Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Random Thoughts during the MLB All-Star Game

I have been so MIA lately, that I feel the need to blog, and blog big. And what is bigger than the annual baseball classic? The answer is, well, several things. But I'm going to do it anyway. I'm not sure how to set this up so I'm a gonna jump right in and live blog while I watch.

NL lineup being announced, Edward Mujica looks Amish. I assume you capitalize the A in Amish, but I'm not sure. It's not a religion, I guess it's more like being an eskimo. Should that be capitalized?

I can't believe that both JJ Hardy and Chris Tillman of the Orioles are all-stars. Hardy is batting .251 and Tillman has an E.R.A. that's almost 4, was there no one else deserving?

Yadier Molina has a sick neck tattoo. I don't think there is a scarier thing you can do to your body than get a tat on your neck. Throw in a bandana covering your mouth and I'm terrified. If you compare today's gangstas to the gangstas of the 80's, there is no comparison. I'd deal with a guy in a Raiders baseball cap any day of the week.

Matt Harvey starting this game is cool. I have become a very big fan, especially after watching this bit on the Jimmy Fallon show. Classic, very cool dude.

2013 American Idol winner Candace Glover? Granted, I don't watch the show but how is it possible that I have never even heard that name before? Pretty talented kid though.

When are we going to replace Joe Buck and tim McCarver? Buck is such a tool. He just said "no duh." And McCarver seems like he was just rescued from a senior center.

Tom Seaver is about the throw out the first pitch. Admittedly, I don't know enough about his career. Let me look it up. 12 x all-star, 3x Cy Young, 171 complete games and 311 wins. Those are some intense stats.The Mets traded him for Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn and Dan Norman. They spiralled out of control and finished in last place the next 3 seasons.

Mariano Rivera is the absolute tit. Its pretty cool that the AL team is focused on winning this game for him.

Mike Trout leadoff double. Cano HBP. This Matt Harvey guy stinks. Cabrera strikes out on a wicked slider.  Cano being taken off the field, he's done. This could be potentially devastating for the Yankees. It could single handidly end their season if it's serious. It could also single handidly change my thoughts on Harvey. Davis flies to center. Bautista strikes out. Harvey is back and better than ever.

This Chevy Silverado comercial makes me want to buy a pickup truck and I hate pickup trucks. Well done ad wizzards.

Got a phone call and by the time I was off the NL was mowed down 1-2-3.

Tom Seaver has one of the most horrendous shirts on now. It's all butterflies. I'm dead serious.

AL down in order. I'm starting to get bored.

How is Chris Sale 6-8 with an E.R.A. under 3? Thats bonkers. NL down in order too. I don't know if i'll be able to finish my 6 pack if it keeps at this pace.

Kershaw dealing, one down. Ken Rosenthal is talking now, but I don't know what he is saying, I can only see red. He needs to get punched. Speaking of needing to get punched, Pedroia steps up to the plate.

X-Rays negative on Cano's knee. Remember, negative = good.

Bottom of the 3rd commencing. Sale vs. Tulo. Sale vs. Cuddyer. Sale vs. Harper. Inning.

Tyler Corbin for the NL. First bit of action in a while as Cabrera takes him to the gap for a standup double. No outs, lets see if the AL can plate a run. Davis rips a single to right, Miggy holds at 3rd. Bautista hits a deep fly to center. AL is on the board, 1-0. Double play to end the inning.
AL 1 - NL 0

Beltran leads off the bottom half of the 4th with a single off King Felix. McCutchen pinch running, steals 2nd. Moved over to 3rd and now Wright has to drive him in with 2 outs. He does not.

Adams Jones leads off the 5th with a laser double off Cliff Lee. Mauer sneaks a single through the left side, runners at the corners. Hardy grounder up the middle, almost a nifty DP, but instead it's an RBI groundout. Trout ends the inning with an executed DP.
AL 2 - NL 0

3 more outs.

Jason Grilli seems like a cool dude. It's almost impossible not to root for the Pirates, I can get behind this run even though I don't think they're going to sustain this Cinderella season.

3 more outs.

Bottom half of the 6th, Balfour in. Harper down. Carpenter up. This Balfour/Carpenter matchup is what we've all been waiting for. Boo, fly out. HUGE letdown. McCutchen K's. Inning over. The music of Phoenix plays them out. You don't know what that means? Neither does Bill O'Reilly.

Walk, double play, strikeout. Moving to the bottom of the 7th.

Sick play by Machado to nail Goldschmidt at first to start the inning.Cecil in to pitch to Domonic Brown and mows him down. With that crazy shift, I still don't get why guys don't bunt there. Leyland managing this like it's game 7, another pitching change. Delabar pitching to Posey. Sweet splitter to get Posey swining. I will now go back to not knowing who Steve Delabar is.

Perez leads off the 8th with a basehit. I can't wait until this game is over. Pheralta bloops a single, two on, no out. Torii Hunter is at the dish against Kimbrel. Battle of guys I dig. 6-3 DP, runner moves to 3rd. Mariano warms up and is ready for the 8th. Kipnis doubles to deep left, AL up 3-0. Inning over.

Neil Diamond on to sing Sweet Caroline. Not sure I am on board with this development.

Maybe I missed the explanation, but why is Mo pitching the 8th instead of the 9th?

First batter faced is Segura. He grounds out to start the inning. Allen Craig up and hits a rocket to LF, snagged by Gordon. 1-2 now against Gomez. Not exacty murderers row this inning. Grounder to short, inning over. Slightly anticlimactic, thanks to Jim Leyland.

Leadoff triple by Prince Fielder in the top of the 9th doesn't get the AL another run. Moving on to bottom of the 9th for Joe Nathan.

First two up, first two down. Comes down to Goldy against Nathan. He launches a loooong double. I really wish I kept him in my fantasy baseball league. I'll never get over it. Pedro Alvarez time, another fantasy castoff. Popped him up. Game over.

Sale gets the win, Rivera gets the hold, Corbin gets the loss, and I get the award for worst blog idea ever.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Navigating the 2013 Newport Folk Festival

 Like last year, I'm going to try to outline how I'm going to navigate this year's Newport Folk Festival.

This year the Newport Folk Festival announced their lineup in rolling fashion instead of the whole lineup at once.  I thought there were pros and cons to doing it this way.  The biggest pro though was that it gave me ample time to listen to a band I wasn't overly familiar with without being overwhelmed with having to do the same with the other handful of bands I was going to need to spend some time with prior to the fest. 

As the lineup was rolled out, I knew I was excited to see (in no particular order), The Mountain Goats, John McCauley, Jim James, Father John Misty, Colin Meloy, Trombone Shorty, The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers. 

But since the announcements ended I've immersed myself in mostly artists who were playing the festival and started to look forward to acts like Hey Marseilles, Kingsley Flood, The Last Bison, Phosphorescent, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Houndmouth, The Long Bellow, Shovels and Rope and Lord Huron.  At one point I purposely stopped listening to NFF bands in fear that I was starting to like too many of them and I was setting myself up for some conflict disappointments.

But now that the schedule is out and I've had a day or two to sit with it, this is how I plan to navigate this year's festival:

2:30pm - 3:15pm
The festival immediately kicks off with a big conflict.  This comes down to Hey Marseilles and Kingsley Flood.  I like both of these guys but over the last few weeks Kingsley Flood's Battles has become one of my favorite albums from anyone playing at this festival.

3:35pm - 5:50pm
I'm going to head over to the Harbor Stage to see The Mountain Goats.  I've been in to their latest album since it came out but I'll probably cut out of that set a little early to try to catch the end of Phosphorescent since I'll be heading over their anyway.

6:10pm - 7:05pm
I plan on seeing John McCauley's whole set.  I'm a fan of Deer Tick and his other side projects so I'm hoping to hear him break out a song or two from Middle Brother and Diamond Rugs.

7:10pm - End of Day
I'll take the temperature of the group.  I'm going with two kids (1 and 3) so if it's not time to go yet I'll head over and see Old Crow Medicine Show.

11:45am - 2:30pm
I'm positive I'm starting my day off with Hurray for the Riff Raff but from their it becomes a mess.  The Lone Bellow and Houndmouth are a pretty big conflict for me.  I'm probably going to lean Houndmouth being that Penitentiary is a top 5 songs I most want to hear at the festival.  So ideally I'll be able to hop back and forth through the tunnel and hear some of Rayland Baxter and The Lone Bellow before settling in for the Houndmouth set.

2:30pm - 3:15pm
Bounce back over to Shovels and Rope and catch 45 minutes of there set while preparing to come to the cruelest conflict of all.

3:25pm - 4:55pm
I celebrate Jim James' entire catalog.  MMJ, his solo, Monsters of Folk and New Multitudes.  So it's a no-brainer that I'll be at the Fort Stage for the start of his set.  The shocker of all shockers for a big Jim James fan like myself...I am going to leave it early for Father John Misty.  Probably.  I do like Jim James solo but based on his other festival set lists, leaving early means I'm probably missing Wonderful or Bermuda Highway and one of his Monsters of Folk songs.  Luckily I saw a Jim James solo set in Philadelphia earlier in the year so it takes the sting out a little bit.  At the same time though, I'm seeing Father John Misty in NYC three days before Newport.  Fear Fun is my favorite album of 2012 and it's probably every 4th album I still listen to.  Being that I will have seen them both prior means that I can probably stop driving myself crazy with this decision and just go with the flow.

4:50pm - 6:15pm
There is almost a half hour between Father John Misty and Colin Meloy so I'll go over and catch some Trombone Shorty.  From there I'll decide whether or not I want to do one more bounce back and forth between Trombone Shorty and Colin Meloy at the Quad Stage.  Because there is no way I'm not going to be at the Fort Stage again at 6:15.

6:15pm - 7:30pm
The Avett Brothers were the announcement that really put this festival over the top for me.  I've been a fan for a few years and I saw them a few years ago at Mountain Jam and was really looking forward to the next time I was going to see them live again.  Just a great live band.

Sunday for me doesn't have as many "must-sees" for me as Friday and Saturday which honestly might be a nice change of pace.  It'll allow me more freedoms to just go where the wind takes me and bounce around to a few different sets.  I do know that I'm planning on catching a lot of Black Prairie and Lord Huron.  The act I'm most looking forward to on Sunday is The Lumineers.  Their debut album is great from beginning to end.

Newport Countdown Playlist

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yasiel Puig and the MLB All Star Game

I normally don't care about the MLB All Star Game.  Sure, as a baseball fan, I'll peek to see who made the team when it's announced but that doesn't mean I'm going to watch it.  The one interesting debate regarding this year's All Star Game is on the candidacy of the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig.

Puig has played in only 27 of the Dodgers 82 games thus far (roughly 33%) but since his call up, he has had arguably the best 27 game start to a major league career.  He's hitting .443 with 8 home runs and 21 runs scored and his tear is still going strong.

So based on only 27 games, does Yasiel Puig deserve to be on the National League All Star team?  Is it fair to another player who might be deserving and has played the whole year?  For me, my answer is yes.

Now if a similar situation happened in 2002, my answer is different.  Once Bud Selig (stupidly) made the All-Star game determine home field advantage for the World Series, roster fairness became a little less important.  I understand that Puig doesn't have the sample size where you're confident he'll keep this up in the second half (and he definitely won't), but the National League is trying to win this game now.  So what if after the All-Star game Puig hits .150 with no home runs and never plays in the majors again? So what if 2013 is a year we look back on and laugh when we see Puig's name on the All-Star team.  The All-Star game is, first and foremost, a game for the fans.  Yasiel Puig has captured the imagination of baseball fans in first his 106 at bats.  Couple that with the fact that there is something at stake in the All-Star game, why not capitalize right now on using MLB's hottest player? It seems to me that his inclusion on the roster should be a no-brainer.