Thursday, October 28, 2004

R.I.P., Bambino

What a marvelous run. After such a thrilling comeback against the Yankees, Boston's World Series win seemed almost like a let-down, since they didn't get much resistance from the Cardinals on their way to taking the title and forever putting to rest the years of nonsense about the curse.

But both the ALCS and World Series wins were impressive. The ALCS was such an emotional roller-coaster, such a thrilling ride. But the Series was impressive in another way: the Sox dominated the entire thing, never even allowing St Louis to lead once. Think of all the heroes, as there always are: Mark Bellhorn becoming as dominant an offensive force as Manny Ramirez. David Ortiz channelling Barry Bonds. Keith Foulke proving that closers just have to be good, not throw their arm off. And of course, the Curse of the Bambino can be replaced by the legend of the Bloody Ankle.

St. Louis looked like a good team coming in, but they were on the wrong side of a tide of changing history. Congratulations Boston, and you may now rest in peace, Mr. Ruth.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Stretching to God Bless America

Paul at Nice Guys Finish third says he's tired of "God Bless America" in the 7th innning, pleading "Please stop policitizing my baseball!" I suppose that means we should do away with the National Anthem at the beginning, too?

No, the reason to stop singing "God Bless America" during the middle of the 7th inning is that continuing to do so trivializes the sentiment that started us singing it in the first place. It has stopped being an expression of our solidarity in crisis. It seems like it's just another opportunity for celebrity showcasing. To continue singing it dillutes, I think, the poignancy of the song, and the solemnity with which we remember September 11th.

In addition, the 7th inning stretch has traditionally avoided a serious tone--we stand up, stretch, belt out a low-brow bar tune, which is more fitting for some fans depending on how many beers they've consumed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ouch and Ouch and Random thoughts

Boston's down 0-2 in the ALCS. No biggie, right? Only they've lost behind Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. Ouch and Ouch.

I've said nothing about the M's end of the season, because I've been very busy, but a few quick thoughts:

-It was great to see that big grin on Ichiro's face. What a great moment, and great to hear Neihaus call it. Ichiro is an exciting player to watch and a uniquely talented hitter, and those things should be honored, not disparaged. What other kind of player would have been able to break Sisler's record? Nobody intelligent is suggesting that more players should be like Ichiro, but just being different from other players isn't good reason for calling into question his talent or accomplishment.

-I saw The Double live. I have never been so ecstatic or so unable to hear myself scream at the top of my lungs. What a great "greatest moment" of a great career.

-Props to Bud Selig for naming the DH award after Edgar. That's a huge HOF endorsement if I ever saw one.

-Polical season is in the final rounds, too, and I'm still one of the few swing voters. As for last nights debates, Bush should be ashamed of his unwillingness to raise the minimum wage, and Kerry should be ashamed of himself for putting his head in the sand about social security. Neither of these issues are going to turn the election, but neither position is defensible, as their remarks last night proved. If I were president...well, heck, as long as I'm dreaming, I'd like the M's to sign Beltran, Beltre, and Clement this year, and fire their color commentators.

Friday, October 01, 2004

File Under "Society:" Reaction to Debates


I have yet to see or hear anyone mention that Bush looked at the camera a lot more often than did John Kerry, except during the closing statements. I wondered afterward if this was an intentional move of the Kerry camp, trying to "save the best for last," so to speak. But more likely, Kerry just didn't remember to look up into the camera--it's too bad for him, because a major goal was to present him as a kind of person people should trust, and like.

For all the people that can't stand Bush's style, there are an equal number of people who are put at ease by his folksiness. Though Kerry isn't ever going to appear as down-home neigborly as Bush does to some people, he still could appear more approachable than he has. That could happen by showing a little bit of humor, but the subject matter last night wouldn't allow that. His lack of "eye contact" with the TV audience obviously didn't ruin his performance, as polls seem to indicate a slight win for Kerry.

But people often have a hard time looking you in the eye when they aren't telling the truth or aren't sure what to say, and this perception could reinforce, subliminally, some voters' questions about Kerry's consistency. Bush came across as sincere in part because (ironically) he looked at the camera so much. Kerry certainly didn't appear insincere, but he'd appear more personable if he looked at the camera, too.

Overall, though, it was a good debate, for both candidates, I think.