"It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
-James Joyce, "The Dead," Dubliners
Also, I stole Warren G. Harding's campaign promise for the title of today, but before I get to that, I did want to say a few things about Amy Winehouse.
For those that haven't heard for whatever reason, the singer died on Saturday at the age of 27. Seems to be a popular age for musicians. And before I say more, I should also say that I obviously didn't know Miss Winehouse personally, and I am also aware of Never Speak Ill of the Dead. Furthermore, it should also be noted that this isn't really about her. She clearly had some demons without the means to cope with them in a healthy fashion.
It always happens when somebody dies, especially celebrities. Even celebrities who aren't famous for much. Do a search for Winehouse on CNN. There are a ton of hits remembering her after she's died. Far, far more than when she was alive. The internet was ablaze with these types of stories. Here's one from Grantland, as an example. Here's my thing: she was much more famous as an addict than she was as a musician. Why is she suddenly the most important thing to happen in music in the last ten years?
She put out two albums. They got a lot of critical acclaim, though the first one, Frank, did very little in the US until her "signature" album, Back to Black, was released. Black did well, hitting number one on many charts, peaking at number two in the States. That album produced five singles. "Rehab" was the big one, peaking at number nine in the States. The other songs really didn't do much. All failed to chart in the US, except "You Know I'm No Good" (peaking at 77).* So, essentially what we have here is a one-hit wonder who is being lionized because she died young.
*"Tears Dry on Their Own" charted at 40 on Billboard Hot Adult R&B Airplay, but I was only taking the general singles chart into account.
I'll admit that I didn't like "Rehab" as a song. Just not my thing. I'm not going to complain about that. But, as alluded to earlier, we're going to make a queen out of a woman who sang about refusing to go to rehab for her drug problems, then stayed in the news for her continued drug and alcohol abuse, and soon afterwards died from said abuse?* It's sad she couldn't kick the habit, but let's not make her into some sort of hero. I'm sure if Amy Winehouse had never had her hit, Adele** would have done just fine. Plus, she's three times the signer and ten times the role model.
*The toxicology reports haven't come back yet, but I think we would all be shocked if there weren't some substances that made a huge contribution to her death. Most 27-year-olds don't just drop dead without help.
**That seems to be the argument that a lot of these articles are making. Winehouse revitalized British music and paved the way for Duffy and Adele. I don't know Duffy, but I do like Adele.
It just rings hollow to me to have all these glowing obits written about a singer who spent most of her public life being trashed in tabloids for her lifestyle. Don't act nice now. I wasn't a Winehouse fan, but I think I would be a little upset if I were seeing various media sources falling over themselves for the past few days to say the nicest things they can about her in death when there was no way that would be afforded in life.
For future reference, when I die, feel free to say what you think about me. We all ought to lie in the bed that we made. If I was a major asshole to you, don't be afraid to say so. I've tried to live a good life, I think most will have good things to say. But, if not, well, that's the consequence of the choices I've made.
Won't be a long post today, because I've just got too much on my plate. I really wish I didn't have to be at work so I could try to deal with a few of them, but so it goes. First off, I'm lighter than I thought on paying for the wedding reception. Shouldn't be a horrible thing, I should be able to catch back up no problem. Except, well, my car is acting up, and I don't know what kind of cost I'm looking at on that. I haven't heard back yet, but I'm really hoping it's just a simple fluid change to fix my transmission. But, I'm starting to get a bit worried because I still haven't heard back from the mechanic, and I would think they would have already done that and been done with it by now if that were the case. So, financially, I just might be fucked.
That's a big enough stress to add to moving and the whole getting married thing, which, while I'm definitely looking forward to it, is stress enough. I also really want to write another book, but with everything going on, I just don't feel like I'm in the right place to do that. I'm not thinking clearly, not the time to be trying to weave a story. Also, due to the financial position we suddenly find ourselves in, who knows what's going to happen with actually furnishing the new place.
So, all in all, forgive me if the blogs are light for a little while. I will be back on track, hopefully sooner rather than later.
This post was inspired by watching Stephen Colbert (pictured in what must have been a documentary here) talk with a Harvard professor last night. But, before I get into that, I also just found out that fellow Daily Show alum Steve Carell went to Denison, which is in the same conference as Wabash. Crazy times! He says he played hockey there, too, but I wasn't aware that Denison had a hockey team, so I'm still not entirely sure if that's true or a joke.
Anyway, back to Colbert. He was interviewing a professor from Harvard (which made him a smarty-pants, in Colbert's words) who teaches a class simply titled "Justice." Apparently you can find it on YouTube and he wrote a book about it, too. I haven't looked any of that up, but that's what I was informed last night. The guy (not unsurprisingly) sounded pretentious as hell talking about his class and the material, but I have to admit I think I would find it terribly interesting if I could get past the guy's personality. He said he mostly taught the class by asking questions and encouraging the students to debate. The example he used last night was Alex Rodriguez and the average schoolteacher. A-Rod gets paid $27,500,000 a year to play third base for the Yankees. The average schoolteacher, at least according to the guy last night, makes about $45,000 a year. As you can see, there's a bit of a difference on the zeros there. His question: Is that fair?
Colbert gave an answer that, while not exactly humorous per se, was still very funny in that it was extremely by the book, in character, and totally right.* He said A-Rod gets paid what the market would bear/demands, which is determined by the "invisible hand" we've all heard so much about. So, yes, it's completely fair. There was more to the discussion from there, but the answer really seemed to take the Harvard guy off-guard and left him a bit flat footed. And the thing is, he is right.
*At least in economic terms as I understand them. For reference, I got as far as Econ 101. And, of course, "right/correct," "moral," and "fair" are terms that don't necessarily have much to do with each other.
You might have guessed this won't have much to do about sports, but so it goes. And also keep in mind that this is coming from somebody who really wanted to be a teacher, then got burnt out on the whole academia thing, and then had that goal reignited when it was too late. At least, too late to make it happen during undergrad. I still haven't totally written off going back to grad school. In any case, I'm not the anti-ivory tower guy. I desperately would like to get back into that tower if I could. Back to the story.
We've all heard the arguments that teachers are some of the most important people in society. Where do we usually hear that argument? In school, where you are surrounded by teachers. Seems a little convenient, but we'll let that slide. Mostly because I do agree that teachers are very important. Are they particularly valuable, though? There are many things that are extremely important, but not necessarily valuable. Water, for instance, is very cheap.* But we wouldn't get very far without it. Same would go for basic foodstuffs, like bread. It seems to me that teachers are very much a commodity like that. Sure, there very good teachers and there are not so great teachers. And, just like different brands of bread, they are priced accordingly. But, there are quite a few people with the ability and willingness to teach and fill that role in our society. So, yeah, while important, they don't necessarily deserve huge salaries.**
*At least in the developed world. I'm not sure if that term is still in vogue or not, but I'm using it.
**Not that $45,000 is awful. I've read in multiple places the average household income in the US is $50,000.
A-Rod, on the other hand, is unique. For one, there are not as many positions for Major League Baseball players. There are 750 players to fill out the entire league.* There are quite a few more teaching positions in this country. There are also quite a few less people with the ability to fill these roles, although probably many more who are willing. Do they add as much to society as teachers? Probably not, but don't fall into the argument that it's meaningless. A society without its distractions isn't really a society at all. And baseball (along with sports in general) are a major civic distraction. Add to that A-Rod is at the top of his field (arguably the best player on the planet in his younger days), his profession generates more money than teachers, and plays for the team with the deepest pockets.
*725 in this country. Damn Blue Jays.
Is any of this news? No. We all have a sense of this. Whether we agree with it or not, as Colbert pointed out, this is what the market dictates, and we dictate the market. So, yes, it is fair, and I'm oh so very tired of hearing the argument from teachers that teachers are so vital to his world that they ought to be paid like ballplayers.
I don't really have much to write other than the Pirates win again. I believe, baby!
Other than that, I've got nothing. Here's a picture of Brian Wilson as a sea captain on George Lopez's show.
Jim Thome, born in Peoria, IL, is on the cusp of joining the 600 home run club. He's sitting at 596 right now. Thome might not be the player he used to be, but surely he's got four more big flies in him this year.
Before the steroid era (and presumably will be again down the road a bit), 500 home runs was the threshold of greatness. That was diluted quite a bit, though. 600, though, is still a definite bar to reach. Currently, there are seven people in the club*: Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Alex Rodriguez. And, obviously, soon to be Jim Thome.
*Presented here in chronological order.
Now, you might pick something up here. For a long time, Babe Ruth stood alone at 600. He reached the milestone in 1931. 38 years later, Willie Mays made the journey. Hank Aaron got there two years later. And these men are usually in the conversation of greatest player of all time (moreso Ruth and Mays, but Aaron would probably crack the top five or ten). Then, 31 years later, the fruits of steroids really started to ripen. Barry Bonds reached in 2002. Sosa in 2007. Griffey in 2008. A-Rod in 2010. And now Thome in 2011.
A-Rod is an admitted steroid user. Bonds and Sosa are almost certain to have used steroids. To the best of my knowledge, Thome and Griffey are considered to be clean. Griffey's body broke down in a natural way, so I definitely believe it. And I don't have any real evidence, but I do believe Thome is clean as well. Maybe it has to do with being the nicest guy in baseball. He's been voted as such by players in a Sports Illustrated poll, and I don't think any fans were surprised. But in my heart of hearts, I believe he's clean. Which probably also colors my view of who will get into the Hall of Fame.
Sosa I do not believe will make the Hall when all is said and done. His 600 are too tainted. I don't think many people believe he would have made it to 600 (or anywhere near it, really) without medical help. I have to think all the others will make it, though. There's a good argument that Bonds was an MVP before steroids came into the picture, and he may well have hit 600 without the help.* That said, he is the poster child (along with McGwire and Sosa) for the steroid era. The voters may surprise me. A-Rod is. . .well, interesting to me. On the one hand, he was (and is) a very good hitter, but I'm not sure if he would have gotten to 600 without help. He probably would have gotten to 500, though, which, absent steroids, would still be the line for HOF. He also was an elite gloveman, both at shortstop and at third when he went to the Yankees. He's an HOF'er in my mind, but we'll see. He doesn't seem particularly liked by the writers, though, who have his fate in their hands.
*Would he have hit 762, though? Probably not. Would he have hit 72 in a season? Probably not. Would he have hit at least 62? Maybe. Remember, Barry Bonds was no slouch before he left Pittsburgh.
Griffey, as I said before, had his body break down like you would expect it to, which leads me to believe he is clean. He was also a power hitter from the moment he slipped into a big league uniform at 20 years old. He had the stroke and he had the time to get to 600 on his own. If he hadn't spent almost his entire tenure in Cincinnati hurt, he might have ended up at 800 legit home runs. Thome hasn't had his body break down, but he also spent most of his career being a professional hitter, which doesn't take the same sort of toll on your body as, say, center field. He also clearly isn't the athlete he was when he was younger.
And to finish, here we are on July 19th, and the Pirates have just recaptured first place in the division. I'm on that bandwagon so hard it hurts.
See, when I don't listen to Mike and Mike, I have nothing to write about. It's a cruel cycle. In any case, they were talking about the Tampa Bay Rays. We've known for some time their attendance was awful, especially considering the kind of team they've put together. I was told by a high school classmate of mine who lives down there now they do get a lot of support in the community. You see all sorts of Rays bumper stickers, there's buzz around the town, et cetera.* But, it seems the television ratings don't bear that out.
*I don't know what possessed me to spell it out this time. The moment just struck me, I suppose.
I'll admit that I didn't really hear all that Mike & Mike* had to say on the matter. I would assume they were talking about this story or one closely related to it. What relates to us here is the first line. "The Tampa Bay Rays rank 29th in the majors in payroll and 28th in attendance, and their local TV ratings are down more than any team's this season." Again, the attendance woes are not new, and it is widely believed that a new ballpark would be a help in this situation. Tropicana Field is, nearly unanimously, the worst place in Major League Baseball to take in a game. There are several minor league stadiums that would beat it out. The low payroll doesn't seem to be of the same sort of concern, if recent results say anything. You can get away with a low payroll if you back the right players, which Tampa has done masterfully in the past few years.
*For the grammarians out there, I was referring to the people, not the title of the show, thus the lack of italics.
The TV thing is more troubling. Mike & Mike rightly pointed out (and I have espoused this verbally if I haven't written it here) that it really questions baseball's viability in Tampa Bay if people can't be bothered to watch the games. It's bad enough you can't fill your park when you've got a real contender playing there. But if you can't even be bothered to turn on the TV if you don't want to pay the ticket prices, that's a serious lack of support. It would be awfully hard for the city of St. Petersburg and the state of Florida to put any money behind building a new stadium when people are staying away from the Rays in droves. Why would they throw that kind of money at the team when there's a very concrete lack of interest?
This is where my problem starts. Why is there a lack of interest? I don't live around Tampa, so I don't know the sort of promotion the team does to try to capture the city's entertainment dollar or anything like that. Maybe people just have better things to do around Tampa than watch a baseball game. That's what we always hear about Miami, after all.* Somebody emailed in to put the blame on ESPN and their love of big market teams. Greenie (and Golic, though to a lesser degree) totally laughed off this suggestion. And frankly, that just doesn't feel fair. Here's my take on how being ignored on ESPN can serious impact local interest. It seems there ought to be much more serious contemplation than the laugh and sarcastic quips that Mike & Mike gave it.**
*Of course, that doesn't build a very compelling case to keep the team, either.
**It probably could use a lot more thought than the emailer put into his comment, too. But, even so, it seems like a serious case of Strawman Has A Point.
I like to think I know a little bit about rooting for small market teams. Indianapolis is not a huge market. The Colts get a lot of attention now because of Peyton Manning, but that will be gone as soon as he is. The Pacers are most definitely a small market team. College sports don't work the same way, but it sure seems like Purdue is a "small market brand" compared to a lot of the Big Ten, and BCS schools as a whole. Based on that, I'm going to speak from my experience, but there's going to be some theoretical viewpoints thrown in as well. I don't think I count as a "casual sports fan." The existence of this blog probably proves that better than anything. When we start talking about markets and viewership, you're courting many more casual fans than hardcore ones.
The Pacers used to be easy to find on ESPN and national games. They had a legit star in Reggie Miller (and later Jermaine O'Neal before the injuries hit), they were divisive (generally because of Reggie Miller), and most importantly, they won. They were a title contender for about fifteen years, which is a very good run. It looked like they were going to finally break through, too, in the mid-2000's. Then the brawl happened. The talent went away. The cameras went away. Since then, it has been hard if not impossible to find the Pacers on a national game. I would go to games or watch a game (on Fox Sports Indiana) and then flip over to Sportscenter to see what moments ESPN thought were highlights, and oftentimes the game wouldn't even merit a mention. The Pacers were a franchise non grata. Even in the playoff run this past year, the viewpoint was split about 90-10 towards Bulls to Pacers outlook. And the Pacers typically got a pat on the head for "good effort, boys," and then on to what Chicago needed to do to keep driving towards the Finals. It drove me nuts.
For this particular example, the Rays (est. 1998) are not nearly so entrenched in their community as the Pacers (est. 1967). The Pacers had a pedigree of winning all through the ABA years and for a good stretch in the NBA. The Rays went a full decade before really starting to get their foot in the door. Now, if you were trying to build a brand, how is the newly interested viewer going to find about the product? Usually by coming across it in a larger publication. In this case, that larger publication is ESPN. They are the "Worldwide Leader in Sports," which is at least somewhat fair. They are, at the least, the Nationwide Leader in Sports. For years, if you consumed your sports primarily through ESPN, you could be forgiven if you forgot the Pacers or Rays existed. If you are digging and watching the local broadcasts, chances are you are already a fan. If you want to get new people interested, you are going to have to catch them on the larger scale first. Capture their attention on ESPN and get them curious, and then they'll find the local broadcast. While I would love that to mean the Rays, Pirates, Brewers, Reds, and teams of that ilk on Sunday Night Baseball on a consistent basis, the more realistic view is some expanded time on Baseball Tonight or Sportscenter.
Without that attention, there are no new viewers. It is also hard to keep your attention or be convinced that you should care without sustained focus from the national media. Otherwise, you might as well be following your local college or minor league team.* I can tell you first hand how frustrating that is, and I don't think it's a stretch to think that if somebody who lives and breathes (but unfortunately does not get paid for) sports gets fed up with it, the average sports fan isn't going to invest any time into it. And why would they?
*Now, again, I'm not the average sports fan, because I follow the Indy Indians pretty closely, as well as the Danville Dans. And my alma mater is a Division III school, so, yeah, that doesn't really come up in national media. And Wabash gets more mention than your average D3 school thanks to the Monon Bell Game.
I understand ESPN is a business, and as a business, their responsibility is not to develop brands and promote teams for the health of leagues. Their responsibility is to the stockholders and their bottom line, which says make as much money as you can. That means bringing in the big market teams that already have huge established fan bases and easy, already known story lines and familiar faces. That brings in more viewers, which means you can charge more for your advertising, which is where you make your money in TV. That's the simple, easy way to do it. Why waste time, effort, and (most importantly) money trying to get the nation to care about the Rays? ESPN doesn't serve Tampa Bay, it serves the nation. So, I understand where ESPN is coming from. And as primarily a New York fan, Greenie of course doesn't have to worry about his teams getting shafted on ESPN. There are a lot of eyes in New York. But to laugh off that ESPN's broadcasting choices have nothing to do with local viewership is absurd and quite possibly dangerous to the health of sports in general in the long run.
I was going to write about Jim Thome and his run to 600 home runs, but I had to get this off my chest first. Next time, Thome. I promise.
See that man over on the right? That's John Axford. He's the closer for the Brewers, and most people probably have no clue who he is. Or, at least, they didn't until the Brewers pushed what few chips they had back to the middle of the table and acquired Francisco Rodriguez.
I found Axford last year, when he finally supplanted a clearly-past-his-prime Trevor Hoffman. And, to be honest, the only real reason I remembered him was because of his mustache (which was closer to this at the time) and because he is Canadian. He's from Simcoe, ON, which I gather is about the size of Crawfordsville, IN. Which, if you happen to be one of the few people who read this that aren't connected to me, is about 15,000 people. It also helped that his debut was against the Cubs.
Axford has done a fine job this year. He's 23 for 25 in save chances, has only given up 15 runs in 41 innings (13 earned), and has generally just been solid. K-Rod blew up for the Angels during their run to the World Championship, but has floundered a bit since arriving in New York. A look at the whirlwind he found himself at the end of last year is a good indication of that. Still, the guy can definitely throw when he's right, and by all indications I can tell, he's right. He's also got 23 saves this year (not sure how many opportunities), and only given up 15 runs (all earned) in 42 innings.
Ron Roenicke, who is the Brewers' manager (in case you weren't keeping up, nobody would blame you), says he is going to use them as "co-closers," though I don't think anybody believes him. All stories I've read seem to indicate that Axford will be the closer with K-Rod as a set up man. K-Rod might come in and save some games when Axford needs a break, though. This NBC story seems to sum it all up. That statement feels like a political "Let's make the new guy feel good" thing more than anything.
The big picture, though, seems to be the Brewers are a really serious contender. We all know they can really mash the ball. That hasn't changed. They have very good starting pitching this year, which is a change from last year.* They have a solid closer now. That just leaves a shaky middle relief, which to be honest, I don't know if it's been that shaky or not. But adding K-Rod can only help. Oh, and have I mentioned the Brewers are already tied for first in the division?
*Actually, the starting pitching hasn't been quite as good as expected, especially with Zack Greinke. Which means there's a very good chance that is only going to get better in the second half. Oh, and did you hear about the "already in first place" thing?
If my predictions were any indication, I was already on the Brewers bandwagon this year. I was in the Reds camp, too, but that seems to have fizzled out this year. I would rather see the Pirates win the thing, true, I would be fine with the Brewers. Maybe a deep run would be enough to keep Prince Fielder around. I don't know who owns the Brewers, but I would hope they would do everything possible to keep him in town. He seems to be everything that is right with Milwaukee baseball, along with Ryan Braun. Milwaukee has been waiting a long time for a World Series championship. This really might be the team who can get that done.
Now, that is what I like to see. The National League pretty well dominated last night, winning 5-1. The long AL run came from an Adrian Gonzalez home run. There was a bit of a threat in the bottom of the ninth when the NL turned into a Little League team for a play,* but then Brian Wilson and his magnificent beard put a stop to that.
*I really wanted to link to a video of that play, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Damn you, MLB Digital Video services!
Prince Fielder also hit one heck of a shot to a deep, deep part of Chase Field. I knew he hit awfully hard, but that part of the field is one where fly balls go to die. I was pretty thrilled to watch it bounce over after hitting the fence.
There's not a whole lot else to write about it. The NL played aggressive, sending runners and coming up with timely hits. The AL seemed to be switching pitchers way too often and just got nothing going on offense. I just hope this leads to a long stretch of NL wins. That seems to be the trend. The NL dominated the game through the 80's and early 90's, then the AL had a stretch through the late 90's and 2000's.*
*That works better in writing. I don't think we'll ever figure out how to really refer to that decade.
Now it's on to the second half of the season. The Cubs are already out of it, but the Pirates are still only sitting one back. Here's to hoping!
This man is your 2011 Home Run Derby Champion. Robinson Cano has a lot more pop than I realized. He also has an MLB dad that I didn't realize, either. In any case, my comments about "not sure if he's that kind of hitter" can definitely be changed to "Robby Cano is any kind of hitter he damn well pleases to be." He put on a heck of a show last night. Adrian Gonzalez was also pretty good. What was great to watch was two effortless swings launching the ball into the nether. It was great.
The softball game afterwards was not up to snuff, though. The choices of Erin Andrews and James Denton doing the managing was just awful. They did an awful job of introducing the celebrities. I still couldn't tell you who most of them were, because ESPN didn't bother to tell me. I understand this isn't exactly a marquee franchise for ESPN, or even the All-Star Weekend, but if you're going to do it, don't make it quite so obvious that you're half-assing it. The best times were Kenny Mayne and Harold Reynolds. I understand HR isn't coming back, but Kenny Mayne I think is still employed by ESPN. Let's get him back. Even Mike & Mike were better than last night.
Or maybe it's time to go a new direction. Would anybody be opposed to watching an old-timers game after the home run derby? Or the day before, if you're watching it live. That seems like a much better use of everybody's time. I mean, really, do we tune in to see some washed up actor or Disney star play? Not really. It can be a nice surprise when it turns out they can play, but I wouldn't really miss them if they weren't there. I like the crossover athletes a little better, but again, I wouldn't really miss them. Give me a couple teams of full of Ozzie Smith, Rollie Fingers, Luis Gonzalez, etc. I would watch that. I would rather see them play an old-timers baseball game, but if softball suits them better, I would be fine with that. Surely they can find 20 former players who would love to play for a big crowd once a year and have some fun. Obviously, though, neither ESPN or the main sponsor, Taco Bell, asked my opinion. Maybe they should start.
And so Jeter is welcomed into the 3,000 hit club. He got there with a home run, his second hit in a five-for-five day, caught by a fan who understood the right thing to do and gave the ball back with no expectations of anything in return. The Yankees took care of him, of course, but it just adds to the legend that is Derek Jeter. I'm sure someday down the line, his myth will grow. He will be talked of to my grandchildren and their children in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, etc. And he may have had a more blessed career than any of them. I would be willing to say there is no athlete who has ever had a more blessed career. He would be up there in the list of most blessed lives, regardless of profession. And he has handled all with such grace. I'm no Yankee fan, and I've not always been the highest on Jeter, but I think we have all been Jeter fans this past week. Congratulations, Captain.
I was moving and traveling this weekend, so I didn't see much of anything for myself. The good news is it's all pretty much done, so there should be an uptick in my baseball viewing. Hopefully I can make some Dans games again, too, now. But, before I can do that, there's the Home Run Derby, Celebrity/Legends Softball Game, and the All-Star Game, all of which I'm very excited about.
The softball game is kind of like the hot dog eating contest. There are quite a few people who don't really care for it, but it is so interesting to me, it's crazy. It really is appointment viewing in my book. The coaches aren't always the funniest (I'm looking at you, Mike & Mike), but it is so cool to see the legends strap it on one more time,* and I always like finding out what celebrities can actually play. I remember Nelly was great in St. Louis. There are others, but he was the one that really stuck out, hitting a homer and making a couple great catches in the outfield. Not sure what local celebs we'll see in Arizona, but excited to find out. I do wish they would skip the models. Sure, they're pretty, but nobody is all that sexy when they're playing softball, and they uniformly can't play a lick. If we want to see boobs, well, we have the internet for much better versions.
*I'm really hoping for a Mark Grace sighting, though I understand he will probably be wearing D-Backs gear for this. It would be great if he wore the purple and teal set, though.
I suppose I should go on record for a home run derby prediction. Just to set the scene, so to speak, the AL participants are David Ortiz (as captain, and has won this thing a few times), Jose Bautista (the hottest homer hitter going today), Robinson Cano (a great hitter, but I'm not sure he's that kind of power hitter), and Adrian Gonzalez (very solid all around, he should be playing in San Diego, though). On the NL side, we have Prince Fielder (have you seen him? Yeah, he's a contender), Rickie Weeks (I hear he'll surprise everybody, but it's a shame Braun is beat up), Matt Kemp (who has torn it up this year), and Matt Holliday (also a very solid choice, but I think we'd all rather see Pujols if he were 100%). This should be an awfully good year top to bottom, I could see anybody winning it (though Weeks and Cano would admittedly be longshots). In the end though, I'm going to pick Prince Fielder. He's definitely built to be a power hitter, his everyday swing is derby-ready, and I think he's strong enough not to wear down. I wouldn't be surprised to see the two captains in the finals, which could be an absolute hoot. Wouldn't you pay money to see Prince Fielder and David Ortiz hit homers against each other all night? I would. Thankfully, I don't really have to. I'll be taking it all in from my brother's place.
We'll see you tomorrow when we break down the All Star Game and pretend that i