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, May 05, 2006

Know Thy Enemy: The Giants 

The San Francisco Giants come to town for a three game set. Welcome to the traveling freak show that has become Barry Bond’s pursuit of Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.

I feel bad for Giants fans. I always liked the Giants in the past, and I rooted for them in the ’89 Series. It’s a team with a great past playing in a great city (my wife and I stayed there for two days after our wedding on our way to Hawaii and thought the city was beautiful). Sadly the Giants have had the toxic personality of Barry Bonds infecting the team since they signed him. Bonds ego-maniacal pursuit of Ruth and Aaron's records and his own self-gratification have sullied the game, and they have sullied the Giants. This team has disintegrated into Bonds ego. The Giants have become eight guys and a maniac playing in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the MLB.

At the moment the Giants are hanging around, playing .500 baseball in arguably the worst division in baseball. Heck, who can argue? It is the worst division in the MLB. The Giants seem to be playing without any heart or interest these days. The reason why is that the Giants are an old team: Omar Vizquel is 39. Moises Alou is 39 as well. Steve Finley is 41. Mike Matheny is 36. Bonds is going to be 42 in July … Ray Durham is comparatively young at age 34 … The age is showing. This team was put together to try and win the World Series back in 2003 and 2004. Those days are long gone. Alou, Vizquel, Finley, Matheny all know that their best days are behind them and that they are doing little more than punching the clock on their way to their retirements.

The Giants aren’t really doing anything particularly well these days. Despite having Bonds (.537 OBP) in the lineup they really aren’t getting on base with that much success: .338 OBP, compared with the NL average of .335 … Again, despite Bonds they aren’t slugging well: .596 slugging percentage and .327 ISO for Bonds, compared with the team averages of .399 and .137 …

Pitching-wise, the Giants look weak: Jamey Wright, Jason Schmitt and Matt Morris all have FIP ERAs well over 4.00 … In fact, the Giants have the worst ERA in the NL, almost a full run higher than the Rockies. Cough. Worse than the Rockies. Let that digest for a moment. Even the G-men’s FIP ERA doesn’t change the situation much: they are still one of the worst in the NL.

The Phillies, meanwhile look like they are starting to hit some sort of stride: sure, they are middling in terms of offensive production. But since when have the Phillies done better than the league average in FIP? (Phillies: 4.10 vs. League: 4.40) Sure, the Phillies have played lousy defense (last in DER), but we know they’ll get better. I think the Phillies are playing some hungry baseball and are poised for a breakout with this five game winning streak. The Giants look like a one-man show and even that is faltering.

In short, take Bonds out of the equation and the Giants look like a bunch of weaklings. Given that this will probably be Bonds last campaign, I shutter for Giants fans thinking ahead about 2007 and 2008. The cupboard is bare, fellas. This could be a sweep.

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A typical dictionary definition of hypnosis states that it is: a state that resembles sleep but that is induced by suggestion. However, anyone who has tried hypnosis (and any self respecting hypnotist) will tell you that this is a very simplistic view of the subject!
A much better description comes from the Free Online Dictionary which states that hypnosis is: an artificially induced state of consciousness, characterised by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction. So what does this mean and how can it be used to your advantage?

Well, the subject of hypnosis has been discussed and pondered since the late 1700s. Many explanations and theories have come and gone though science, however, has yet to supply a valid and well-established definition of how it actually happens. It's fairly unlikely that the scientific community will arrive at a definitive explanation for hypnosis in the near future either, as the untapped resources of our 'mostly' uncharted mind still remain something of a mystery.
However, the general characteristics of hypnosis are well documented. It is a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, deep relaxation and heightened imaginative functioning. It's not really like sleep at all, because the subject is alert the whole time. It is most often compared to daydreaming, or the feeling you get when you watch a movie or read a captivating book. You are fully conscious, but you tune out most of the outside world. Your focus is concentrated intensely on the mental processes you are experiencing - if movies didn't provide such disassociation with everyday life and put a person in a very receptive state then they would not be as popular (nor would TV advertising be as effective!). Have you ever stated that a film wasn't great because you just couldn't 'get into it'???
This works very simply; while daydream or watching a movie, an imaginary world becomes almost real to you because it fully engages your emotional responses. Such mental pursuits will on most occasions cause real emotional responses such as fear, sadness or happiness (have you ever cried at a sad movie, felt excited by a future event not yet taken place or shivered at the thought of your worst fear?).
It is widely accepted that these states are all forms of self-hypnosis. If you take this view you can easily see that you go into and out of mild hypnotic states on a daily basis - when driving home from work, washing the dishes, or even listening to a boring conversation. Although these situations produce a mental state that is very receptive to suggestion the most powerful time for self-change occurs in the trance state brought on by intentional relaxation and focusing exercises. This deep hypnosis is often compared to the relaxed mental state between wakefulness and sleep.
In this mental state, people feel uninhibited and relaxed and they release all worries and doubts that normally occupy their mind. A similar experience occurs while you are daydreaming or watching the TV. You become so involved in the onscreen antics
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