My it has been a while since my last post. Happy thanksgiving to those here in America.. and Merry Christmas to all those in Canada (a place where football is already over for the year, as BC
has defeated Montreal
at a downright freezing stadium in Winnipeg
in the 94th Grey Cup
). The frost WAS on the pumpkin last week, but this week its sunny and 60 degrees - thank you very much Henry Ford. Even though I'm a vegetarian, I still have fond memories of family gatherings at thanksgiving. When I was going to college in Ohio, after finals (we were on the wonderful quarter system) I'd catch the bus or hop a ride with a fraternity brother north to Cleveland. At least once I beat my folks, who were driving from Chicago, to my Grandma and Aunt's apratment in Berea. Exhausted, I'd crash. After the meal, and the drive home on I-90, I'd spend the next month working on the trucks at UPS...
But it was 10 years ago this fall/winter that I was wandering through Europe and North Africa, and have great memories of the Thanksgiving I spent on a ferry in the Adratic Sea, returning to southern Italy from Greece. Actually, American Thanksgiving just happened to fall right in the middle of a 'plans, trains, and automobiles' like trek I was making from Crete to the Alps. Broke and unable to afford airfare, it took me 3 days of non stop travel - walking to the ferry in Reythemon, the 12-hour ferry ride to Pireaus, the subway during morning rush hour to Athens, the walk to the train station, the train to Petras, the aforementioned horrific 24-hour Thanksgiving ferry ride in rough seas to Brindisi, where I shared a pizza dinner with other Western backpackers (then an all night train journey to Asti).
Since I last posted, the St Louis Cardinals
became surprise victors in the World Series, beating the heavily favored Detroit Tigers
. I was rooting for the Tigers, but not at all surprised St Louis won - back at the beginning of the year I did pick them as National League Champions (though I had them losing to the Yankess
in the Series).State of the Sox
Baseball news on the Southside. There was some problem down in Venezuela, where about 6 Sox
players had gone to play Winter ball on Ozzie's old team - the La Guaira Sharks
. The trouble began after coach Razor Shines was dismissed. Brian Anderson caught some nasty bug and lost a lot of weight, and Boone Logan returned with a sore arm, That said, Josh Fields got some time in left field, as the Sox
maybe aim to convert him from a thridbaseman, as Joe Crede stands in his way of moving up from Charlotte
By now you've also heard the Sox
traded lefty set-up man Neal Cotts to northside Cubs
for two ptichers. One of them - David Ardsma- looks decent, a project for Coop, just like Thornton was... The Cubs
also signed one of the most sought after free agents in Alfonso Soriano, to some crazy ass 8-year, $136 skazillion dollar deal. These long term ,big money deal almost never work out well for teams (they work out great for the players), and the Cub
will be paying Soriano about $17 million a year as he approaches age 40. Dumb fucking move. And just when you thought they couldn't get any stoopider, they re-sign the perpetually injuried Kerry Wood, a guy who is finished - FINISHED - in the bigs.
As bad as that is, the idiotic Boston Red Sox
paid $51 million just for the right to sign Japanese phenom pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.. Keep in mind IF they sign him, it will cost them an additional $50million or so...
Probably the most exicitng POSITIVE news to come out of baseball is the new stadium
being built in Fremont, California for the Oakland A's
. take a look here
at this park - maybe the most beauitiful, well-done of all the new stadiums built in the frenzy since Camden Yards went up in 1992. But like everything in crazy cali, nothing is easy. Even though the land is being traded to the team for naming rights - at a cost of $0 to the taxpayers - the people of the Bay Area are not happy. Just a read of few A's blogs out there - Like this one
, this one
and this one
- reveals that the fans and citizens seem more concerned with adjacent wetlands - wetlands that, I should note, are protected and have already been preserved - than the benefits this stadium will bring to the community. They're worried about traffic (even though the stadium will be served by the subway) and the proximity of a fire department (why?). If this were being built on the southside of Chicago, you'd hear none of that - it would be all positive praise.... Still I'm getting an A's cap for Xmas from my cousin - a southside transplant - who resides out there, and am now swearing that the A's
are just maybe my 2nd favorite team in the American League (sorry Detroit
, and Baltimore
Last week, reclusive stat guru Bill James
joined my ol pal Mike Murphy
on The Score
(670 AM in chicago) to talk stats. It was a great interview. I just ordered the new 2007 Handbook,
as well as Baseball Between The Numbers...
I'm always skeptical of such stats, but want to review and examine them on my own. There's got to be something to them...
My good college radio buddy - Doc Scott- has a great new address for his Cincinnati Reds
blog - Red and Blues,
so I recommend you take a gander at it.
Jerry Cohen and the fine folks at Ebbets Field Flannels
have some impressive new items out for winter. Whist seaching around the web, I also came across two other decent retro baseball apparel sites - Distant Replays,
which has a great selection and some sales, and Throwback Max
, which has a ton of moderately priced merchandise. Add these to the list along with Stall and Dean
and you've got plently of places to get that cool gift for the baseball nerd in your life. All of these much better than the overpriced Moonlight Graham
How bout that Ohio State
game last weekend? Could it have been any more dramatic? Memorable, truly. The other big college football game in Ohio last week was down the road from Columus in Athens, where my beloved Bobcats
defeated the Akron Zips
17-7 and won their first ever MAC East Division title. At 8-3, Ohio U
now gets to meet Central Michigan
in MAC championship game
at Ford Field in Detroit. Likely, OU
will wind up in Alabama at the GMAC Bowl,
while Central stays in Detroit for the Motor City Bowl
. Whatever. With 3 games left in their season, OU
has already won more game this year than in all 4 years COMBINED during my college days (7 wins - 1987 to 1991, 4 of which came in 1988). This will be only the 3rd bowl appearance in OU'
s history, and the first in nearly 40 years- the last being at 49-42 loss to Richmond - yes, the Richmond Spiders
- in the 1968 Tangerine Bowl,
(the first being a 15-14 loss to West Texas State
in the 1962 Sun Bowl
). Stranger still, OU
is about to break into the Top 30 in the polls. Great, but inaccurate, as there are plently of teams ranked below OU
that are better (UCLA
and Penn St
- to name two) and one that's already kicked Bobcat
ass this year (Mizzou
, at #40, beat OU 31-6 back on Sept 23rd). Still ,its nice...
Oh, and the Chicago Bears
are not just 9-1, they are the best team in the NFC by a full 3 games, and clinch a playoff spot with a win this weekend at New England.
I've been reading a lot. After reading a glowing review, I blew thru a great love story called The Translation of Dr Apelles
. It was deep, emotional and very worthwhile. I think its only a matter of time before Oprah picks up on this one. I've also started in on Ernie Pyle's Brave Men
- his first hand account of World War II.
I saw Borat
the night it came out, having never seen Da Ali G Show
, so I went into this blind and thought was OK - some great laughs, and some, not so much....
My days are filled with the downtempo and chill tunes of www.live365.com
. Traditional radio is so dead- and Live365 is an example of why... Among the great tunes I've discovered on one of the stations (either 'After Hours Cafe'
or 'Loungemaster London'
) is Kool and the Gang's wonderful instrumental 'Summer Madness'
- sounds like it could've been recorded yesterday, not 30 years ago. Now, I hear it being sampled all over the place, and its in the new LeBron James shoe commercial as well.
The MILF and I have had a couple of nice, memorable sessions. And when I saw this
, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.