Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Mets vs. Nationals

I actually watched a fair amount of the rest of Washington's series in Queens. On Saturday, Andrew and Peter and I saw the beginning over brunch at the alehouse, and then Peter and I watched the rest at my house while we threw a little wheel truing party. El Duque! Fun game.

I only saw the first three innings of the night game, but that included Hanrahan's triple in his first big league at-bat, so no complaints. I also only caught the first three innings of Sunday's game, but I guess that was more than half the game. Maine was looking good.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mets vs. Nationals

Moises Alou was back in the lineup, and did okay. My boy Joe Smith has got his ass sent down to New Orleans. And Jorge Sosa had a lot of trouble. 6-2 to the Nationals, not a good look.

The announcers on SNY were hilarious. I guess one of the regular dudes is on vacation, and the fill-in guy seemed fine, but he and the other regular announcer were just sort of sniping at one another the whole time. I mean, sort of subtle stuff, like "Ron would know this," "I know I'm not Ron, but..." So good.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mets vs. Pirates

First pitch at noon, and I was all set to spend a couple hours working in my living room while watching my Mets finish their sweep of Pittsburgh in the background. No such luck! Oliver Perez was doing so good, but then it all went to hell, and there was nowt to be done. My man Joe Smith pitches so cool, but he sure does seem to give up hits whenever he comes in to relieve (nullus). What was it, 8-4 by the end? Bummer.

I liked the shots of the Citi Park construction crew watching the game from the work site. I didn't so much enjoy the shots of John Travolta and Robin Williams, who I guess were actually shooting some crappy scene there and not just enjoying the game. Actually, that could explain the loss...I can't think of a better pair of harbingers of doom than those two.

Monday, July 23, 2007

World Cup Image

I had this idea for my Softball World Cup post, but after dicking around in Gimp for a few minutes, couldn't figure out how to realize my awesome vision. After describing the concept to Peter, who is some sort of Photoshop genious, he recommended using a layer in "Multiply" mode. I gave it another shot today, and now behold, the World Cup:

World Cup

Yes, I'm hilarious. Extra laffs since none of the players in the event that inspired it even wear cups. Maybe the umpires or coaches do. I was also initially a little distressed by the US-centric Earth shot, with America front and center. But actually, that's perfectly appropriate for the event, which has always been completely dominated by the US.

Cyclones vs. ValleyCats

Yesterday my friends Peter and Jen had tickets to the Cyclones, and Peter and I went down separately and met them to watch Brooklyn defeat the Tri-City ValleyCats, 7-3.

I was there early, so I enjoyed a beer in the bar out in front of the ballpark, and watched the end of the Yankees 21-4 victory against Tampa Bay. What the fuck.

When Peter and Jen got there and we went to find our seats, I was still hungry from the bike ride, so I immediately chomped down on a foot-long:

Footlong hot dog with mustard.

Other friend Peter met us a short while later.

The game was cool. Moises Alou started, on rehab assignment from my New York Mets, and played I think eight innings. He got at least one RBI...can you get an RBI while hitting into a double play? So that was cool. I decided to root for reliever Greg Mullens on discovering that he's Canadian and a Columbia alumnus (nullumnus), but then he gave up the first run. Ah well.

Also during the game, they periodically announced our Mets' progress in their extra-innings game at Los Angeles. They managed a win, ending the three-game series 2-1.

After the game we rode the Cyclone, which is insane. I don't do a lot of roller coasters, but this one seems exceptionally violent. Or maybe I'm just getting old. But it was fun. And then Peter and I biked back.

The best way of getting between Coney Island and South Brooklyn by bicycle is sort of an open question, and so we're always trying new routes. Peter's innovation this time was to use the quiet residential streets just East of Ocean Parkway, and it was very fast and safe, so I think we're getting close to nailing down the ideal route.

Back in the neighborhood, we met Andrew at the bar. When I left, my front tire was flat. I should have time to change it before I need to go anywhere else.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mets vs. Dodgers

Last night we hung out at friend Max's house after watching the new Harry Potter. I was so sure they'd be watching the baseball game that when I came in and they weren't, I sort of demanded it be turned on. Then I missed the three winning runs because I was out on the deck talking about the time I watched all three Lord of the Rings extended editions back-to-back and ate like a Hobbit (breakfast before the first disc, second breakfast before the second, elevenses before the third, &c.). I'm all sorts of stupid. But it was fun and my dear Mets of New York got their win.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Video Games

I actually have sort of liked baseball video games longer than I've liked baseball. Which is to say, just slightly, and more in theory than in practice. When my parents got an Apple deuce computer, one of my dad's friends gave him this whole box full of pirated games, and one of them was called like "Ultimate Realistic Baseball Simulator" which for some reason (I was and am retarted) sounded so awesome to 10-year-old me. And it was one of these games where you select the teams and press "enter" repeatedly and there's these primitive graphics and text showing you what's happening, but you don't actually do anything other than make substitutions and call for bunts. Like, no action, just statistics. Horrible. It's not at all like playing baseball, it's like watching baseball, but you can't see the awesome plays and it's not even real baseball.

But then eventually I had a Nintendo and there was that awesome softball game where one of the players was a witch and used a broom instead of a bat. And also Base Wars. Basically I liked any baseball video game aimed at the crucial gay sports fan audience.

So now that I am a baseball fan, and I own a computer, I thought I'd get a read on the current state of baseball video gaming. The first thing I found was that the most popular baseball game on the PC was something called Baseball Mogul. And so I shared it from the internet and it was exactly like the stupid Apple game. The graphics weren't even much improved! What is it with baseball fans? I have a theory about this, but I'll save it for another post. In any case, it was terrible.

And then I did some more research and found out that there are no action-oriented baseball games for the PC because the team and player info is all licensed exclusively to some company that only makes, like, Play-station games. (Which is a ridiculous business move since, duh, baseball dorks do not have Play-station, they have fucking Windows.) So the last game before that deal went down was called MVP and was for 2005, so I shared that and it's pretty cool. The mod to update the rosters to 2007 broke it, but then I reinstalled and it doesn't even matter since I don't know all those players anyway.

But yeah, it's really hard. I can swing but have never got on base (nullus), and I can pitch into the strike zone but have never gotten a strike. I don't think I've even tagged anyone out: all my outs are from when the computer team hits a fly ball and the computer moves the appropriate fielder underneath it. All the instructions I can find for the game are for the Play-station version, so they're all talking about analog sticks (nullus) and whatnot, so I have no idea what I'm doing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yankees vs. Blue Jays

I just had the game on while I worked this afternoon. Mostly I ignored the game, but it got pretty dramatic at the end there. See how quickly the hated New York Yankees lose their lead!

Mets @ Padres

I've been staying up pretty late this week and needed to crash early, so with first pitch at 10:05, I didn't make it past the end of the 6th, going to sleep with the Mets down by four. I didn't have much to complain about, really, because they were just getting shut down by Greg Maddux. Homeboy can really toss it (nullus), nothing to be done about that.

The rally and loss would have been exciting, but ah well. Also kind of sad to see the winning run scored off of Joe Smith, who is really fun to watch (again, nullus).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Softball World Cup

One nice benefit of working from home is that while (read: instead of) working, I can watch TV all day. I actually don't really do this, but today I noticed that there was a fastpitch softball game on ESPN, so I watched that. The USA beat Canada 7-0, putting them in the championship for the World Cup. It was pretty neat, and while I got the sense that the announcers were deliberately avoiding the word "baseball," they also did a good job of pointing out differences between the sports for those who aren't familiar with softball.

Some aspects of the game seem a little goofy to me (the double first base is a good example), but other details are really appealing. Because the softball pitch is a "natural" motion that doesn't stress the joints, pitchers only need to recover from muscle fatigue, so it's much more feasible for pitchers to play for a full seven-inning game: the US national team only needs five pitchers on staff! I also like the symmetry to the types of pitches: a curve goes one way and a screwball the other, there's a riser and a sinker, and there's a changeup. So simple.

ESPN is also hilarious. Why are half the commercials for home security systems? Because watching sports on television correlates inversely with the ability to achieve erection, is my guess.

Update: This game was a rerun, and was actually played on Sunday. The US had already gone on to win the whole "World Cup" (actually the "KFC World Cup," so I'm not sure how legit it is) by the time I watched them beat Canada.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mets vs. Reds

I caught the first couple innings of the Mets game on TV before social obligations drew me away. I think I've got scorekeeping figured out at this point. The stupid thing about it is that the plays that require the most documentation are also the ones where you really want to just put your snacks down, stand up, and watch the play, and instead you're hunched over writing it all down. And then during the pauses in the action, you don't really have much to do, so your mind wanders.

I said before that keeping score reminded me of rolling up stats for an RPG character, but after spending a little more time at it, it's actually more like filling out a tax return: I think it's sort of fun and satisfying in a way, but I wouldn't want to do it every day, and probably wouldn't at all unless someone was making me. And any anxiety you might have about missing a play while in the bathroom or whatnot is just compounded when you feel like you have to be there to document every single (literally!) thing, or you'll be audited.

It was tied at deuces going into the bottom (nullus) of the third when I left to meet my friends for The Day the Earth Stood Still in the park. It was fun, and then we had some beers, and then I was pleased to come home and find that my much-celebrated New York Mets had triumphed over the Red Communists of Cincinnati.

Update: My Seattle Mariners stepped up against the Tigers last night as well. The video of that play is worth watching. Not even sure how I'd score that one on paper.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Midsummer Classic

I started watching the All-Star Game at home, and was going to keep score until it was time to meet friends for dinner. I hadn't planned on the thing not even starting until nine, so here's the half inning I was able to record:

Notice how I've omitted who was actually involved in the double play.

And actually, I wouldn't have been able to score the whole thing anyway, with all the substitutions. Dumb idea, Travis!

Cartoon Baseball

When we were growing up, my brother Nate would always talk about a funny cartoon he'd seen when he was really little, where someone had thrown a "slow-poe ball." He specifically remembered the boast, "I'll get 'im with my slow-poe ball."

At some point, we caught a Woody Woodpecker cartoon where he's at a baseball game, and we were sure it must have been the one he remembered. Someone did throw a sneaky slow pitch, but there was no line about a "slow-poe ball." Mysterious!

A couple weeks ago, I happened to come across a blog post about a Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Baseball Bugs." So while we were on vacation in tropical New Jersey, I found it on YourTube, then located a torrent for a Woody Woodpecker anthology from which I downloaded just "The Screwball," and we watched them both. Mystery solved: the line is Bugs's, and what he actually does is "perplex 'im with [his] slowball."

Anyway, here's the videos:

Interestingly, Bugs and Woody seem to have studied some of the same tactics.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Wrecking Crew

Last Friday, one of the political bloggers I read mentioned and recommended John Albert's memoir, The Wrecking Crew, about being an LA heroin junkie getting his life together, playing amateur baseball with a bunch of similarly troubled thirtysomethings. It was a quick read, and reasonably engaging if not actually very well written. I wish there had been more baseball and less name-dropping, but maybe at least the latter just comes with the LA territory. The emotional content is also pretty trite. I wouldn't really recommend it, and comparisons to Trainspotting are really overstating the book's quality.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cyclones on TV!

I wasn't interested in the home run derby, so I'd planned on reading my book while I had dinner at a local Mexican joint. To my pleasant surprise, the Cyclones were on TV! I guess with no big league games, SNY had decided to show some local ball. I caught the last three innings in their loss to the Jamestown Jammers (nullus!). For some reason my beloved Brooklyn Cyclones were wearing what appeared to be St. Patrick's Day–themed uniforms. Maybe their regular ones were at the cleaners?

One thing I noticed on the close-up shots that I hadn't seen at the live game was that when these kids put someone out, they're visibly happy. You can tell they're just totally psyched to be playing pro ball, and they can't help but break into a huge grin after making a catch or striking out a batter. Great stuff.

Also, I noted at least three very questionable calls in Brooklyn's favor. Really hope it was a coincidence rather than conspiracy. I looked up the standings and the Cyclones are above .700, so they really don't need the aid of any biased umperialism.

Later, I went to the bar and met up with Peter, who'd seen part of the home run derby on the TV at the gym. I guess the participants chilled out on recliners between rounds...on the field! Weird. We ran into our friend Francis and talked baseball.


At Sunday's game, Kate and I had tried to figure out what the shorthand used to report on batters' previous at-bats meant. We figured out HBP and 1B easily enough, but BB and FC? So I spent my Monday morning reading about scorekeeping and the afternoon trying it out, watching the archived TV broadcast of the Mets' Sunday loss in Houston and following along on paper.

I used the scorecards and tutorial at Christopher Swingley's site, more or less following his conventions. It was kind of difficult to pay attention to every little pitch, so my pitch and strike counts were always a bit off, but otherwise I think it was an alright first attempt.

There were some tricky moments, too, like when Dave Williams gave Carlos Lee a 3-0 count with two outs and a runner on second, and then decided to intentionally walk him. I recorded this as an IBB, but I'm not sure if it technically was, since only the fourth ball was intentional. Then in the eighth, Scott Schoeneweis threw a wild pitch on his fourth intentional ball to Lee, advancing the runner on second. I recorded IBB on Lee's line and the WP on runner Hunter Pence's, which makes sense to me.

I wouldn't say the whole process is fun, exactly, as much as sort of stressful and annoying. And filling in little boxes totally flashed me back to my (non-sexual) role-playing days. I completely don't get how you're supposed to be able to handle this while also participating in the other requisite activities such as beer drinking, eating peanuts, and making fun of the people in nearby seats.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Yankees vs. Angels

Kate got her boss's tickets again, and we went with our friend Ryan to see them play the Angels once more. This time I brought my camera, so I can explain to people how nice the seats are. Here's Derek Jeter up in the bottom of the first:

Yankees vs. Astros

It was so incredibly hot, I can't even explain it...I made the right choice taking the train rather than riding my bike, even though it meant spending the time getting my clock cleaned by Kate in Scrabble. J/k, it was trill fun.

This time round, the Yankees fared a lot better, though there wasn't a lot of tension after they established their 10-run lead in the fourth. Wang really is fun to watch (nullus), and there were plenty of cool home runs. I think in the eighth, some guys near us started The Wave and it went around the whole park, both decks, three whole revolutions. Pretty damned impressive.

Sneaking Peeks (nullus)

I went to several assorted barbecues and parties on Saturday, and periodically checked the television to see how the baseball games were progressing. I was pleased to see the barbarous Yankees go down to Los California Angeles (nullus), but I kept quiet.

Peeping in on the epic Mets game, I did happen to catch the last two outs of the bottom of the 14th, including Beltran's ridiculous catch. What in the fuck. I didn't see much of the actual game, but someone did let me know when the Mets took it. Amazin'.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mets @ Houston

Peter, Andrew and I met for dinner at a local restaurant. Peter had been watching some YourTube vidieaux about drawing comics, and the Mets game was on, so he drew a little baseball comic while we ate. Andrew was tired and went home early, but Peter and I stayed to watch the rest of the game. My precious Mets of New York trounced those hapless dummies of the Houston Astros.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Napkin Drawings

Peter made a little drawing of the 4th of July on a bar napkin on Tuesday (Independence Eve), and then started doing other little sketches of fun summer things. I did a couple too, including a baseball one.