The Electric Commentary

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kirk Cameron To Prove That God Exists

It's going to be tough to overcome all of the evidence against God existing, like, for instance, the existence of "Growing Pains," but Kirk is going to give it a shot.

Gevin Menchkins For The All-Star Team

I'm a big fan of specialization. It's very efficient. When you have people concentrating on what they do best you tend to have better outcomes. It's the reason that no one sews their own clothes anymore (except for recreation).

I'm also a big fan of the "runningback-by-committee" in football. Sure it screws your fantasy team, but teams tend to be more effective when their backs are well-rested, and when they do not suffer injury as frequently.

I am, therefore, a huge fan of platooning guys who mash against opposite-side pitchers, especially if you can get a bargain, and especially in the NL where substitutions are frequent. While the Jenkins/Mench platoon isn't particularly cheap, it has been extremely effective.

Kevin Mench is currently hitting a whopping .356/.357/.542, with 2 dingers. Mench will probably not maintain that level, especially if he doesn't walk a bit more, but he will be productive against lefties all season.

Jenkins has been every bit as good as Mench, killing righties to the tune of .352/.397/.593, with 3 HRs.

Currently, Gevin Menchkins is on pace to put up the following numbers:

BA: .354
OBP: .377
SLG: .568
HR: 39
RBI: 136
Runs Scored: 136


As one player, they are the equal of any All-Star corner outfielder playing. So support this platoon and write in Gevin Menchkins on your All-Star ballot. It might even make them happier about the situation, and the longer they stay in a straight platoon, the better it is for the club.

Science!

1. The new planet! If it's 5 times as massive as earth we should all start losing some weight.

2. China overtakes US! (In greenhouse gas emissions.)

3. Snow Hippos!

4. Let's focus on beer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maybe The Onion Reads My Blog

On March 2nd, I wrote this post titled:

How Does RadioShack Stay In Business?


and contained sentences like:

It's disorganized, small, and they used to ask for your phone number when you bought batteries. They are clearly not a "volume-based" retailer, but who would ever buy a big-value high-margin item at RadioShack?

The Loop is littered with RadioShacks, which makes me think that they specialize in impulse buys, but in my experience the humble Walgreen's drug store actually carries more impulse electronics at lower prices.


The current Onion features the following article:

Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business

Despite having been on the job for nine months, RadioShack CEO Julian Day said Monday that he still has "no idea" how the home electronics store manages to stay open.

"There must be some sort of business model that enables this company to make money, but I'll be damned if I know what it is," Day said. "You wouldn't think that people still buy enough strobe lights and extension cords to support an entire nationwide chain, but I guess they must, or I wouldn't have this desk to sit behind all day."

The retail outlet boasts more than 6,000 locations in the United States, and is known best for its wall-sized displays of obscure-looking analog electronics components and its notoriously desperate, high-pressure sales staff. Nevertheless, it ranks as a Fortune 500 company, with gross revenues of over $4.5 billion and fiscal quarter earnings averaging tens of millions of dollars.

"Have you even been inside of a RadioShack recently?" Day asked. "Just walking into the place makes you feel vaguely depressed and alienated. Maybe our customers are at the mall anyway and don't feel like driving to Best Buy? I suppose that's possible, but still, it's just...weird."


Coincidence? I think not.

Prince Fielder

I went to the Cubs/Brewers game last night, and Prince Fielder's HR was the most impressive HR that I have ever seen in person, because it was directly into a 35 mph wind. I thought that it would be impossible to hit one out to right last night, but I was wrong.

The Brewers have looked spectacular for about a week now due to their offense and the back of their rotation (Bush and Vargas have pitched very well). If Sheets can be Sheets life will become very difficult for the rest of the NL Central.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blame

I was tempted to write a gun control-themed post, but instead I'll just quote Ed Brayton:

Let me tell you who is to blame for this: the guy pulling the trigger. That's it. End of discussion. One crazed psychotic who decides it's time to go postal is going to find a clock tower to shoot from and people to shoot at, and it doesn't matter how many laws we pass against it. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to visit the clue store.

The Bucks Did The Smart Thing

Look, the Bucks sucked big hairy synthetic basketballs this year, I admit that, but shutting down Redd, Bogut, and Charlie the Wussy was the only rational thing to do. This year's draft class looks to be very good and while it's deep, it does look like the guys at the top will be championship caliber, long term stars. Openly tanking the last month was the right thing to do.

In basketball one guy can make a difference more than in any other sport. If the Bucks land Durant or Oden, and if they play up to even 50% of their capabilities, the Bucks would be instant title contenders next year. In football the influence of your individual draftees is diluted by dozens of other players. In baseball they toil in the minors for a few seasons. Basketball draft really is a lottery. If you hit the jackpot and land a Shaq or Wade or Duncan, you can be in the finals right now. This looks to be one of those years and missing out on your chance to land one of the top players would not be in the team's best interest.

The NBA could fix the tanking problem by changing the draft lottery system, but until they do, the Bucks did the right thing.

The 10 Best Baseball Games That Aren't Baseball

10. Baseball Stars by SNK, for the Nintendo Entertainment System

The Grandaddy of building up a team through with experience points. You only make money if you win games, you only win games if you have good players, and you only have good players if you make money. Baseball Stars didn't shell out for an MLB license, and instead went the crafty lefty route of making their best team "The American Dreams" which featured "Babe," "Hank," and "Dizzy." Aside from that you could face the "Ninja Blacksox," the "Japan Robins," and of course the "Lovely Ladies." Crowds would really turn out for the ladies too, and playing them helps your bank account immensely.

You get to name and design your own players and team, including picking a team concept. (One of the options is "Veterans." Do not select this option.) Besides the cool role-playing aspects, the on-field play is also top-notch. Short stops get to balls in the hole about as frequently as they do in real baseball, pitchers tire, and you can even, very rarely, reach over the fence to rob someone of a HR.

Baseball stars was the first real videogame baseball simulator that was worth anything. It's still fun to play to this day, and it's always a challenge to beat the dreams even if you're good. If you can find a working NES, or if they make it available on the Wii virtual console, pick up a copy.

9. Strikeout

Strikeout requires some minor graffiti, but no one will mind if you use chalk. Find a building, preferably a school, and draw a box on the wall to represent the strike zone. Draw and X through it to make it look cool. Now you're ready to go.

Strikeout is how you play baseball when you don't have enough people to play baseball. You designate certain areas for certain types of hits. (Over the tennis courts might be a double. Over both might be a HR, etc.) One player pitches, one player hits, everyone else plays defense. Pitches that smack the wall in the strike zone are strikes. Everything else is a ball. That's all there is to it.

Just make sure you steer clear of windows.

8. Baseball Pinball




They had this game at my local Fudruckers and I played a few games every time I set foot in the place for two reasons:

a. If you did well it spit out baseball cards. And not just crap either. Greg Jeffries, Kevin Seitzer, Walt Weiss. Hmm. Actually, maybe it did spit out crap, but was psychic.

b. When it spit out baseball cards it made an extremely loud and very annoying "popping" sound.

A lot of fun for 90 seconds.

7. Rotisserie Baseball

What more is there to write about fantasy sports. You know them, you love them, you know that you're a better GM than Doug Melvin.

6. Pickle

Pickle is a game that you can only play until everyone becomes fundamentally sound, because you should never get out of a pickle. But for most of childhood it's great fun. Really, it's sort of like the opposite of keep away. Two people (at least) guard their bases while playing catch while a third person tries to steal bases. It's much better exercise than is baseball itself, and there is something very satisfying about faking out another player, or pulling off a perfect slide. A ruiner of many thousands of pairs of jeans and kneecaps.

5. RBI Baseball

While Baseball Stars had a monopoly on realistic play, for pop-arcade style action you couldn't beat RBI, where Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire crushed cyber-steroid aided HRs, where Paul Molitor graces the All-Star team, where Al Pedrique graces the All-Star team for some unknown reason, and where Davey Lopes and Phil Garner are on the same team, both as bench players.

RBI also made roughly half of the pitchers side-armers for no good reason. This game was all about fun, ad mashing HRs, but there's nothing wrong with that. While the much more realistic-looking "Bases Loaded" series looked like it would dominate early Nintendo baseball, it was no match for RBI Baseball, the Tecmo Super Bowl of baseball video games.

4. World Series



Back in the days before "Golden Tee" almost every bar contained "World Series," which was ahead of its time with the Golden Tee model of making you pay for every 3 holes/innings.

World Series also featured a gadgety, spring loaded controller. To hit you would cock it back and then let it go at the appropriate time. You pitched in the same fashion. For some reason, at the time this felt very realistic, even though this action has nothing whatsoever to do with baseball. Not on the list for entertainment value so much as it is for pioneering the genre of "gadgety sports games in bars," World Series was by no means a great game, but it was pretty fun and it made it OK for companies to take risks with novel control schemes, as well as targeting intoxicated adults.

3. Wiffleball/Kickball/Softball

Where would we be without the various offshoots of baseball which allow all ages/blood alcohol levels to compete? Whether serving up taters with an oversized softball, or whipping in unhittable knucklers with the wiffleball, these games allow us to keep playing a reasonable facsimile of the real game long after our primes. Kickball even contributes the ability to drill opposing players with the ball, something you can only think about in real baseball (unless your name is Dibble).

2. Speed Pitch

A few years ago I broke the speed gun at my local batting cage. Not because I throw fast, but because I'm very, very inaccurate. The speed pitch is always fun because almost everyone thinks that they have a much better arm than they do, and you can be assured that the guy in line right before you actually does have a much better arm than you.

While participating in the speed pitch is fun, watching people laugh at their friends in the speed pitch is way more fun. It's like that "Strong Man" carnival game with the big hammer where you try to hit the pad as hard as you can, except updated for modern times.

For the record, I top out at about 54. That's alls I gots.

1. Strat-O-Matic

Behind every SABR-nerd you'll usually find Strat-O-Matic baseball. You get a nice little set of cards which correspond to every player in baseball, and then you roll dice to establish what they do in your little Strat-O-Matic games. And then, if you play enough you marvel at just how accurate your cards and dice are.

Strat-O-Matic is not for the faint of heart. You can't lose cards and it helps to be organized, but if you have a stat-head kid, it's pretty darn fun. It's also educational, if you like that sort of thing.

Honorable Mention that I have never played, but would like to try: Scoresheet.

I have a few friends who play in a Scoresheet league, and, well, I'll let Scoresheet explain:

Are you a fan who's looking for a way to have more fun this baseball season? Would you like your fantasy baseball team to play real head to head, inning by inning baseball, instead of just accumulating 'points'? Then welcome to Scoresheet Baseball, the ultimate fantasy baseball game.

Like other fantasy games, in Scoresheet Baseball you draft players before the season starts, and then your team wins or loses based on how your players do throughout the major league season. But, rather than just adding up stats, Scoresheet Baseball teams play real ballgames. Each week of the upcoming 2007 major league season, using a lineup card you fill out, your Scoresheet team will play six or seven full simulated games on our computer, based on your players' actual performances from that week's major league games. Your team will play a complete 162 game schedule, going head to head against the other teams in your league. Scoresheet Baseball is *not* like other simulations that use statistics from past seasons, or that will play their 2007 season after the 2007 major league season is over. Instead, Scoresheet Baseball games are played each week of the upcoming major league season, using each player's stats from that current week.

Each weekly report will include complete scoresheets for every game your team plays. League standings, trade reports, player and team stats, league leaders, top undrafted players, team vs. team records - they are all included. Each league also has its own web pages full of information. You can even use our online graphical interface to watch each game being played through from beginning to end.


Maybe next year.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Late, Slightly Tipsy Fun Friday

The Brewers got postponed, so instead you get this late Fun Friday, which is partially cribbed directly from the Sports Guy.

1. The first requires you to go to Google Maps. Type in your starting point as New York, NY, and your destination as Paris, France. Check out step 23. Good stuff

2. The next was going to be an official NBA stat line that has Robert Horry deactivated for "Old Age," but the line has been changed to "inactive" and is therefore not funny. Instead, check out this "Ace cracks me up" moment.

3. Finally, Strong Bad gets around the "Orange Screen of Death."

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Is Dead

If you go into any college bookstore right now it is exceedingly likely that you will find several thousand used copies of old Kurt Vonnegut books priced between two and six dollars each. This is how I accumulated my Vonnegut collection. It's a mangled, coffee-stained bunch, all with the signature "V" cover, all at or around 200 pages.

Vonnegut wrote about meaning. Most the worlds that he created were destroyed slightly after the action took place, from the Neutron Bomb that destroys Deadeye Dick's town, to the Ice-9 of Cat's Cradle, to the plague of Galapagos, Vonnegut is constantly pounding you with the question, "Do your actions matter once everything goes to shit?"

His characters are generally lonely, and they have generally lost something important. In "Slapstick" societal convention destroys the most valuable intelligence on the planet and makes a lonely man of Wilbur, in Slaughterhouse-Five Billy Pilgrim is disconnected from life itself by war and aliens, and in The Sirens of Titans the richest man in the world gives up everything for a rather unsatisfying payoff. The ubiquitous Kilgore Trout is also a lonely, curmudgeonly fellow in control of nothing.

Vonnegut's style was somewhere between "genius" and "college student with report due in 3 hours on no sleep with no ideas." He would throw in strange literary devices for no apparent reason. Asterisks to mark that a character would shortly expire, the announcement of everyones' penis size, and dog after dog named Kazak would frequent his pages. He was awkward, but direct. There was never any flowery prose to set the scene, no mood, no colors (except on the cover). He was mechanical and matter-of fact, telling you only what he wanted you to know. There is a good reason that he rarely exceeded 200 pages.

Vonnegut had become an old crank over the last 10 years or so, although I'm only 29 years old and I get the distinct impression that he was an old crank well before I was born. His later works like "Timequake" are not worth reading. Kurt actually pumped out a lot of garbage in his day, but several of his books are worth picking up if you haven't had the pleasure. Rest In Peace Kurt Vonnegut. As Bokonon sang:

Someday, someday, this crazy world will have to end,
And our God will take things back that He to us did lend.
And if, on that sad day, you want to scold our God,
Why just go ahead and scold Him. He'll just smile and nod.


My top ten Vonnegut books:

1. Cat's Cradle
2. Galapagos
3. The Sirens Of Titan
4. Slaughterhouse-Five
5. Slapstick
6. Welcome To The Monkey House
7. Deadeye Dick
8. Breakfast Of Champions
9. Hocus Pocus
10. Mother Night

You can get them on Amazon, or head to the college bookstore.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nice Job Milwaukee

Gracious hosts as always. From ESPN:

"I thought it would be like five, maybe 500," Borowski said. "I thought it would be like an American Legion game. I mean come on, less than 24 hours notice? I didn't think anyone would be here."

His teammates for the most part agreed. So imagine the look on their faces when they took the field here Tuesday night and saw Miller Park's first and second decks loaded with baseball fans. Imagine what they were thinking in the third inning, when Brewers officials had to open the outfield bleachers to accommodate even more fans. And imagine the befuddlement when, in the eighth inning, the attendance was officially announced at 19,031.

"You can't say enough about Milwaukee," Borowski said. "I was amazed. Absolutely amazed. Nobody imagined this. It actually felt like a home game."


And a nice job on "the wave" too:

No, the Indians wanted to talk about this crowd. And more specifically, a slow-motion wave that the fans did during the seventh inning that nearly put the team in a trance. The slow motion wave is a tradition that was started during football games at the University of Wisconsin.

"It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen," Borowski said. "I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me."

"I had never seen the slow-mo wave before," manager Eric Wedge said. "That locked me up."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mailbag!

It's time for another dip in the EC mailbag! These are actual letters from EC readers.*

What is the most politically incorrect way to fight global warming?

- Sancho P.


A good question. What's the most offensive way to solve a very PC problem? You could spray paint large portions of the globe white, which would reflect light and heat back into space. You could also start using fuels that spray more particulate matter into the atmosphere which would have a similar effect, blocking heat from ever entering in the first place. Part of the reason (although an admittedly small part) that temperatures have been going up is that we have cleaner air, which allows more light and heat into the atmosphere.

We could also bulldoze "old growth" forests and bury the trees while replacing them with new saplings. New trees absorb more CO2 than old trees, and by burying the old trees we would create a carbon sink. Of course this would only work if it offset the emissions from the industrial processes necessary.

None of these are worth what they cost, of course, but that just makes them like most proposed global warming solutions.

What's the funniest line from Moe the Bartender on the Simpsons?

- Frito L.


Well Frito, Moe is not consistently funny and is better used as a pathetic foil for others. When Comic Book Guy walks into the bar and Moe asks "Hey Homer, who's the manatee?" that's pretty good. And I like this conversation:

Homer: Moe, I need your advice.
Moe: Yeah?
Homer: See, I got this friend named... Joey Jo Jo... Junior... Shabadoo.
Moe: That's the worst name I ever heard.
Joey runs out of the bar sobbing
Barney: Hey! Joey Jo Jo!


When Homer steals a "Who" concert from "New Springfield" an angry Moe is heard to say that:

That fat, dumb and bald guy sure plays some real hardball.


I might go with that because it's really clever and it took two rewatches for me to notice it.

I like Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams comedy but when he writes about evolution and pseudoscience and free will he pisses me off. Is it OK if I still think he's funny even if I think he's a bit of a self-important moron on some issues?

- Franklin R.


Absolutely Frankie. In fact, I think you'll find that you disagree with most entertainers if you actually know what they think. Scott Adams has a strange sense of humor, but he is funny, and I think it's probably impossible to separate his humor from his, well, crazy views on certain subjects. Adams is usually brainstorming, in fact, in the unlikely event that he reads this answer he will almost certainly claim that I have no idea what his views are, and that he just writes what he writes for fun, or because it occurs to him. He calls it "Philosotainment."

I think that this is a cop out, but I also think it's a somewhat valuable cop out. It is sometimes useful to pontificate on certain subjects without having to justify everything that you do. Moreover, while I think that Adams may have started writing on these subjects for his own amusement, they now generate a bunch of hits every time he does it.

Whatever Adams actually does think, his speculative views about evolution, about pseudoscientific crap like "The Secret," and about free will are incorrect. (Ed. - I think I have free will, therefore I have free will. Heh.) But he's still a funny guy, and if you're reading a cartoonist to gain deeper understanding of the mysteries of life, well, maybe you need to rethink your priorities.

Have you played the Nintendo Wii? What do you think?

- Arvid E.


I have and it is the wave of the future with regard to video games. It's not just that the motion-sensing controls are novel, it's that they actually work well. I'm a bit of a collector of video games and I have in my possession a game called Samba De Amigo for the now defunct Sega Dreamcast. The controllers for this game are motion-sensing maracas, and even though they barely work it's still super-fun. The Wii controllers work very well, and they're very intuitive, and they really do get you into the game. I'm not surprised that Nintendo is destroying Sony in sales even though there are not many games for the Wii. Even the bad games I've played have been pretty fun just because the physical act of doing something provides a more satisfying emotional payoff than a normal video game. It's not up to the level of playing an actual sport, but it's very impressive nonetheless.

Plus the "Virtual Console" allows you to play old NES, SNES, N-64, TurboGrafx, and Sega games. Nostalgia + increased interactivity = a winner. I'm a big fan of the bowling, and surprisingly, of the boxing.

I put Tabasco Sauce on everything. I think it's way better than ketchup, but it doesn't get enough pub! I know that one of your favorite articles is a feature by Malcolm Gladwell on ketchup. Is there anything like that on Tabasco Sauce?

- Rachel R.


Funny you should ask Rachel, my lovely wife recently forwarded a very interesting NYT's article on Tabasco Sauce and the makers of Tabasco. It contains fascinating info like:

When the peppers are harvested, they are shipped back to Avery Island where they are ground into mash. Salt is added and the mixture is put into old whiskey barrels from distilleries like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam to age for up to three years. (The bright red mash is so corrosive that forklifts last only six years.) After three years, a family member samples the mash and, if approved, it is mixed with vinegar and stirred for one month. The seeds and skins are then removed and the sauce bottled.


And this:

The family has not tweaked Tabasco to shave expenses or lower prices because they make money from more than just the sauce. On Avery Island, a 2,200-acre salt dome west of New Orleans, they mine rock salt, pump oil and natural gas and operate Jungle Gardens, a botanical garden. They also reuse everything, from selling their used oak barrels to selling the seed mash to a company for use in candies.


It's good stuff if you're a sauce enthusiast.

With such a wide open field of presidential candidates for 2008, I was wondering if you have any thoughts about who might have an inside track at the two nominations, and at winning. Obama, Hilary, or other? Do the Republicans have a snowball's chance?

Paul T.


At this early stage of the election I actually find it politics pretty boring. Since I vote using a system of creating gridlock it doesn't really matter that much to me, and at this point candidates rarely say anything worthwhile for fear of saying something stupid or offensive.

If forced to handicap the race I would go with John Edwards, as long as he doesn't pull out of the race because of his wife's cancer. I see an Obama-Hilary war with Edwards coming out clean on the other side. He's southern (important if a Dem wants to win) and he's a good looking guy. I think he wins it all, but like I said, it's far to early to make a credible prediction.

The Republicans have some shot, but they'll probably nominate a bad candidate and shoot themselves in the foot. As far as I can tell no one likes McCain even though he polls well. Rudy will screw up at some point, plus he's too liberal. I think Romney has some chance if he can turn his Mormonism into a positive. Ignoring it will just make him suspicious to the rest of the religious right.

Fred Thompson? No idea. Tommy? Uhm, no.

I'll go with "Other" on the Republican side.

OK, last one...

Why can't I hit lefties?

- Geoff J.


Good question Geoff. It actually seems strange that lefties have a tougher time hitting lefties than righties have hitting righties until you look a little more deeply.

To start with, most people are right-handed. This means that in your developmental years you will face mostly right-handed pitching. Left-handed batters have an advantage against right-handed pitching because:

1. The RHP's release point is across the plate/mound from the LHB's eyes which eliminates the illusion that the ball will hit the LHB on an inside pitch,

2. AND, more importantly, requires that the ball travel farther to enter the LHB's power zone.

You will frequently hear announcers state (correctly) that lefties like the ball "down and in." This is true because when facing a RHP, the farthest distance that the ball can travel is from the RHP's release point to the low-inside corner against a LHB, giving the LHB more time to react and allowing him to pull the ball.

So, lefties become accustomed to having more time to see the ball than righties, they have more time to turn on inside pitches, and more time to adjust to "down and in" pitching, often unhittable for RHBs.

Righties also grow up facing mostly RHP. For a RHB, an inside pitch takes the shortest possible distance to get from the RHP's release point to the inside part of the plate. Righties need to develop quick wrists to get around on inside pitches. For a RHB, pitches "out and over the plate" are the most attractive because they still allow for decent contact and provide enough time (ie. travel further) to react properly. Righties have the most time to react to outside pitches, but it is difficult to get good contact on an outside pitch and very difficult to pull, so RHBs correctly focus on the middle of the plate, in.

This means that RHBs, in general, must learn to react more quickly, as they will not see the ball as well as lefties.

Lefties feast on this quirk of the game, but when lefties get into the higher levels of the baseball and start to face more LHPs, they suffer greatly. Because LHBs are used to being able to wait a bit longer on pitches, speeding up their swing is challenging, and the effect is multiplied by the fact that the typical LHB's swing is geared to hit "down and in" pitching. An inside pitch from a LHP to a LHB takes the shortest distance to get there, and so completely neutralizes the greatest strength of the LHB.

When a lefty faces a RHB, the natural assumption would be that the RHB would pound inside pitches for the same reason that LHBs crush inside pitching from RHPs, but by this point your swing is fairly ingrained. Righties like the ball out over the plate and cannot simply adjust to inside pitching on a whim. LHPs can still be effective by busting RHBs inside even though the ball takes longer to get there. RHBs do enjoy an advantage against LHPs because they have better vision against them, and balls thrown middle-in still take a bit longer to get there, but the difference is not as pronounced as it is with LHBs.

This difference is magnified as players get older and start to lose bat speed. A LHB, for instance, Geoff Jenkins, who sees a serious decline in bat speed, will still be able to compensate against righties due to the natural advantages (sight lines + more time), but typically he will lose all ability to hit lefties as he cannot catch up to their pitches. Righties, on the other hand, decline against RHP and LHP at a fairly constant rate. As righties naturally develop faster swings/quicker reactions, and prefer the ball to be in a more central location, their declines are not as exploitable.

So, if it has ever struck you as odd that lefties struggle more against lefties than righties do against righties, now you know why.

Here's a helpful picture of the difference between a RHP busting a righty inside (the blue line) vs. a RHP busting a lefty inside (the red line). If you connect the end points of the two lines you get a nice right triangle, and the righty-to-lefty line is the hypotenuse, ie. the longest line.



OK, that wraps up another EC mailbag.

*This is a lie.

Labels:

Free Ipods!

Oh, those lucky Michigan schoolchildren.

We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.


And here I am paying for my own iPod like a sucker.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rick Vaughn Glasses Night

This deserves its own post. I don't know how they got this together so quickly, but tomorrow's game at Miller Park between the Indians and Angels will be "Wild Thing" Rick Vaughn Glasses night. Just click on the "promotion asterisk" on April 10th on the schedule to see for yourself.

More Baseball At Miller Park

This should be interesting:

Worried that unseasonable weather would prevent the field in Cleveland from being ready this week, baseball moved the Indians' series against the Los Angeles Angels from Jacobs Field to Milwaukee's Miller Park, which has a roof......Games on Tuesday and Wednesday between the Indians and Angels will be played at 7:05 p.m. ET and Thursday's game will be played at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Specialization

Hypothesis:

As information technology gets better presidential candidates will become better looking at the expense of intelligence, but the importance of "smart people around him/her" will increase. The candidates job will be to win elections, the counselors job will be to run the country.

When you are choosing a candidate in 2008, become familiar with the candidate's crew as well as the candidate.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Shift In Daylight Savings Time Saves No Energy

From Reason:

Other than forcing millions of drowsy American workers and school children into the dark, wintry weather three weeks early, the move appears to have had little impact on power usage.

"We haven't seen any measurable impact," said Jason Cuevas, spokesman for Southern Co., one of the nation's largest power companies, echoing comments from several large utilities.

As Reason subscribers already know, Berkeley doctoral candidates Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff predicted as much. Bottom line: People do indeed use less energy during sun-filled evenings. Problem is, they more than make up for it during cold, dark mornings.

Opening Day, Part 2

On the Saturday prior to opening day I got food poisoning at my wife's birthday party (NOT from my wife's cooking, mind you) and then my Chevy broke down on Sunday. This made getting to Milwaukee rather difficult, and inspired me to write a country song, which sucks, because I hate country.

As a result I got to experience the luxury of railway travel, and I must say that I'm a fan. I hopped on the Amtrak Hiawatha Line with about 25 other people on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, kicked back, sipped a cranberry juice, slept a little, brushed up on my baseball reading, and arrived in Milwaukee feeling very refreshed. I actually ended up with my very own train car. It was way better than having a limo. They even serve booze.

While I'm theoretically against Amtrak and its rather large government subsidy, as long as it does exist I may as well derive some benefit from it.

Once in Milwaukee Danny picked me up and I met up with some friends from law school at a bar where we ripped on our one friend who couldn't make it this year just because he has a newborn baby.

Wuss.

This was made more shameful by the fact that one of the guys who did make it has a Catholic wife and like 17 kids. He managed to get there, no problem.

We all have assigned tasks for our opening day tailgate. I get the beer (obviously), someone else gets chips and dip, brats, etc. Our absent friend? He brings an onion. Fortunately we did not go onionless this year as our chip guy stepped up to the plate.

I had to take it easy beer-wise due to the sensitive stomach, but it was still a good time. Fortunately watching baseball sober is not nearly as bad a fishing sober, contrary to popular belief. Ben Sheets pitched a gem, they pounded out 7 runs, and nobody from my party was ejected.

I should also mention that private portable toilets and lawn games (Washers, Bolo Toss, Cornhole, etc are becoming more ubiquitous at the tailgate. I was especially impressed and disgusted by our neighbors bathroom setup. (They also brought their own bar. Not just the booze, but a physical bar.) It consisted of a bucket, a seat, a long rubber tube, and a tall tent. The toilet went in the tent, and the rubber tube went into the sewer system. Number 2 was banned, obviously. You can wait in a big line to use the John while tailgating, or you can offer a buck or two to any private bathroom owner. Good stuff.

Now my stomach is more or less back to normal, and I'm heading back up to Milwaukee for Brewers/Cubs on Saturday, which should be a brutal (but fun) rivalry this year. Plus, Easter Brewer games have been great in the past.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Opening Day

Best day ever? Maybe. The Crew looked sharp as a tack in their 7-1 opening day win over the Dodgers of L.A. Ben Sheets pitched a complete game allowing just one run on two hits. The first 7 batters in the Brewer lineup got at least one hit. J.J. Hardy was three for four, Gee-off Jenkins broke the game open with a solid two-run double in the 4th, and Billy Hall (who looked quite comfortable in his new position in center field) added a dinger in the 6th.
Here's Me, the Roomie, Matt G, Local Celebrity Dan, and MFB in the parking lot at approximately 10:00 am.

Billy Hall puts the last nail in the Dodger's coffin.

The New Chorizo struts his stuff in the Sausage Race, but the race belonged to the Polish.
It was a great day to watch some great baseball.


 
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