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May 2007 Archives

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May 31

Drove down to Marymount for the National Academic Championship. Chip got me dinner because the dining hall of closed. We'll be running matches into the evening. Saturday night, they'll be auditioning high school seniors as possible moderators next year.

Nationals 11, Dodgers 4. Nats bats broke through against former NBA player Mark Hendrickson. In the explosive 8th inning, Zimmerman drove in his fourth run of the night and Church hit his sixth homer against Jonathan Broxton and Rudy Seanez respectively.

May 30

The Value of the Stolen Base: A Comparison of MLB and NCAA Division I Baseball. The conclusions reached are that the value of a stolen base is higher in Division I college than in the majors and the cost of a caught stealing is also less.

If you've only watched the majors, the fielding incompetence at the college level is pretty shocking. That would explain the higher value of the stolen base. You really can cause havoc with the pitcher, the catcher in the fielders. At the major league level, the best baseball players in the world are not going to be intimidated by a base stealer.

With the increased offense of the aluminum bat and generally wild pitchers, it's much easier to get back on base. So getting caught on the basepaths is less of a setback.

Lowe, Dodgers keep Nats off board for second straight game. Shutout for a second game in a row. Bacsik didn't pitch bad, only two of his four runs allowed were earned. He also started a double play. On the other hand, Guzman's botched fielding play was the source of the unearned runs.

May 29

Joe Sheehan thinks Bud Selig may have a "Colonel Jessup" problem with steroids. I don't think the analogy holds because Jessup actively ordered the Code Red on Santiago. Bud Lite merely took possibly malignant inaction.

It didn't take long for the Primates to come up with the appropriate rant:

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be assaulted by men with bats. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Mr. Sheehan? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Murphy, and you curse the PEDs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the flagrant record breaking, while tragic, probably saved this league. And those steroids, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saved this league. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want those steroids in the league, you need those steroids in the league. We use words like ratings, caps, revenues. We use these words as the backbone of a game spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the spreadsheet of the entertainment product that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a baseball bat, and try hitting home runs yourself. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Dodgers 10, Nationals 0. Went to the game with Cameron Jolley. This was the first time the Nats looked like a hopeless team that wasn't trying at all. Sister Cristian did a good impression of Jose Vidro, barely moving after grounders. n.000K didn't run to first after a dropped third strike. I wonder why Manny didn't bench him for that.

May 28

After we drove home from Balticon, we watched the CSI episode "Lab Rats". Hodges calls in Archie, Henry and Mandy, but not Wendy to take a fresh look at the miniatures case. Hodges manages to make a connection between all four murders - bleach, perhaps the killer is a janitor who has a vendetta against a bleach company. I still think that the chicken plant killing of Ernie Dell's co-worker is odd case out. I believe the other three were committed by the same person and Dell committed the chicken plant murder to draw attention away from his former foster child who actually did it.

In the other cases, Grissom has a floater in Lake Mead and a rat escapes from the victim's stomach during the autopsy. This floater turned out to be a heroin mule. The other cases are just talked about. Nick has to investigate a murder at a show involving erotic athletes. Greg has a mob murder where vomit may be important evidence. Catherine has a clown murder.

May 27

I spent most of the day recovering from yesterday. We had a late dinner at Jesse Wong's Kitchen.

I followed the Nats game on EPSNews. It seemd 2-1 Nats for a long time until BOOM!, it was 7-2 Nats. That was when the Langerhans grand slam kicked in.

May 26

My first panel of the day was on SF and sports with Walter Hunt, Den Wilson and Mel Tatum. It was entertaining in that everytime a panelist made a generalization, another panelists would provide a totally opposing argument.

The next panel was on whether hard SF is the core of the genre with David Hartwell, Matt Jarpe, Tom Kratman and Ray Ridenour. What I wish I had said is that hard SF is like the classics of literature. Everyone acknowledges their importance, but not many people actually read it. The market is dominated by fantasy.

The last panel was on humor. The pocket program had the wrong room. Former Knossos member, but still the gatekeeper of the Knossos Yahoo! Board Mike Penick asked me,"Do you know where your panel is?" On top of that, medieval dancing was the preceding program. So the audience had to pull down chairs from the walls and arrange them in rows all by themselves.

The SF trivia contest was won by Wendell Wagner and world-famous media fan Martin Morse Wooster. There was a projector for a laptop in the room so next year I must find a way to connect the two. I would like to be able to show the scoreboard and some visual questions to the whole room.

Afterwards, Martin and Wendell came to our room to share Miranda's very late dinner pizza.

We kept watching for updates on the Nats game which seemed to have the Cardinals ahead 8-6 in the 9th during a rain delay for a long time.

Mike VentosMay 25

Today is the birthday of Mike Vento. He played rightfield last year from May 27-June 9. Vento's .391 OBP when he started was not enough to keep him in the lineup. He is currently with Toronto's AAA team in Syracuse.

Drop up to Balticon. The schedule states I was on a bureaucracy panel tonight, but the committee didn't bother to tell me so I didn't go. I apologize to the non-existent people who expected to see me.

Nats take down Cardinals to win fourth straight. Listened to the game on the way up to Balticon. Charlie was very excited about the catch and double play by Austin Kearns and it looked pretty good on SportsCenter as well.

May 24

Young's bat helps Nats claim four-game series over Reds. The play of the game took place in the bottom of the 8th with runners on first and second and nobody out. Freel lined out to FLop who tried to backhand the ball to Sister Cristian to double off David Ross. The ball got away and Jeri Lynn chased it down. Seeing no one on third, Ross ran there, but Visual Bacsik notices there was no one there and got to the bag in time to tag him out.

The importance of the play was magnified when Alex Gonzalez followed with a homer that merely brought the Reds within one, rather than tying the game. Cordero required only three batters to close out the ninth bat that meant a walk and a GIDP.

May 23

Nationals 12, Reds 7. This was the second blowout of the year, after the Marlins shutout. Church had ten total bases and 6 RBI.

May 22

Watched the Numb3rs episode "The Art of Reckoning". Former hitman Pony Fueñes will be executed in a few days and will confess to more murders in exchange for seeing his daughter outside the prison walls. He tells the FBI where to find the body of Chinese gangster Bunny Wong.

But what Assistant U.S. States Attorney Alvin Brickle really wants is the body of of the son of Congressman Randall Amato. The five-year-old boy was kidnapped by mobster Philip Borelli, but the body was never found. Pony relates a story of telling the boy to look at the moon, then snapping his neck and burying him in a hillside. When the FBI dig at the location, they instead find the body of Lorenzo Marcellus, who Borelli killed to reach his leadership position.

Pony continues to stand by his story, passing a polygraph test and even an MRI. Charlie notes that on the night he claims killed the boy, there was no moon and it was a rainy night in Los Angeles. Pony breaks down this myth he has created for himself. He finally remembers that he couldn't kill a child and Borelli shot him. The boy's body was stuffed in a drainpipe.

While Sinclair and Brickle go to visit Pony's ex-wife, they are chased down by two of Borelli's goons. A chase takes place in an orchard where Sinclair gets shot and Brickle can barely fire David's gun. They eventually fashion a ruse where the two mobsters are lured to Brickle, nervously trying to dress Sinclair's wound. David then appears from cover to kill one hitman and disarm the other.

Larry returns from space in this episode, feeling anti-social and not liking walls very much.

Nats' Lopez grand, steals spotlight from Junior's 573rd homer. Mike Stanton allowed the Nats to tie with a double to FLop and a single to Sister Cristian. The dirtiest name in baseball, Jon Coutlangus allowed the granny to FLop. In a non-save situation and a four-run cushion, Cordero allowed two single before closing the door.

May 21

Reds overcome six-run deficit to down NL-worst Nats. The Nats went out to 6-0 lead in the second. In the 8th a ball got between n.000K and Kearns. Maybe Logan was avoiding the Nick Johnson syndrome. Rauch allowed three runs in the 8th including a homer to Valentin.

Nasty Nats notes that the Washington broadcast this weekend labeled the teams as "O's" and "Nats". My usual explanation is that Peter Angelos is too embarassed to admit his team comes from Baltimore.

Austin KearnsMay 20

Today is the birthday of Austin Kearns. His competition for greatest baseball player born in Lexington are John Shelby and Travis Fryman.

Before the game I went to see misschatter tailgating in a limo in the parking lot. Misterchatter was there as well as Yurasko and his wife Erica. Just outside RFK, a small studio was set up for Johnny, Ray and Debbie to present the pre-game show.

Saw the game with Adam Fine. In the third inning, Brian Roberts sent a foul ball into our section, rolling up the stairs, then bouncing back about halfway down.

The Nats offense looked pretty pathetic, but it seemed Perlozzo gave the game away first by bringing the infield in the third and putting Baez in the game in the eighth. Did he seriously believe that Bowie was going to make runs so scarce, the BrownO's needed to cut off a run at the plate so early? It just made it that much easier for FLop to slap a single through the drawn-in infield.

Bradford was brought in to start the eighth. He got Sister Cristian on a groundout but a allowed a double to Jeri Lynn. With Langerhans coming up, I thought Perlozzo would be calling for a lefthander. But no, he brought in Baez, another righthander, and the rest is history.

Teddy lost the race today by proposing to NatPack girl. Church got hit in the hand. The last thing the Nats need is their best hitter down.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Stand Up and Holler". In 1997, cheerleader Rainey Karlsen is found dead on the 50-yard-line from an apparent overdose of GHB and beer, a drawing of an atom on her knee. In 2007, at an exhibit similar to PostSecret, Rainey's mother Elizabeth sees the same drawing above the message "I Killed Rainey Karlsen".

Casey, a former Goth kid, expelled for drug possession, admits to the drawing and sending Rainey over the edge. He convinved her to quit the cheerleading squad as she misses a pep rally. When Rainey announces her decision to quit, head cheerleader Becca orders the rest of the squad to hold her down and pour GHB-laced beer down her throat. They leave her alone with her best friend Celeste. Instead of calling 911, Celeste tells Rainey she's already called the ambulance and lets her die.

May 19

Watched the CSI: Miami episode "Death Eminent". Councilman Chad Bridges has been stabbed in an empty house on Cobalt Drive. Whitlock notes that Alexx is in a very fashionable suit, while I notice no one has reported the disappearance of Councilman Bridges for four days.

The houses are being seized via eminent domain in order to put up a waterfront hotel complex. Eminent domain is almost never used to eject rich people from their homes - only poor people. Rich people can hire lawyers and their homes are too expensive.

One of residents was actually hired by the developer to vandalize cars on the block to depress housing prices. In a rich community, this is the sort of thing that mobilizes otherwise apathetic residents to action. Once the neighborhood watch got going, he'd pretty easily be caught.

Julia Wells, one of the wives on the street, attempted to seduce Councilman Bridges into voting against condemning the neighborhood. She got cold feet, but her son Austin saw her leaving the house buttoning up her blouse anyway. He killed the councilman.

In a semi-related plot, petty thief Gary Logan, another of the neighbors, has dug up something big in his yard. How does a petty thief live in such a ritzy neighborhood? The hearings on eminent domain are being presided over by Judge Joe Ratner who has a personal vendetta against Horatio.

Logan had the body of Marta Argenta, a girl who'd gone missing several years before. It turns out Marta was Judge Ratner's biological daughter. Ratner hired Logan to kill her, but kept the body as insurance. The Judge is arrested and condemnation of Cobalt Drive is stopped.

Went on to the Criminal Minds episode "Legacy". In Kansas City, Kansas, someone is taking the homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes off the streets and killing them in horrible ways. Detective Cal McGee comes to Quantico to ask for their help because his own supervisors won't take him seriously that there's a problem.

All McGee knows is that too many people are disappearing for no reason. Hotchner and Jareau fly to Kansas City to convince Captain Wright that he might need their help. J.J. finds a letter sent to McGee from the unsub postmarked from Kansas City, Missouri, making this a federal case.

The BAU walk the streets, talking to those living there, looking for someone who fits their profile. Morgan notices a Human Services and Captain Wright says Human Services usually waits for people to come to them. They don't drive around looking for potential cases.

They arrest the driver, Steven Foster, not the unsub himself, but a toadie who procures the victims. In interrogation, Hotchner convinces him that he knows how much more brutal he can be to Steven for betraying him. The unsub is Charles Holcombe, heir to a former meat packing fortune. He tortures his victims in an abandoned plant.

Holcombe is shot as he is about to kill his latest victim, Maggie, a single mother and prostitute. The rest of the episode, like Open Season involves this pretty blonde trying to escape a sadistic killer.

Payton's double wins it for Orioles in 11 innings. The Nats opened the scoring with n.000K driving home Church. Rauch couldn't hold the lead in the eighth and the Orioles took the lead in the 12th on a Jay Payton double. Batista drove in Kearns in the bottom of the 12th to keep it close.

Mike Bacsik went six scoreless innings. I wonder if Martin Lindhe pronounces his ambient music project the same way.

May 18

Watched the Doctor Who episode "New Earth". Doctor Who played by David Tennant takes Rose to New Earth, a duplicate of Earth created in the M87 galaxy five billions years in the future. The stop in at a hospital where a complex disinfectant system in the elevator employs a liquid shower and blow dryer.

The Doctor and Rose are separated and she ends up in the basement where the Lady Cassandra is hiding out with a forced-growth clone named Chip. He wears a cap that makes him look a little like Stanley Tweedle. Cassandra survived her apparent death from lack of moisture as her eyeballs, brain, and back part of her skin were recovered. She uses a psychograft to take over Rose's brain.

The hospital is run by the Sisters of Plenitude, who are humanoids with cat-like faces. They do an amazing job of cures and their secret is a huge farm of hundreds of artificial humans in pods, each infected with a thousand diseases. Cassandra, in Rose's body demands a large sum of money in exchange for silence about this operation. When the Matron refuses, Cassandra releases the diseased human guinea pigs into the rest of the hospital.

When someone touches these zombies, they die almost instantly from a thousand diseases at once. The Doctor's clever plan involves grabbing a bunch of intravenous bags and dumping them into the elevator disinfectant reservoir. He lures the plague carriers into the elevator and they are instantly cured by the disinfectant shower. Any of their brethren they touch are also cured.

Cassandra is finally willing to die and, while Chip's body is failing, he wants her to enter him. The Doctor and Rose take him back to when Cassandra was alive in her natural human body. Chip tells her she is so beautiful and dies in her arms.

While going through the Hall of Fame potential of current American Leaguers, Joe Posnanski has some thought on steroids:

Obviously steroid stain is a big factor when it comes to 500-homer guys -- that used to be an automatic Hall of Fame entry-point. Only Mark McGwire is not in with 500-plus homers. Well, I've been thinking a lot about this lately. And I'm slowly coming around on the idea that Mac will get into the Hall someday.

Look: There was/is such an emotional feeling about steroids now. For some reason (and people have been trying -- I think without great success -- to explain why), steroid use in baseball touches something deep and angry inside some people. There is no real consistency to those feelings, though. Much of this has been pointed out, but it's worth going over again: It seems clear that we don't get nearly as worked up about steroid use in pro football, even though it's pretty obvious that steroids are much more prevalent in pro football. We don't get nearly as worked up about scuffed baseballs, corked bats, stolen signs, Greenies, spitballs or any other form of baseball cheating. We don't even get as worked up about PITCHERS using steroids ... but I think it's even odder than that. I don't think people get worked up about light hitters (let's say, good defensive middle infielders who can't hit) who used PEDs to strengthen up just so they can have Major League careers.

No, pretty much all of our ire is directed toward the roided-up home run hitters.

In other words, our thoughts about steroids are pretty illogical (I'm speaking generally here -- many people are equally opposed to steroid use in all cases). I know my own feelings about it are illogical. There's a hysteria surrounding PEDs right now.

Well, over a number of years hysteria dampens, anger subsides, and everyone looks back with clearer head. More and more I think that when that happens, the steroid suspects will be elected to the Hall of Fame. Sure, some people will disagree with it -- some will violently disagree, in fact, and talk about it being the end of morality in baseball (as if there ever WAS morality in baseball) -- but I think the majority will simply see that the people running baseball did not adjust quickly enough to new technology, many players took advantage, the game had an offensive spike (that most people happily enjoyed) and then corrections were made.

I don't know that this will happen, of course, it's just my prediction. I definitely could be wrong. Hall of Fame voters may be angry about steroids forever.

People have been angry about the DH forever.

Staying in Kansas City, Calvin Pickering is an independent league phenom. Once Calvin Pickering was the destined to be the Orioles version of Mo Vaughn/Sam Horn/Cecil Fielder/Dmitri Young. Will we see Tony Blanco tearing up Waldorf in 2012?

The Humbug Journal has a list of Scrabble-acceptable baseball names. The highest scoring name on the Nats is CHURCH at 16 points. I also learned that SNELLING is an Anglo-Saxon word for meeting-place.

In light of the Geico caveman making sitcom status, Ken Levine adds this:

Can the "Can you hear me?" guy be next to get his own show? "On a very special episode, the Can you hear me guy walks through the Arlington National Cemetery."

Orioles hold off Nationals' push to snap five-game losing streak. For the first night of the Battle of Beltways 2007, Simontacchi got a quality start. The Nats got their runs off homers by Jeri Lynn and Da Meat Hook. Unfortunately, Bill Traber allowed the inherited runners left Saul Rivera to score.

May 17

After Falwell's death, there's a story going around that the Yankees wanted to sign him, which results in some alternate-history thinking:

Assuming this is true, that would place a Yankees offer to Falwell in 1951 or 1952. I don't think I have to tell you what the implications for history would have been if Falwell had decided to answer the Yankees' call rather than Jesus's. That's right:

Johnny Blanchard never makes the team, Bob Purkey fans Falwell in the 8th inning of game three of the 1961 World Series, and the Reds use the momentum to stage a stunning come-from-behind 7-game victory. Having won the World Series recently, Bill DeWitt feels less pressure to trade Frank Robinson before the 1966 season, and he remains a Red. Having Robinson in the fold puts the Reds over the hump in 1969. There are no Miracle Mets, Sparky Anderson isn't hired before the 1970 season, and the Big Red Machine never exists, which throws everything that has happened in baseball since the 1970s out of whack.

Oh yeah, and there's no Moral Majority either, so Jimmy Carter wins the 1980 election, but I'm guessing that doesn't change things nearly as much as having Joe Morgan stay with the Astros.

It sounds an awful lot like the Fidel Castro pitching for the Senators whatif, and Wilson AlphaMeat at the Primer has the same idea:

Senators prospect Fidel Castro strikes out rookie sensation Falwell during spring training and makes Washington's roster. Castro goes on to have an unremarkable six-year career as a player, but achieves greater fame as a pitching coach. His reign as coach is known for its cruelty, including the time he made Bob Gibson cry, the 1973 execution of former Yankee owner George Steinbrenner after an unsuccessful attempt to fire Castro, and Steve Garvey.

Castro's pitching staffs powered the 1990's Texas Ranger dynasty, which led owner George W. Bush to devote himself to baseball and drop his bid for governor of Texas. The Rangers are currently in the fifth year of an unwinnable game against an undetermined opponent.

Castro's coaching duties for the Havana Expos are currently performed by his brother Raul, as Fidel Castro died in early 2007.

And also stuff about what a guy Falwell's dad was.

The Portland Beavers have a unique bobblehead promotion:

In February, the Beavers, known for an impressive list of creative promotions over the years, invited anyone legally named Bob L. Head to apply for this unique honor at Each registrant was asked to supply a list of basic information and a short essay on why he - more than any other Bob L. Head out there - is most fitting to receive this honor, one of the most coveted in sports-memorabilia circles...

For his part, the winning Bob will receive red-carpet treatment before, during and after the game, including an all-expenses-paid vacation in Portland, the chance to throw out the first pitch, media opportunities and all the fame and glory associated with having his own bobblehead.

I'd mentioned before that the Bethesda Blue Caps were joining the Clark Griffith League and wondered where they'd play. The CGL schedule is out and the Blue Caps will play at ... Catholic University. Real close to Bethesda there. At least the DC Grays finally have a home field in the District near Gallaudet.

Nationals 4, Braves 3. Matt Chico survived six innings with a quality start. One of the two highlight plays was Chuck James vainly trying to tag FLop without the ball on Kearns' chopper. The other was FLop's triple. Instead of Lance Cormier, plunking me as he tried for the cycle, Peter Moylon merely walked him.

But we couldn't go another day without losing a starting pitcher could we? Bergmann will miss his next start, at the very least. We might see Ian Desmond pitching at RFK at this rate. Today Saturday's pitcher looks like Hanrahan? Fruto? Anastacio Martinez? Your guess is better than mine.

May 16

The Devil Rays played in Orlando last night. You could have had a Disney Dining Experience with a game ticket and a nice menu:

Tailgating Reception
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Chilled Lobster Canapés
Peppered Seared Beef with Horseradish on a Focaccia Crouton
Sun-dried Tomato, Olive and Garlic Tapenade on an Endive Spear
Cheese and Fruit Display

Open Bar with Soft Drinks, Beer and Wine

Game Time Entrée
Choose One of the Following Main Courses

Chicken and Roasted Pepper Sandwich
with Cilantro Almond Relish

Proscuitto and Brie Sandwich
with Rosemary Fig Confit on Ciabatta Roll

Vegetarian Pita Sandwich
with Eggplant, Cucumbers, Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes

Accompanied By
Boursin and Tillamook Cheddar Cheese with Crackers
Terra Sweet Potato Chips
Fuji Apple
Chocolate Cherry Brownie

A Night at the Ballpark
Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Time 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Price: $85.00 plus tax

Back in St. Pete, the natives are skeptical:

You may have looked at the seats that went unfilled Tuesday night for Orlando's first major-league baseball game, and dismissed the idea as a failure. A case of a team overextending its reach, and a city yawning in response.

There were, supposedly, 8, 443 people at this game. Heck, the Padres drew nearly three times as many fans in Monterrey, Mexico. The Expos - the Expos! - had double this many fans in Puerto Rico a few years ago.

It ended in the 10th inning with Brendan Harris scoring the winning run. Where did that guy come from?

Watched CSI:NY episode "The Ride-In". Noah Hubler is shot dead inside his Far Rockaway home amid a pile of counterfeit cash while in the back yard is an ark, containing animals and four couples who paid $100,000 per pair for the ride. There is still a medical retractor inside his body from a back alley gastric bypass.

Turns out Noah Hubler was just one of his many aliases as a conman. Law enforcement finally caught up to him in New Orleans and he was scheduled to be extradited to New York. However, one day ahead of schedule, a female New York police officer with all the proper badges and paperwork shows up to take him northeast. The next day, the real New York cops showed up.

Noah got gastric bypass surgery to change his appearance but the retractor left inside poisoned his blood, making him delusional but honest. His partner in crime, Janice DeMartino just wanted her share of their take, so he paid her with the cash given to him by one of the arknauts. When she discovered the money was counterfeit, she shot Noah, returning the bogus bills.

The counterfeit money leads to the printer, Jimmy Easman, who is already in prison. He hid the cash in his SUV, which was sold at government auction and bought by one of the couples on the ark. They used it to pay for passage.

In the other plot, a mascot for an anti-cigarette campaign is burned to death from inhaling the plastic fumes of the costume. The man died right in front of Spirit Tobacco Compamy headquarters. The victim was actually an employee of Spirit, engaged in a guerilla marketing campaign for a new "natural" cigarette. For some silly reason, his bosses never bother telling his wife he's dead.

The killer turns out to be a guy in a vampire constume who is trying to strongarm mascots into joining a union. He robbed a young woman dressed as a Bavarian beerhall waitress as well, leaving vampiric bites on her. I find the bite a totally unbelievable and ludicrous tactic.

Finally, Sid suffer anaphylactic shock from food poisoning and Stella has to perform CPR. She tells him she may be infected with HIV, but he's happy she saved his life.

Church, Nats prey on Braves' miscue for fifth win in six games. The Braves are going to be sorry they let this one get away. Speigner was far from sparkling, lasting only four innings, but didn't walk anybody. Johnson made a critical error on a double play, which eventually led to the game-winning bases-clearing double by Church. And Cox probably left Davies in too long.

May 15

Smoltz says the injury was just a freak happening and the Braves fans aren't blaming Kearns either. However:

If Langerhans gets that bunt down, Smoltz is healthy. His incompetence at the plate continues to kill the Braves.

Tim Marchman on those rubber-armed pitchers of the 1960s:

Just as an example, compare the National League pitchers with the best 10 earned run averages of 1966 to those of last year. In 1966, legendary aces like Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, and Jim Bunning were brilliant at the height of a pitcher's era. Last season, a rather less distinguished lot, none of whom won 16 games, ranked as the best in the circuit. What's really interesting, though, is that for the most part, both sets of pitchers threw about the same number of innings. In 1966, six of the top 10 ERA leaders threw between 224 and 240 innings; last year, eight of the top ten threw between 213 and 240 2/3. The difference is to be found at the margins: Koufax, Marichal, and Bunning each threw at least 300 innings, and Gibson threw 280.1. By contrast, in 2006 Clay Hensley and Chris Young, two young pitchers with the San Diego Padres who finished in the top 10 in ERA, didn't pitch 190 innings.

Brendan Harris says unsurprising things about Jim Bowden:

"You get branded," Harris said. "A guy like Jim Bowden tells you you're one thing, and if you were there before he got there you weren't part of the solution; you were part of the problem. Not just for me, but for everybody. I felt like I almost lost a year in my career over there. I'm happy to be out of there and given a fresh start over here."

Renteria's two homers, Hudson's arm lift Braves over Nats. Just when I was so impressed that the Nats gone through their starting rotation with no injuries, Patterson, Hill and Williams go on the DL. At least there were only two walks tonight and n.000K got his first extra-base hit.

May 14

Nighthawks basketball forms a league of its own. Former Peary grad Tom Doyle decided he was tired of the Ponzi scheme known as the ABA and pulled the Maryland Nighthawks out to form the Premier Basketball League with initial franchises in Maryland, Reading, Wilmington NC and more yet to come. According to Our Sports Central, the PBL will affiliate with USA Basketball and FIBA, which enables them to share in transfer fees when a player signs with another league. That the ABA didn't affiliate just shows how incompetent they are.

Matt Bruce thought he saw something fishy Saturday night (it was still Saturday night where he is in California):

Baseless Accusation of the Day

On the walk-off grand slam last night, I wonder whether Jorge Julio grooved a pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. He had more motivation than usual:

1. It was 1:42 a.m. local time, with two out in the ninth inning of a tie game that had already been through rain delays totaling 3 hours, 40 minutes. Did anyone (except the Marlins of course) want that game going to extra innings?

2. If you're going to cause the game to end anyway, might as well get three runs (instead of one) charged to the guy you replaced, the guy against whom you'll be competing for the opportunity to get saves,a vastly overrated (but financially lucrative!) individual statistic.

That plan worked out real well, if the plan was to ruin your ERA in Colorado.

Bergman flirts with no-hitter. Jesus saves! Bergman's performance was a surprise to me, but it shouldn't have been given that he has 2-1 strikeout to walk ratio and failed to pitch six innings only once. Why does Baseball Reference insist on calling him Jay?

Langerhans whiffed on a suicide squeeze and Kearns was hung out to dry between third and home. Smoltz applied the tag and dislocated his finger in the process.

As Colome got in trouble, the cameras showed St. Claire phoning the bullpen. I kept mumbling,"Not Cordero. Not Cordero. Not Cordero." I was relieved when the guy rushing to get warm had a mustache - Micah Bowie.

After the Nats game I switched over to some other contests. Derrick Turnbow is really ugly and had a meltdown against the Phillies. Against the Nats it was flyout-walk-groundout-groundout and groundout-lineout-strikeout. The Cubs and Mets ended with a stirring walk-off walk.

May 13

Hours-long rain delay pays off for Nats with Zimmerman's slam. The game was delayed in the fifth from about 8:30 to 11:15. Then again in the 9th for about an hour. Out where we are, we got a sprinkle, but nowhere near the steady, driving rain they got an RFK.

I was half-asleep for most of the game. Kearns' inside-the-park home run was pretty thrilling, especially Scorebook getting all excited. It seems Abercrombie thought the ball had gone over the wall, giving Kearns those extra seconds to make it all the way around. I was able to flip over to the Marlins' telecast after tha game was over and they were pretty disgusted at the poor performance with runners in scoring position.

When it came to the day game, I took it as gravy, since the series was already won. Simontacchi looked untouchable until the 6th when the Marlins came close. Both Church and Fick dropped what looked to be easy flies. Also a goofy play in the second when FLop was nowhere near second to take a force play from Jeri Lynn, so he threw to first like it was a double play.

Watched the Everybody Hates Chris episode "Everybody Hates Snow Day". On a snow day, Chris doesn't realize until it's too late that Corleone is closed, so he stays with Principal Edwards. Julius goes to pick him up, using cross-country skis, but has to leave Drew and Tanya with Mr. Omar. Rochelle is stuck in a subway car with a holdup man. One of the young women in the subway may have been dating Spike Lee.

Went on the CSI episode "Big Shots". A limo crashes into a strip club. The victim, Champ Landley has been shot, but the other passenger, known as Drops, is unharmed.

The cracks in the window show that a .50 caliber bullet came in, and a .38 was shot from the inside. Drops owns a .38. How convenient. Sanders finds DNA in a rolled-up hundred used to snort cocaine belonging to Aaron James, the brother of Demetrius James, who he ran over in the Kevin Federline gang incident.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Simone Molinez has been found dead, probably from being pushed out of car and possibly dragged while still attached to the seat belt. Then her DNA is found in the Benjamin, along with Aaron James.

Molinez had gone to a dive bar, was hit on by Carey Corville and Scotty Brittington, then went to sit with Drops, Landley and James. In the limo, she refused to have sex with Aaron and Landley literally kicked her out of the limo. Then, Corville and Brittington caught up with the limo and had a shootout.

Felipe LopezMay 12

Today is the birthday of Felipe Lopez. He's played mostly shortstop in Washington while Guzman was on the DL. Born in Puerto Rico, Felipe was originally drafted by and made his major league debut with Toronto. He got to the Reds in a four-team deal that also involved Arizona and Oakland in 2002. Arguably Lopez' best game for Washington was this week on Tuesday against Milwaukee with a double and a homer.

Joe Posnanski, somebody from outside the quiz community, realizes how hard question writing is:

Trivia questions are an art. Yesterday at the Royals game, the trivia question was -- I'm not joking here -- "What city did the A's play in before they came to Oakland." And not only that -- they offered three choices. That's embarrassing, right?

Watched the How I Met Your Mother episode "Arriverderci Fiero". Just .7 miles short of 200,000 miles, Marshall's Fiero dies and the gang share their memories of it. Marshall himself got it from his older brothers who, as a final test, required him to get a dozen cups of hot coffee from the drive-through window while totally naked. The resulting spill created his "No Food or Drink in the Fiero" Rule.

Ted and Marshall bonded on a trip where Ted got them lost in a snowstorm and had to spend the night together in the car in a blizzard. Barney, being a cityboy, never learned to drive and Ted tries to teach him in the Fiero. One night Lily and Robin had to get Thai food and broke the No Food rule, resulting of course in a massive spill. After the cleanup failed, they concocted the story that a homeless man had thrown up in it.

Went on to the Criminal Minds episode "Open Season". A couple of brothers kidnap people in their 20s from their cars just east of Spokane and hunt them with bows in the mountains of Idaho. There's not much mystery to the identity of the killers, just suspense about whether their latest victim, a pretty spunky blonde can survive.

She does by teaming up with a couple. They get killed along the way, but she is able to use the guy's knife to stab both hunters, though she offs only one. The other is taken care of by the FBI.

As the second one dies, she asks Prentiss why he would do such a thing and Emily mutters something about they don't think like us. Onboard the jet, she tells Morgan about her misgivings becoming what she hunts. She still has her moral compass. I never hear about petroleum explorers worrying they'll become an oil deposit.

More meaningful is Gideon's treatment of the first hunter. At first, the BAU think he's one of the victims. Still, Gideon treats him with compassion, letting him die in quiet and comfort.

Roy CorcoranMay 11

Today is the birthday of Roy Corcoran. He appeared in six games during July and August last year. His best outing was at AT&T Park when pitched a scoreless inning. His brother Tim is on the Devil Rays roster. Roy himself tried out for a bullpen spot with the Marlins in spring training and is now pitching for Florida's AAA team in Albuquerque.

Watched the Doctor Who episode "Dalek". Christopher Eccleston was still the Doctor in this episode as he and Rose got to an underground facility in Utah in 2012. The compound is owned by American Henry Van Statten, a billionaire who can change Presidents and owns the Internet.

Van Statten has a Dalek in his possession whom he can elicit screams from when his minions torture it. The Dalek will talk to the Doctor and we learn that all the Daleks and all the Time Lords are dead except for these two. Rose touches the Dalek and it absorbs her DNA to regenerate and break free of its chains.

The Dalek goes on a killing spree and even cleverly elevates itself from the floor while setting off the sprinkler system. Then it puts a charge into the water and electrocutes all the guards. However, Rose's DNA has produced fear and compassion in the Dalek.

It wants freedom and goes up to the top level and blasts a whole in the ceiling. Sunlight pours in and the Dalek opens itself up so that the sun shines on the mutant organic part left inside. It asks Rose, who grants permission for the Dalek top kill itself, which it does.

Van Statten's assistant Goddard orders the guards to mindwipe Van Statten for the deaths of all the other guards he caused. She orders the vault sealed while Adam comes on board the TARDIS.

Nats halt 8-game skid, lose sharp starter Hill to elbow injury. This afternoon, I thought of a great nickname for Shawn Hill - Shawn "Capital" Hill. Okay, kinda lame. Then he goes and gets himself injured.

The Islets made a spectacular catch in left field. The five-pitcher tag team held the Marlins scoreless with only two walks.

Watched the Numb3rs episode "Burn Rate". A series of letter bombs appears to have the same pattern as the "DNA bomber" of several years back. ATF agent Jennifer Malloy believes it is the work of Professor Emmett Glaser, who wrote an anti-biotechnology tract a while back. She believes Glaser's student Jason Aronow, who is in prison for the bombings, was just the fall guy.

As the bombings continue, Charlie uses math to find out where Glaser is hiding. He is arrested and while in custody, another bomb goes off that he couldn't have sent. Charlie then realizes that the math used to pinpoint Glaser is too perfect, as if someone is framing him.

That someone turns out to Lee Kettrick, a former member of the San Francisco Bomb Squad whose friend was one of the victims of the DNA bomber. He believes Glaser was really behind the bombings and, in addition to framing him, wanted to kill all the people involved in Glaser not going to prison. Still, I don't believe that Kettrick would be smart enough to know Charlie's math to frame Glaser so perfectly.

May 10

On the off-day, it might be worth checking a couple of guys from the Majewski-FLop-Kearns trade last year - specifically, Brendan Haris and Daryl Thompson. The former sacred calf is hitting .325 with an OPS of .810. Thompson has an ERA of 0.96 in five starts at Dayton, although he just got lit up for 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings for Jupiter in the FSL.

May 9

Brewers win sixth straight, hand Nats eighth loss in a row. It was tied until the eighth and Bergmann produced another quality start. Only one loss in this streak has been by four runs or more.

May 8

Fielder, Hardy help Brewers improve to 8-1 on homestand. FLop hit a lead-off homer in the tradition of Rickey Henderson and Brady Anderson. Simontacchi brushed back Fielder who answered with a homer. Abreu also gave up a couple of gopher balls.

May 7

Brewers roll over slumping Nats to go 12 games over .500. It's a shame the hitters wasted a nice quality start by Chico. But Capuano is the real deal and maybe the Brewers are for real as well.

May 6

Cubs 4, Nationals 3. Cordero wasted Hill's nice effort by blowing the save. Schneider walked in the first run to continue his uncanny ability to drive in runs without hits. Dmitri Young drove in two with a pinch-single. Daryle Ward, last year's version of Da Meat Hook, drove in the winning run for the Cubs.

Clemens is going back to the Yankees. I was hoping he'd go to the Red Sox, since that was his best chance to win a World Series, but who am I to argue with a pile of money thrown at you?

May 5

Surging Cubs use free passes to nip Nats, return to .500. Patterson couldn't get out of the third inning. Speigner threw 25 pitches, only nine of them for strikes. The bats narrowed the score a little bit with a bunch of doubles. At some point MASN had a Windows screen up instead of the game.

Watched the Bones episode "The Bodies in the Book". Bodies turn up bound in red tape and eaten by animals, just like the victims in one of Brennan's books. All were initially killed with guns.

While Booth and the FBI track down a stalker, the audience strongly suspects Hank, the assistant to Brennan's book publicist. I don't understand why none of the investigators ever look at the murderer in the book as a clue. Brennan makes a crucial discovery that there is not one killer, but three separate murderers.

It turns out Hank and two other men met in a chatroom for fans of Brennan's novels. Together, like Strangers on a Train, they plot to kill whoever the other wants dead. In addition, the murderers can be out of town when the person they have a motive to kill is actually dispatched.

May 4

Cubs' Soriano makes most of first meeting with Nationals. We saw that four-run first inning and thought this game was going to be easy. WRONG! The Cubs went ahead in a the third and fourth with the big blow coming on a Derrek Lee homer.

Robothal details problems in the front office. I'm not sure what to make of it. I think all employees should be treated well, not nickel and dimed. However, I think the most valuable are Rizzo, Brown and Rijo.

Watched the Cold Case episode "Offender". In 1987, six-year-old Clay Hathaway disappeared from his neighborhood street, turning up a few days later, raped and killed, in his father Mitch's construction site. Mitch is convicted and imprisoned while his wife Tara divorces him.

Today, Mitch has been released because DNA evidence exonerates him. He pushes a registered sex offender of the side of a building and takes credit for it. In the CSI universe, Mitch would be caught quickly, but on this show, we need time to mine people's twenty-year-old recollections. Mitch treatens to kill a registered sex offender a day until the murder of Clay is solved.

The postman who used to work the neighborhood and a registered sex offender is interviewed and later killed by Mitch, so we know he is tracking the investigation. Not long after Clay's death, Tara found Polaroids of John Burell, a neighbor boy, asleep in the same position Clay was found in. This is her basis for abandoning Mitch.

The murderer was John's father Cliff, who, of course, took the pictures of Johnny. There is a tense moment atop a building where Mitch forces Cliff to confess while the police close in.

Tara was pretty dense to be fooled by the pictures Cliff planted in their bathroom. She should have immediately suspected Cliff instead of abandoning Mitch. I find it unusual she never remarried in twenty years.

Went on to the Numb3rs episode "Pandora's Box". A small corporate jet crashes in a park near Los Angeles. The park ranger who investigates is shot to death at the wreckage.

The jet belonged to a small aerospace company, killing its executives on board. When Charlie and Amita determine the debris pattern indicates a large heavy object not on the manifest, the CEO admits the place was transporting a secret scramjet. The corporation's staff mechanic has a storage facility containing the scramjet, but also his dead body, shot execution-style just like the park ranger.

The corporation's chief programmer tampered with the flight computer, not just to make the plane crash, but to insinuate a virus into the FAA computers. The purpose of the virus was to make certain planes invisible, specifically planes belonging to drug lord Victor Morelos, who just happened to be played by Gonzalo Menendez. There's no typecasting or stereotyping going on here is there?

May 3

Padres 7, Nationals 3. The previous record in full moon games had been that the loss would be particularly heartbreaking. In these two games, the Nats have been outscored 10-3. This is not a good sign. The Nats are 5-23 under the full moon. The good news is that they don't play tonight under the third night of the full moon.

The Clark Griffith League is building itself up by adding the Bethesda Blue Caps. I don't know where they'll play, given that the Big Train already has Shirley Povich Field. Also the Reston Hawks are now the Reston Raiders. The Clark Griffith League will play interleague games with the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League, along with an All-Star Game.

Last night, the Nats traded Snelling to the Athletics for Ryan Langerhans. The Hivemind isn't getting worked up about it. The Nats now have four Ryans on the team. I look out on the Islets of Langerhans everyday. I could tell the Nats about it, but there may not be any science fiction fans in the group.

May 2

Padres' Young, Hoffman team up to shut out Nationals. Hill had a quality start and no one scored on Bowie in relief. No hitting, though.

In between innings, MASN showed a tour the Nats took of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. The Captain said they keep a piece of the Berlin Wall because the Berlin Wall fell during Reagan's presidency. No, that would be the presidency of George H. W. Bush. But I'm sure this is the same history that blames Grover Cleveland for the Spanish-American War.

May 1

Nationals' Patterson picks up first win of season; Peavy falls to 3-1. The Hivemind likens John Patterson to a delicate flower. The samurai used to compare themselves to cherry blossoms because their beauty as warriors was short-lived and they could die at any time. I think Patterson has a much better claim to the cherry blossom as an analogy.

Once a samurai dies, he can't come back, but the cherry blossom returns the following year. John Patterson pitches a game of beauty once a year. In 2005, it was against the Dodgers, in 2006 in was against the Marlins. This is all we get for this year. If you missed it, too bad. Asking for another Patterson gem this year is like asking a cherry blossom to bloom twice in one season.

Joe Smith of the Mets is the first member of the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League to make the majors, pretty good considering the league, the team he played for, the Rockville Express, and the Nats all first hit town in 2005.

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