Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Friday, April 30, 2004


I got to watch the end of the Cards-Phils game yesterday on ESPN. It was a real heartbreaker when Edmunds shot left the field. I really can't fault Bowa for leaving Telemaco in: he didn't look that tired and seemed to be pitching well. I thought Millwood hurled well too: I had been concerned that he was a little off this year.

Well, 4 out of 6 on a road trip is pretty good. I think we can climb past Atlanta this weekend against Arizona: Padilla might have a rough time against Randy Johnson on Saturday, but I think that the Phils pitching staff is a cut above the D-backs staff. I guess expect a lot of homers, particularly if the weather is good.

Thome will hit a few, I'll bet.

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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Puddy - Edmonds: Separated at Birth? 

Anyone ever notice how much Jim Edmonds looks like Seinfeld's Puddy?

I just noticed that.

Anyway, so far Millwood looks awesome (as I write this, just six hits in 6 2/3 innings work against a dangerous lineup). Nice to see a starter go deep into the game. I don't think that Larry should go to Billy to close this thing out: his arm has got to be tired.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

A tale of two baseball games: 

Myers looked awful for the first four innings, but Madson (who is presenting a strong case for being added to the rotation) and Wagner shut the Cards down.

Innings / Baserunners Allowed
Myers: 4 / 9
Madson / Wagner: 5 / 1

Hard not to be impressed, though again I worry that Bowa is resorting to Wagner solution too quickly. Larry, we are going to need Billy in September and October.

The rest of the Phillies lineup seemed to play well: Glanville leading off? I know it worked out well tonight, but Byrd deserves to do more than simply pinch-run. (Note: cagey strategic decision to insert Byrd for Bell in the ninth.)

Hmmm, ever since losing the home-opener the Phils have gone 8-4. Interesting.

Things are looking up…

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Favorite Baseball Books, Part III! 

John Heylar's Lords of the Realm is outstanding. It is a look into the business-side of baseball, with a particular focus on the modern, free-agent period, for which finances have become far more complex, as are the labor issues the game faces. The book's basis thesis: that money isn't everything, provided that it is spent wisely, is a point driven home by the Oakland A's. Heylar wrote The Lords of the Realm far before the Yankees began their late-1990s run of dominance, so his tales of disasterous free-agent spending by teams in the 1980s doesn't quite ring as true in 2004 as it did when the book was written in 1995. (Remember Bobby Bonilla, Mets fans?) The book is mostly a story of owner arrogance than big money (a.k.a., "Yankee") dominance of the American Pastime.

Michael Lewis' Moneyball is, of course, on my bookshelf, courtesy of my fiancee. I've read the first chapter, a profile of A's GM Billy Beane circa 1980. I'll get around to it one of these days, but probably after I finish studying for the bar exam this summer:

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What a terrific win!  

This is just the sort of game that we’ve been hoping for all season: Abreu, Thome and Burrell all hit well (Burrell’s 4-4 with a walk was terrific) and the bullpen really closed down a dangerous Cardinals lineup. (Although, maybe Larry should lay of using Wagner for a while: surely they didn’t need him to close a four-run lead.) Burrell continues to build, at a minimum, a case for Most Improved Player, and he’s starting to maybe make a few people talk about MVP. That was a terrific game: getting on base five times, the terrific catch and throw in the fifth … hard not to be impressed.

On the downside, Burrell only has five extra-base hits (and two were last night). His slugging percentage hasn’t been that good. He needs to hit a few more dingers.

Today’s Marquis – Myers matchup might be a wild ride. The Phillies may need to score 7-8 runs to have a shot with the way that Myers is pitching.

Give me a minute on my soapbox, fellas: I hope that everyone who is a registered voter with a party got out and voted yesterday. (I presume that most of my readers are Pennsylvanians.) I don’t care who you voted for (I hold my own views on politics close to my vest), but- not to sound like your high school civics teacher -democracy only works when people actually bother to participate. People in South Africa were so excited to have free elections in 1994 that they waited in lines for hours. If we don’t bother to vote then we live in a country like pre-Saddam Iraq, where people are scared into submission and the government is unaccountable and corrupt. I understand that turnout was pretty good (especially due to the Specter – Toomey battle), but I hope that everyone plans to turn out in the fall as well. Alright, thanks indulging in the little speech.

I hope everyone have a great day…

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Thome is off to a swift start. April, 2004: .344 BA / .429 OBP / 5 HR; This is unusual for him because his slowstarts are fairly predictable:

April 2003: .227 BA / .347 OBP / 4 HR
May 2003: .297 BA / .418 OBP / 8 HR

April 2002: .210 BA / .363 OBP / 7 HR
May 2002: .330 / .458 OBP / 7 HR

Thome usually builds on his Mays with even stronger Junes. I hope it doesn’t portend for a late-season cool-off.

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$ can't buy ya love... 

That Angels – A’s battle looks to be pretty good. I just read the first chapter of Moneyball, so my love of the A’s has been reinforced, but the Angels look like one of those rare teams that upgrade via free agency and actually win.

I thought that the 2002 Mets cured teams of the money-buys-you-love mentality. (Although it is looking like the 2004 Yankees are doing that.)

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Snow in the 'Burgh!  

The Pirates – Astros game tonight was called due to snow.

Yes, dear reader, snow.

I can testify as to how cold it got in the ‘burgh today: it is almost May, and I’m wearing a thick, long-sleeved shirt. After Pittsburgh / Wexford I think Katherine & I might be moving to Phoenix!

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Monday, April 26, 2004

The Best Week (or so) Ever! (Baseball Edition) 

What Baseball Team is having the Best Week Ever?

Boston Red Sox: they sweep the Yankees and surge 4 ½ games ahead of them. The BoSox look really tough to beat this year.

Close Second: the Marlins. Who would have figured that the fish are this good?

What Blog is having the Best Week Ever?

Redbird Nation. I’m always amazed and impressed by the quality of writing and the insight given to the Cards. The sort of blog I aspire to.

Visit VH1's The Best Week Ever. It is hilarious!

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The Angels swept the A's? 

How did that happen?

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Sunday, April 25, 2004


Last summer I was reading Robert Kaplan's An Empire Wilderness, a "current events" look at how North America is changing in the Southwestern United States and the Pacific Northwest. In his chapter on Los Angeles, Kaplan interviewed the editor of an Orange County (yes, The OC) newspaper about community ties. The editor noted that, because of the transient nature of American life today, people rarely have ties to the communities they grew up in anyone. The editor, for example, was from Chicago, so he rooted for the White Sox instead of the Angels, a team the editor described (this was said back in 1995-1996) as having lukewarm local support.

Reading some of the blogs, and sitting in my school today, I was struck by how many people root (or blog) for out-of-town teams. Technically speaking, I do too: I've lived in Pittsburgh for the last nine years (and I'm likely to continue to do so) but I'm hopelessly devoted to the Phils. One of my classmates, a Pittsburgher, is a Red Sox fan, and has been wearing a beaten up Red Sox cap to class every day for the last three years. One of my best friends is, despite having lived pretty much all of his life in Western Pennsylvania, a huge Red Sox fan. (My fiancée and I went to last June's “turn back the clock” game celebrating the centennial of the first World Series between the Pirates and Red Sox with him and his wife. The previous day's double-header was the first time that he had actually ever seen the Sox play in person.) I've come across three out-of-town bloggers recently: A's Ya'll, Tribescribe and Roses and Rattlers, three terrific blogs done by guys who don't live in same town as the teams they blog for. They root for teams from either their hometown, or places they've never even lived at. Given the transitory nature of American life, this can be taken for granted. (Cable TV helps - thanks to ESPN's West Coast ballgame coverage, I've seen the A's more times this season then I've seen the Phillies and Pirates put together.)

People keep a project a certain identity with teams, which is probably why in Sports Illustrated's "50 states, 50 years" poll, there are more Pirates fans in Pennsylvania because people all throughout the central and northern parts of the state identify themselves culturally with Pittsburgh and not Philadelphia, despite the fact that Philadelphia is a much bigger market.

I think that is the terrific thing about these blogs: they help us interact with our original homes and help us keep connected with our roots. This blog is about the current team, but it is also a little about what made the past, my memories about The Vet and the Phillies, special. (I look at this blog as being two parts The Best Week Ever, and one part I Love the Eighties. Just with baseball ... and not quite as much humor.)

In An Empire Wilderness, Kaplan wrote about how sports teams might bind communities together more than anything else in modern American society. (Off subject, but I highly recommend Kaplan's books, which are usually about his travels in foreign countries. His book Balkan Ghosts is simply amazing to read. Kaplan's dispatches for The Atlantic Monthly are excellant too.) I think that I see what he means: with blogs disparate people have gone out into cyberspace (if that term even used anymore) and they’ve created communities for themselves based on shared interests. It's a good thing for fandom, and a good thing for the game of baseball.

Anyone else out there an out-of-town blogger?

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Two out of three ain't bad... 

I knew we were all hoping for a sweep, but that probably wasn't going to happen. Here are my thoughts on the Expos series:

-At least the Phillies have pulled past the Expos and Mets for third. They should be able to catch up with Atlanta this week and make this a two-horse race with the fish.

-Despite being shut down batting-wise, Padilla pitched well: just two runs and three hits. It was a (statistically) good loss.

-Pat needs to start hitting a few more homers. I'm sure they'll come, but he hasn't had an RBI or a home run in six games. His average has also been declining...

-Phillies fan favorite Ryan Madson is hurling well: after Wagner he has the team's lowest BAA: .200 ... hard not to be impressed.

-The Phillies should have some success this week with the Cards. Their BAA is a very high .268, and they've allowed 25 home runs in 19 games. Game one against Matt Morris might be tough, but count on a bunch of Phillies homers tuesday through thursday. (I bet Thome will get two, and Burrell will get one.) I just hope the Phils pitching staff can keep them in the park. I'd figure on a bunch of 10-8 and 9-7 slugfests...

I had better run: I apologize if my posting these next two weeks is a little infrequent. I have law school exams in a week until May 12. I'll post (it is cathartic, especially when you spend four or five hours a day memorizing Pennsylvania's rules on choice of law, to blog a little), it just won't be with my typical volume.

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