Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Last Post of Mourning




Then I swear we'll get things back to normal around here. Whatever that is.

I'm not sure this should have a special place in general TCE lore. Yes the Indians were up 3-1 and all they had to do was win one of their next three to advance to the World Series, but the series did go seven. And the odds of the Red Sox winning three in a row are about the same as the Indians winning three in a row - which they did. And let's not beat around the bush either: the Red Sox were a better team. True, they spent about $100 million on that better team, but that's neither here nor there.


Others are pulling their hair out for the obvious baserunning gaffe in game 7 where Kenny Lofton could have easily scored and tied the game at 3-3, but was inexplicably held up by third base coach Joel Skinner. While I'm not at all defending the play, some are suggesting that this would have so changed the trajectory of the game that the Indians wouldn't have gone on to give up 9 more runs. That's not true, the Indians were dead before the ship even sank on this one.


No, that's not what's bothersome about this collapse (lowercase). It's not that they lose three straight. It's not that they left a run off the board here and there. Here's what's bothersome: They got absolutely nothing from their best players. They managed to win three games despite not getting any production from their two best position players, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, and nothing from their two best pitchers, CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. If they had gotten even just one great performance or even a couple average ones, they could have won the series. And that's what was so awful to watch on Sunday night.


Believe it or not, I would have actually been - I don't know if "comfortable with" is the phrase I want - understanding (?) if the Indians went down getting "normal" performances from their best players. But instead, the Indians' four best players all simultaneously came down with a case of the jitters.
So while it's no shame losing to the Red Sox, those four individuals should be ashamed at their performance. The saving grace is that they'll surely get a chance to redeem themselves in the near future.

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That's all I can write about this abysmal end to the 2007 Indians season, so I'll let the rest of the bloggers take it from here. Starting this week, we'll get back to our regular programming. And I do apologize for the shitty blogging the past couple weeks. I know you readers demand more than just Cleveland Indians updates.

Anyway, here's the best of what's out there on the Indians season end.


Steve Buffum.

I do not want to wax poetic on the nature of The Cleveland Experience, or to acknowledge the fickle essence of the short series. I want to give credit to the Red Sox, and I congratulate the Indians on a fine season, but I do not feel these things. I feel like my team, and I say my team intentionally, as if I have an organic attachment to them even while acknowledging logically and objectively that no such thing exists ... that my team was presented with an opportunity to succeed in a situation in which NONE of MY TEAMS has EVER SUCCEEDED ... never ... not once ... ever ... and not only did not succeed, but almost went out of their way to NOT succeed. And this is not simply a lamentation of opportunities missed or any sort of attribution of character (here I will be explicit and rational: the men who make up the Cleveland Indians were not weak or cowardly or otherwise deficient, but rather should be applauded for their fine play this season: I have this much perspective) or anything, but rather something that is hard to express. I wanted this championship. I wanted it very badly. It had nothing to do with me, and I still feel emotionally bereft. It isn't rational. It isn't reasonable. It is how I feel.


Brian McPeek

But she has come to understand that the season starts again every spring and that I'm still here every night where I'll always be. She's become a bit more hardened to the nature of the game and players coming and going. She's become very appreciative of the feeling that a ninth inning win can bring and in the value and the beauty of a well-turned double play. In short, she's become an educated and die-hard Indians fan.

And that's what makes last night's sudden death of a dream all the more difficult to take. Because those tears weren't from a child who had just lost a toy. Those were the tears of a true-blue Indians fan mourning a lost opportunity and a chance to share greatness in some small way. And while it was difficult to try and explain to her the concept of perspective while she was wearing the jersey of the Indians catcher who was crying in his own dugout, I did my best.

And I promised her tickets to Opening Day 2008.

Because that's what we do here in this city. That's who we are.

And I've raised a baseball fan. Those tears tell me there is victory in defeat.


Kissing Suzy Kolber

Boston fans fail to grasp a standard rule of sports fandom, which is: Any team that wins a title that is not your team is fucking annoying. It doesn’t matter how the other team won. They’re not YOUR team, so they can eat a fat dick. Fuck this “appreciating” other teams shit. Normal fans don’t do that. At least Cowboy and Yankee fans have a solid understanding of just why people can’t fucking stand them.


Gary Benz

This is a young Indians team that needed its leaders to step up when things seemed darkest. It's hard to gauge, but the failures of these two could linger well into next season. Look what's happened to Alex Rodriguez. Even if the Indians make the playoffs next year, the story line will focus on Sabathia and Hafner and their 2007 failures. Can they handle that additional pressure? It's a question that will be asked until adequately answered on the field.


God Hates Cleveland Sports

The Indians turned not into a pumpkin but a tomato can in Game 7, as we took a punch in the stomach, a smack to the head, and an uncalled shot to the groin all in order. Down we go, crumpled in a heap, once again waiting for next year.

The Cleveland Sports Animal

This team was supposed to be the team of destiny. All year, they always seemed to come through in the biggest of spots. They brought the magic back to the Jake. They seemed to possess that un-quantifiable "grittiness". Maybe that isn't the right word, but oh well. Even tonight, it looked as if they were never going to give up. Westbrook was lucky to only give up 3 runs, and the Tribe was beginning to chip away. Then the Boston bats came back out against our best reliever. And that was that, the end to the 2007 season.


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(note: here are my predictions way back in March. Check out how awesome I am. I nailed 7 of the 9 playoff teams (yes, I'm counting San Diego as a playoff team).)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Well That Was Fun

Oh wait. No it wasn't.

Actually I'm writing this in the bottom of the 3rd inning. The Indians are only down by two runs, but I'm so confident of the Indians' futility ever since Game 4, I'm sure those two runs will stand up.

Even with hours to go, I'm already writing the obit on the Indians' season. They simply rolled over and died like I didn't think was possible in Baseball. In Football and Basketball I could see how a team could be deflated emotionally or physically, but in baseball I don't think I've ever seen a team just up and call it quits like the Indians did this series.

Even when the Yankees had the greatest choke of all time in 2004, you can't really say they quit. The games were close and the Red Sox had a great deal of luck in that outcome. There was no luck involved here. Ever since the 7 run outburst in Game 4, the Indians have just been hacking at the ball, I guess just assuming that good things will happen.

Red Sox just scored again. Three-zip.

Anyway, as I was saying, baseball teams don't usually give up as a collective. It takes nine individuals to construct a batting order, and it's bizarre that all nine would just fall asleep like this.

And the Indians best two pitchers, their supposed aces, the one-two punch just flat out laid an egg.

Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and publish this post, here in the 4th inning, because I'm that certain of the inevitable Indians' demise.

I should end the season positively: they are a young team who have most of their best players locked up for a while and will probably be the second-best team in the American League for the next few years. So thanks for the memories Tribe, and of course, bringing down the Yankees is always good for a laugh. Until next season....

Friday, October 19, 2007

MP3 of the Week: "Sad Sad City" Edition


I don't think I need to explain this one. Needless to say, I think I'll be a whole lot happier and healthier when these damn baseball playoffs are over.

Ghostland Observatory - "Sad Sad City"

(Ed. note: I was told I look thinner today. That's what happens when you don't eat and throw up every night.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Music + Baseball + Statistics = DMS Post!

From Nate Silver's recent Baseball Prospectus chat:

bnjoiner (NY, NY): Alright then, how much did you pay for In Rainbows?

Nate Silver: £3.21

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TheDumbSmartGuy (Cambridge, MA): Regarding In Rainbows...better or worse than the Pitchfork-ordained 9.3?

Nate Silver: It's sort of the Derek Jeter of records.

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Conor Glassey (Woodinville, WA): If "In Rainbows" is the Derek Jeter of records, what is the Dustin Pedroia of records?

Nate Silver: Early stage Belle and Sebastian, which means that he's going to wind up being overrated in a few years.

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hankchinaski (DC): Does that make Iron and Wine the Casey Blake of records?

Nate Silver: I'm not sure, but with that beard and all, Blake definitely looks like the sort of guy you might run into one night at Empty Bottle or Nick's Beergarden.




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(Ed. note: This will have to do until DMS has a chance to fully review RH's In Rainbows.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

MP3 of the Week: "Multiple Estimates" Edition

Funny thing about owning a house and something needing repair.

The first estimate comes in and you think "holy shit. I can't afford this" (*begins drinking heavily*).

Then when another estimate comes in, significantly cheaper than the first, you're more than happy to pay the people. You almost feel like they're paying you. Even though you're still schilling out hundreds or thousands of bucks. But you feel like they are.

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We apologize for the recent lack of an mp3. But since there was no outcry from our legions of loyal readers, we didn't feel particularly prodded to recapture its glory immediately.

Magnolia Electric Company - "What Comes After the Blues"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Gnats Hate the Yankees Too


"They aren't really biters -- more of a nuisance."


Hell yeah they are.

Apparently, it's a type of "midge" that gets the assist in the Indians' victory tonight. They bugged Joba Chaimberlain until he gave up the tying run on a wild pitch, presumably caused by those little fuckers messing with him.

God bless those little midges.

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Also, we regret a lot of things we say around these parts. Sometimes, once we sober up, we have to make amends.

After our tirade yesterday you'd think we'd make such retractory statements.

Particularly when it came to light that Our Own Lebron James, the Chosen One, who grew up in Cleveland, wore a damn Yankees cap to last night's game IN CLEVELAND!!


And he continues to profess that he's a Yankee fan. This is just a total bitchslap to the face of Cleveland, especially considering he's not signing an extension and his looming free agency will dominate the 2007-08.

So then, does Dear Mr. Supercomputer mean it when we say such things as:

"If you root for the Yankees, you are probably a prick."


Does this mean that Lebron James, who we pen odes to, is a prick?

Probably.

(Note: but don't think for a minute we won't be praising the Chosen One once basketball season starts. That's just how we roll.)


Update: Check this shot out.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Hate The Yankees


I seriously hate the Yankees. Virtually all non-Yankee fans do too. And even Yankee fans should hate themselves. If you root for the Yankees, you are probably a prick. At what point in life did you look at that franchise and say, "yeah, I like the way they can outspend every team by millions and ensure a place in the postseason every year" or "wow! With all those advantages at the outset, I'm sure they'll be great!"

Is it even fun to root for the Yankees? I don't know any real Yankee fans so I don't really know. I just know that I hate those pricks.

This is a matchup of two teams, one with a $200 million payroll and the other with a $60 million payroll. One of the teams features Roger Clemens, who signed for about a million dollars a start. The other features Joe Borowski, who will probably lose a game or two by himself.

Yankee fans are arrogant assholes.

I'll be so glad if the Indians sweep them and end the series in New York, with Alex Rodriguez getting showered in a chorus of boos from those stupid, selfish pricks in Yankee stadium. I hope Yankee manager Joe Torre gets fired. I hope that Derek Jeter joins the Peace Corps.

Man do I ever hate the Yankees.

Even more, I hate Major League Baseball's kowtowing to the richest franchise(s) around. They think they have no financial basis for putting this shit to an end. They think (rightfully, to a point) that if the Yankees aren't in the postseason, they'll lose a crap-load of money. And they're right, sorta. At least, until you realize that the NFL has vastly overtaken baseball in terms of money and prestige largely on the basis of universal competitiveness. The NFL realized long ago that the league is better off and more healthy if everyone is competitive. And in turns it means more money in their pockets.

MLB is run by a bunch of douchebags.

But that totally digresses from my original thesis: God do I ever hate the Yankees.

The media fawns all over them. Vegas has(/had) them at 2/3 odds to win the series over the Indians, which is a total crock of bullshit. No team in baseball should ever be favored by more than some fucked up fraction like 4/7ths or something. Forget the fact that they're pitching blows chunks and the Indians have probably 4 of the best 6 players in the series. The same people telling you shit like "pitching wins championships" are the same fuckers who are saying "playoff experience means something."

Like hell it does. And you can take your postseason experience and shove it.

See, those assholes get off on name dropping "Jeter" and "Rivera" into their lackadasical, unfounded writing, while ignoring "Carmona" and "Sabathia," arguably the two best pitchers in baseball this year. Or "Betancourt" or "Garko."

But that's ok. I don't mind the media putting the Yankees as ridiculous favorites despite winning fewer games in an easier division. Again, dragging the media into this distracts me from my original point: I hate the Yankees.

I hate their fans. I hate their players. I hate their history. People want to wet their pants when clips of Babe Ruth come on, never minding the fact that even way back then, they had a financial advantage like no other franchise did.

The only Yankee whom I do not hate is Reggie Jackson. And that is because he attempted to kill.... the queen.

In a related story, I will argue to the death that Kareem Abdul Jabar is the greatest basketball player of all time.

But every other Yankee I absolutely detest. And as much fun it's been watching them crash and burn in the postseason the past few years, it ticks me off that I know that next year, I'll be watching them in the postseason again, dicking around. Because while they're dumb enough to still not be the best team despite the biggest payroll, they're not dumb enough to not be one of the best four teams in the American League. No one is that dumb. They can at least spend their way to a wild card every year with no thought involved.

Yes, the Yankees can go screw themselves. I hope they get humiliated in Games 2 and 3 like they were in Game 1, where they basically gave up after 5 innings. Because I and every self-respecting human being hates the New York Yankees.

They're almost as bad as the Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How Much Will You Pay?

This big music-related DMS news this week was not the (eventual) arrival of the The National's Boxer and St. Vincent's Marry Me, which took for freaking ever (thank you Amazon.com). Nor was it the KC and the Sunshine Band that I played after the Browns beat the r*vens.

No, the big music news of the week is that Radiohead is releasing their new album, In Rainbows, on October 10th. But not only that, the only method to get it is via download at their site. But wait! The real amazing thing is that you can name your own price. (The website assures you: really!)

That sort of shuffling sound you just heard was record company execs shitting their pants.

While it's probably not the gloom-and-doom scenario that some execs and countless musicians are predicting / hoping for, it's if nothing else the first shot fired across the bow of a decaying business model.

I've read varying figures, but artists get something like $1.50 to $2.50 for every album sold. That means when you pay $13 for a CD, more than 80% of your money is going to someone other than the artists: the record label, the packaging, the music store, iTunes, everyone takes their little piece.

So if consumers can name their own price, Radiohead would only have to average a donation of a few bucks per person to exceed their financial gain over releasing it via a record label. Also, even the people who choose to download it for $0.00 could be a possible financial gain: it's not as if these people would have paid for the CD anyway, and they might be inspired to go buy a previous album, see a show, or buy a T-shirt. Almost like those damn samples at the grocery store. I'm always like, "Sucker! They're just giving me free food!" and then I end up buying their product because it's good. I'm the sucker.

While it would probably be foolish for a lesser known band to do something like this, established bands with a worldwide, loyal fanbase could pull this off.

It immediately reminded me of a chapter in Freakonomics where Dubner and Levitt chronicled a bagel maker who left a box of bagels and asked everyone to pay a dollar. The bagel maker kept scrupulous notes, giving an insight into some fundamental questions about humanity: Are we basically honest? When are we more likely to be honest? What occupations are likely to be most honest?

And sure enough, yesterday on the Freakonomics blog, Steve Levitt entreated Radiohead to allow him to sift through the data of what amounts to an historic social experiment.

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There are so many ways to appreciate this endeavor: musically, economically, socially. So I leave it to you, the reader: how much will you pay for the new Radiohead album, In Rainbows?