June 14th, 2009

Double Rats!

The Birds...

...got me up again at 4:30*. I stuck a foam plug in my ear, buried my other ear in the pillow, and briefly fell back asleep until 5:00. Then it started raining, which quieted the birds somewhat but brought it's own form of noise, and my back started complaining, and I was up for good. Now I have coffee.

* A couple of weeks ago I purposely got up before dawn to look at the Venus-Mars conjunction, and the racket outside was incredible. It's one thing to hear it solely from the direction of the single open window in my bedroom, and quite another to be out in the open in a neighborhood surrounded by evil thicket. It was a very Tippi Hedren moment.

It was the same story yesterday, albeit without the rain. I just don't get it. I don't have this problem on weekdays. Just on days when I don't set the alarm, apparently. When I do set the alarm, I may briefly wake up in the vicinity of dawn, but then I roll over and go back to sleep until it goes off at 6:25. And then I hit the snooze button and sleep for another nine minutes. Stoopid brain.

Here's another terrific Posnanski post, this one on the battle between writers and editors.

Andruw Jones feels he was disrespected by the Dodgers, especially owner Frank McCourt, last season.

"He wasn't standing behind me, I think," Jones said, adding that if McCourt had shown him more respect, "I almost definitely would be part of the L.A. Dodgers right now."

This from a man who signed a contract for $36 million dollars, then showed up massively overweight and out of shape for spring training. Who batted .158, with an OPS+ of 34. OPS+ is on-base pct. plus slugging pct. normalized for ballpark effects. An OPS+ of 100 is average. Jones's OPS+ last year was one of the worst in baseball history. There are a lot of pitchers who have had better seasons with the bat. And the only reason it was even that high was because he did manage to walk every ten plate appearances or so.

The Dodgers dumped Andruw in the off-season, but are still on the hook for the rest of the $36M. Jones hooked on with the Rangers, showed up to camp in shape, and his OPS+ currently sits at 125. I'm with McCourt on this one. Andruw deserves whatever lack of respect can be heaped upon him. He basically defrauded the organization of $36M. I haven't disliked a former Dodger player so much since Darryl Strawberry decided to put his salary up his nose.

So, no Andruw, you wouldn't still be part of the Dodgers. The Dodgers currently have not one, but four outfielders better than you. Even Juan Pierre is a better player than you. Say what you will about his failings as a hitter, when he got sent to the bench last season he didn't sulk, he just made sure he stayed prepared for when he was needed.

Ups and Downs...

The weather continues to play havoc with my riding routine. I only managed to get one ride in during the week, sneaking one in Wednesday during a brief gap in the raininess. Not only was it wet, but it was also chilly enough that I had to layer up for the ride. Even wore my full fingered gloves, and was seriously considering the ear clamp. Doesn't Mother Nature realize that the summer solstice is next weekend?

Then the weekend finally arrived, and with it came some warmth. Well, humidity, mostly, which made the high sixties-low seventies temperatures feel a little warmer. Yesterday when I rode it was in shorts and a t-shirt, and I was still sweating like crazy. I've been pushing myself a little harder on individual rides lately, because I haven't been sure if I'm going to be able to ride two days in a row. My average speeds have been going up, and yesterday I was flying. Broke 14 mph for a 16 mile ride. The last time I broke 14 mph was in 1993, and that was only a 12 mile ride on my old road bike. Go me!

When I woke up this morning it was pouring, and the forecast was for rain most of the day, so I assumed there'd be no ride. But it cleared up some around noon, and although it was still mostly cloudy, it wasn't actively wet. It was cooler than yesterday. My legs were a little sore, too, but I still managed a pretty good pace. The path was jammed with people, although not many acted as speed bumps. As my legs unstiffened, I was feeling pretty good. Then I rounded a curve and nearly rode head-on into a couple of tweens riding on the wrong side of the path while looking at everything but what was in front of them. If it had just been the two of them, I would've just gone to the left side of the path, but their respective fathers and a couple of their sibs were riding there (like they were supposed to). I couldn't go right either, because that part of the path has a tall fence on that side. So I put on the brakes.

Have I mentioned how well the new brake pads I had installed last month work? Because they work great. Came to a full stop just short of hitting the suddenly wide-eyed kid who'd just frozen in the path when he saw me. That should've been it, but when I tried to put my foot down on the ground to steady myself as the fathers started yelling at their kids, it got stuck in the toe clip. I lost my balance and fell off the bike sideways into the fence. The fence kept me from hitting the ground, and apart from some slight bruising of my forearm, I was fine. The parents apologized profusely, but I was more embarrassed than anything, and got going as soon as the kids cleared a path.

After that, the ride spiraled downhill. There was more speed bump behavior by another family clump, and some sprinkles started coming down, so I cut the ride a little shorter than I'd planned. When I got home I mowed the lawn instead.