, as he would be a big name and make a big splash. After he turned them down (for reasons I wish I could remember), he turned to Rodriguez, seemingly for the purpose of keeping the seat warm until he could find a big name to go with his new stadium. That “honor” seems to have gone to the now 80-year-old hero of the 2003 World Series, Jack McKeon.
That new stadium also brings us to another possibly delusional part of Mr. Loria. Now, do the Marlins need something. They play in the same stadium as the Dolphins (currently called Sun Life Stadium), which does not configure well for baseball. It also is far too big for their needs.
This last point, though, doesn’t explain the sea of orange seats empty for every game, which you may have also noticed in the Billy picture above. Wikipedia tells me the stadium seats 75,000. Which is pretty big, even for football stadiums. The Marlins, though, only keep 38,500 seats open for baseball. That is on the small side for baseball, but not ridiculous. For comparison, Wrigley seats about 42,000 and (New) Busch holds about 43,000. So, that’s small for baseball, but even that’s not the problem. The problem comes in when you look at the attendance numbers. It’s pretty rare for Wrigley and Busch not to sell out. The Marlins, on the other hand, averaged a shade under 19,000 last year. And that was a decent increase over the last three years.
Is the stadium part of the problem? Maybe. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. First off, you’re dealing with Miami fans, who are maybe the most fickle and front-running in the nation. Added to this, while the team (est. 1993, mind you) already has two World Series championships, they’ve typically not been that great on the field, as each title was followed by a fire sale on all the talent. It’s hard to keep up loyalty when success is met with the sort of destruction the Marlins ownership* has wrought.
*I don’t think we can blame this on Loria. I don’t think he was there in 2003 when the last one happened. Dan Uggla, for some time the best Florida had to offer, wasn’t kept under his watch, though. How heartbreaking that is, though, is, um, debatable.
The best bet, it seems, would be to move the whole operation to an area that would be more grateful for it. And maybe get a new owner who will want to make a splash, but also open his pocketbook to make it happen. I would propose moving them to Portland, especially after the AAA moved (I don’t think it was for attendance reasons). That would require a little shuffling, but I think you could move the Pirates to the East easily enough. The West would then be the six team division, but hey, somebody has to be. I don’t think many NL Central fans have really minded it.
Okay, yeah, I would really rather them move into an expanded Victory Field and push Pittsburgh to the East. I just didn’t want to be called a homer. As long as we don’t call the team the Arrows, I’m behind it.
I actually don't have a lot to write today, because I'm balls deep in getting maybe the most gorgeous three bedroom apartment I've ever seen with my own eyes. I think we've got it, but I wouldn't turn down any crossed fingers or good thoughts.
Pirates won again, two games over .500. And only three games back in the division. They lock up with a cooled down Indians team. Cleveland had to come down at least a little bit from the start they got off to, no matter how good they were. The opposite is true for the rest of the division. They couldn't continue to be that bad. And because of all that, we now have a nice race setting up between the Indians and the Tigers, which should be a blast.
The Cubs also surprised the hell out of me. Just like the Pirates have seemed to have the Cubs number the past few years, it seems the Cubs still have Milwaukee's number. I didn't see taking three of four in that series at all. I would've been tickled with a split.
The Crawfordsville Athenians play for the state title tomorrow. Apparently it's a rematch of last year. Hopefully they've got some bright kids so they'll come to Wabash and keep helping us rise in D-III.
Well, back to filling out paperwork for the apartment. There will be pictures if (when?) we get it.