October 5th, 2008



For the Cub fans out there, one of the finest baseball songs ever written, Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request":

The Dodgers polished off the Cubs last night, 3-1, sweeping the series. Because the media was so invested in the Cubs as a team with a hundred year-old destiny, most of the stories about the series are going to be about how the Cubs choked, but if the Cubs choked on anything it was the pitches the Dodgers pitching staff were shoving down their collective throat. Just a tremendous performance by the team as a whole and the pitchers in particular.

And it was not really as much of a surprise as some in the media are making it out to be. Yes, the Dodgers were mediocre (or worse) for much of the season. But this is a much different team than the one that limped along through May, June, and July. Much has been said about the trades that brought Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake to the team, but there were a lot of other differences, as well. For one, Andruw Jones was finally shown the bench after posting one of the ten worst performances by a batter in the history of baseball. Juan Pierre was likewise shunted aside in favor of Kemp and/or Ethier. The return of Rafael Furcal, on the DL with back surgery from the beginning of May until just last week, finally plugs the enormous sucking offensive hole at shortstop that opened up in his absence.

Meanwhile, the pitching has been the best in the National League, something the media seems to keep missing in all the caterwauling about the collapse of the Cubs. This excellence has been especially so since Brad Penny finally admitted that he'd been hiding shoulder problems all season so as not to hurt his chances at a contract extension. He was unceremoniously dumped onto the 60 day DL to make room for Furcal.

All this leaves the roster the strongest its been all season. The season was incredibly frustrating until about a month ago, But right now it's a fun time to be a Dodger fan.


What the hell happened to the sunny day I was expecting?

I think I can safely say that I've switched over to a winter bicycling schedule (i.e., few rides and far between). The combined machinations of mother nature, UPS, and newegg.com kept me off my bike for eleven days, but I finally got a ride in yesterday. I'd hoped to get in another today, but there's all this precipitation going on. Feh!

The newegg thing annoyed me greatly. I ordered a new monitor from them. UPS tried to deliver it to my house, but newegg required a signature, which of course I wasn't there to give, because, you know, I work for a living. So I went on UPS's site to change the delivery to my workplace. Except the site didn't give me that option. So I called up UPS and asked to have the delivery shifted. The customer service rep told me that they couldn't do it because newegg wouldn't allow it. My only option besides taking a day off from work was will call. I said, fine, lets do that, and she said she'd take care of it. The next night I drove up to Warwick after work to pick up the package, but they didn't have it. Apparently someone at UPS saying that they'll have the package taken off the truck for will call doesn't mean that someone will actually follow through and do it. The man behind the counter assured me that he'd personally see to it that the package would be waiting for me the next night. And he came through, but it didn't make me any less aggravated with either company for making me waste all that gas and two perfectly good evenings for bike rides.
Warp Speed!

Friday Night Culture

Friday night I went out with friends to see another friend in a production of "The Kitchen Witches" in Willimantic, CT. The play was fun, a light, attractive entertainment about two cooking show divas forced by circumstance to share a single community access TV show. Friend Dale was terrific in her part as one of the divas. This was her first non-musical (although she and her co-star did sing the cooking show jingle), and her first starring role. Very exciting.

The ride to and from was interesting. For those unfamiliar with New England geography, Willimantic is in the middle of frelling nowhere, and although there's a decent road heading out that way from, say, Providence, you just cain't get there from down here. So it was fifty miles of back roads each way. It actually wasn't a bad ride. The roads were in good shape, and there was very little traffic, owing no doubt to the fact that there's absolutely nothing of interest between here and there. Did you no that there's a hamlet in Rhode Island named Rice City. I didn't until I drove through it, and I've lived in these parts for more than thirty years. It even has a wikipedia entry.

I also drove through Scotland, which is a town in Connecticut. It's just east of Westminster and Canterbury, and a bit north of Baltic, Hanover, Versailles, and Lisbon. Props to those early Connecticutians and their mad European geography skilz. Gave the ride sort of a euro flair, ya know.