Monday, September 16, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: September 17th

First of all, I'd like to congratulate the Tampa Bay Rays.  Not for winning the division, per se, and not for clinching a playoff spot, since neither one happened yet.  ...but I'd like to congratulate Tampa Bay for proving once and for all that hype is just hype and winning comes from actual team construction -- not from going out and buying a bunch of big names.

For those uninterested in baseball particulars, feel free to skip to the paragraph about Peaches.   Otherwise, read on...

We've seen this time after time in sports... some big shot decides he's going to acquire a bunch of big name players.  Oooh, what a splash!   This is the new sheriff in town!   Watch out for these guys!  Only to see the whole thing blow up in their faces.   Last year this happened to my *own* team, the Dodgers.  Then they wised up and focused on pitching -- got Grienke (yes with a lot of money, yes a big name but at least one still in his prime), then signed a prospect known as Yasiel Puig.  The rest, they say, is history.  Couple that with other contributions from other minor players like Nick Punto, Skip Schumacker, and a solid bullpen with no big names:  Paco Rodriguez, Ronnie Bellesario, and Kenley Jansen.  That's a *team.*

Similarly, the Rays are a team.   They got James Loney for good value, they have Evan Longoria, and a decent pitching staff.  They didn't go out and buy a bunch of big names.   One team that did, in their division?  The Toronto Blue Jays.  and *that* is the purpose of these opening paragraphs.   All along, I felt like the Blue Jays were all hype and no results, and boy would you believe it, I am VINDICATED today.

I put my money where my mouth is and bet Gerry in Piscataway a Chipotle Burrito that the Rays, with a history of developing good talent and building good baseball teams, would outplay the Jays, with a bunch of big headliners who hadn't really experienced the same field together, AND a questionable pitching staff.  R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson never seemed to me like guys I felt were going to take it to that next level this year.  Both were fine in their day, and yes, I know R.A. was incredible on the Mets -- but he's a knuckleballer.   The odds of him producing even a sub 3 ERA again were going to be tough.  He didn't have the benefit of Citi Field either.

Surely the other baseball writers would see this sensibly and find skepticism in the Jays' chances, doncha think?  ...but no!!  All of them took the cheese:

TWENTY out of who knows how many experts picked the "team of destiny" Blue Jays to take the AL East.   By the way, did you notice how all the wild card predictions were other AL East teams?  We aren't even *close* to seeing that play out in the standings.  More proof that the AL East is the single most overrated division in baseball.  ...but anyway, the Jays got served, and I think it's fitting that I finally got something r-i-g-h-t.

Never bought it, never!   When Cap and I (Cap being Gerry) made the bet on whether Tampa Bay or Toronto would have the better record, I felt pretty confident seeing the Rays edge it out.  What I got exceeded my wildest expectations... the Rays not only clinched a better record last night, but blew *away* the Jays in the standings.   The Blue Jays went from a division favorite to a virtual lottery team in three months.  The problem?  Pitching -- as I completely anticipated.  I will concede the Blue Jays have a sick offense but that does nothing for actual postseason contention.  The lesson is learned, and perhaps the so-called MLB Experts might consider the whole and not the parts as we go into these predictions next year.

If I may, here were my division predictions for 2013:

AL East: Rays
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels

...Angels hit the TANK, but to be fair, I did have the A's just two games behind them with 89 wins, and it appears the A's are very close to that division crown.   The other two were also pretty close.  Now who could have guessed the Red Sox would win as much as they did?  I said they'd win 73 total... instead they have *92* with a solid 1.75 weeks to go.  Holy moses right?

For the NL..

NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants

Interestingly, my second place picks for each division were:  Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers.   I didn't get it right per se, but I was pretty close to right! 

I hope you all were able to bear with me while I got out the MLB talk for today's entry.  I know most people read this blog for peach updates and what cookie I ate that day, but I tell ya, on a night like this, which featured the Steelers getting beat by Cincy, baseball was on my mind.

For those who skipped the baseball material, the remainder of the blog continues here:

I do have a peach update!  It's a sad one.   Peaches are starting to run out across the land.  I went to my local store and you could see the bottom of the display stand where peaches would otherwise be.  Kinda like when you get to the bottom of a bowl of popcorn, and see parts of the bowl under the 'corn.  It's a sad moment.  So I went and grabbed as many peaches as I could, then checked out.  Peach season is almost over.

I have yet to see an episode of "MasterChef" or "The Sopranos."  But to be fair, I have yet to see a whole lot of shows, from "The Honeymooners" (may have seen a single episode, ever) all the way up to "The Americans" and I *meant* to see that show too!  Then I canceled Directv, back when I lived at the old apartment.

I need to get back in shape.  I felt really soggy lately and went out and busted out a good swim yesterday afternoon but *damn!*  The water was so warm!  Nobody swims their best in extra warm water.   Especially when doing butterfly, that was brutal.  

The swim was still pretty good, but its merely ONE step in the right direction.  Coupled with good nutrition yesterday:  two peanut butter sandwiches, two bowls of cereal for dinner, fruit, and a smidge of ice cream, I think I'll be back on my way to good shape.

I really want this because there's a swim meet in late October.  I'd hate to be carrying extra baggage when I go up on the blocks.  I mean, how embarrassing would that be?   Ladies need to see a lean and mean me.  

Aight, so on the subject of "lean" how do you guys order your hamburger meat?   There's a lot of different combinations, but the standard is 80% lean 20% fat.  That's my M.O.  When I get burger meat or burger patties I *hone in* on 80/20.  They also have 90/10 which is seriously lean.. maybe too lean... if it's 100% lean none of the grounded meat will stick together.  The fat is like glue for the beef which is otherwise pulverized.  Anyway, 80/20 is the ultimate for me.  Makes the burgers juicy and tasty all at once.

Did you know NFL Referee Mike Carey is like 64??  Coach found out about this on twitter.  That is incredible!   Mike Carey does a terrific job with officiating, and he must be in great shape!

Happy Birthday to Phil Jackson... 908 years old today.  Always a master of the zen, much like Yoda, but with a much taller frame.  Cheers to you and all you do and have done!  Truly one of the greats in NBA coaching.

I have more than often confused "Badfinger" and "Butterfinger" with "Goldfinger."  I wanted to look up a "Badfinger" song but typed in "Goldfinger" and got something completely different.  Then it hit me that the name was "Badfinger."   I finally figured it out, and punched it in on Spotify, only to realize Spotify didn't have the rights to anything from Apple Records.  IN-SANE.  So I went to YouTube to look it up, at long last, and found the song.  It's too bad "Badfinger" was only around for a few years.

I've had weird obsessions with acts that only released 1-2 albums tops, but these short lived groups, as I call 'em, would often put out that 1 or 2 records that were REALLY fun to listen to.  Best examples:  Diesel, the Buggles, the Waitresses, and a very famous example -- Cream.  Short lived groups are a big part of my listening repertoire, oddly.    Nonetheless, my three favorite rock groups are all very long lasting acts:  Led Zeppelin, Queen, and (out of nowhere) Oingo Boingo.  Dude, I love Oingo Boingo, but I get so much flak from everybody about it, and I think it has to do with the ridiculous *name* of the band.  Take the name out, and take in the people who did the music including frontman Danny Elfman and their music was amazing.   It was impossible to categorize, and after a while record companies stopped trying.  Boingo was "Boingo", no other definition.

I think in the beginning, Oingo Boingo, as a rock group, tried to be a ska-influenced ensemble a la Madness, but it became way more than that with their creative instruments and ideas.

I'm happy to report that Elfman himself is still going strong with movie scores and TV themes.  A recent one I can think of is the theme to "Desperate Housewives."   Carry on, fellas.

Can the Dodgers win a game?  I know they got the division locked up but this is really getting outrageous.  The bats cannot hit a lick... it's about half the lineup they had when they were healthy, but what's nice is that Kemp is back.  He pinch hit yesterday to end the game.   He'll be back in the lineup, hopefully.

Cannot *wait* for next week's "Breaking Bad."  Only two shows left. 

That's all from here!  Enjoy your Tuesday.

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