Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rockies in 4!!!

The World Series starts tonight, and I would be so pleased to see the Rockies win in 4. My reasoning is quite different than one might expect. Of course, I'm a dyed in the wool Yankees fan, and any time the Sox lose, I'm a happy guy. And few things would cheer up a Yankees fan more than a sweep by the other team. Any other team.
This year is unusual. The Rockies are riding a 10 game winning steak, and a 21 out of 22 run that has moved them from a wild card contender right into the World Series. Early in September, they were 5 games out, and had almost no chance. They were 2 games out with 2 to go. Yet today, they are in the Series. No baseball team in history has ever had a run like this.

If the Rockies lose the Series, they had a good season. If they win the Series, they had a great season. But if they sweep the Series, it may go down as one of the greatest seasons ever. Other sports have had great teams that have had great seasons. The Dolphins perfect 17-0 season in 1973 immediately comes to mind. And while no team has ever duplicated a perfect season, I contend that 25 out of 26 (with the season on the line every day) would be a greater accomplishment. Football is a team sport. It is rare that one person can step up and make a big difference. A great run is preceded by a terrific block. A circus catch required a throw good enough to be on target enough to be reachable. Anyone remember seeing Ypremian's attempt at a pass in the Super Bowl? Even a great kick requires a front line that can protect the kicker long enough to get the ball through the uprights.

Baseball, on the other hand, is loaded with unlikely heroes. It is part of the fabric of the game.
The most famous may have been Don Larson, with a career winning record of under .500. However, in 1956, this 11 game winner pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. Or Bucky Dent, a light hitting SS (40 home runs in 12 seasons) belted one of the most famed blasts in Yankees history. Or even Brian Doyle (Who?) hitting .438 in the '78 Series. No other sport can boast such outstanding performances by such otherwise obscure players.
At any time, one player can turn around a game. A pitcher can be unhittable. In no team sport can one man have such an impact. So anytime in this run, just one player could have stopped it. Yet, no one did. The longer the streak continues, the more improbable it has become. Just as many have approached DiMaggio's mark of 56 straight games with a hit, no one has ever equaled it. If the Rockies manage, against all odds, to sweep the Sox it would surely go down as the greatest run in sports history. And I'd like that.

But I am sad to admit that if I had to put money on a team, it would be on the Sox. In 6.

But hope springs eternal. Go Rockies!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Man's Quest

I am the ultimate creature of habit. I used to wear the same color shirt every day. I found one light blue one that I liked and bought all the store had. As they wore out, I replenished them with the same style and color. The wife did what she could to mix in some other color shirts, but I hated them, and did my best to thwart her attempts to mess with my style, lame as it was.

My lunches are the model of consistency. I usually eat the same thing every day. It may change month to month, but when I find something I like, I'll eat it for a few months or more. I once had peanut butter and jelly for about a year straight.

I eat the same thing for breakfast Monday through Friday. I have a Stony Brook Farms yogurt. Usually I have Vanilla Truffle, but sometimes the store doesn't stock enough, so I have to eat a Chocolate Underground instead followed by cereal with vanilla soymilk. Sunday is Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Pancakes, with pure maple syrup. Saturday is an omelet, usually with goat cheese and onion, with 2 slices of whole grain toast. All was going well until this Saturday. My toaster broke!!!!

I then spent the rest of the weekend studying toaster sites. I have gone through about a half dozen toasters in the last 15 years, and I was determined not to buy another junk toaster. I was prepared to make an environmentally sound decision, I wanted to buy a toaster that would last me, if not for the rest of my life, at least long enough that I wouldn't feel like my amortized cost for toast was nearly 45 cents each slice. I also decided that I wanted to buy an American made toaster, cost be damned. It was my little effort to support my countrymen, while helping to protect the balance of trade and keep the dollar strong.

But it was not to be. No toasters are made in America. After exhaustive research, it appears only one country, besides China, makes toasters. England is the only other country that I could find that produces toasters. The Dualit line is a hand made toaster made in Crawley, UK. This town in the south of England is the manfacturer of the finest hand-made toasters in the world. Unfortunately, they cost between $280 and $350 each. When making such an investment, I needed to do more research to decide which was the toaster for me. The toaster of my dreams, so to speak. I must have a hand made in Crawley, England Dualit toaster. But then all the important decisions had to be made. I needed to decide on a model. While most ordinary toasters simply come in 2 and 4 slice models, and are usually stainless steel in color. But not Dualit. They offer a 3 slice model, and a variety of colors.

My first decision, of course was the number of slices. 3 would be ideal, since between the wife and I, we eat exactly 3 slices of toast at a time. Perfection. Life would now be in absolute balance.

But I had a new concern. Would a 3 slice toaster affect the feng shui of my kitchen? Everything else is in perfect harmony. Two sinks, four stove burners, two kitchen chairs. Balance. I just couldn't wrap my mind around the concept of a 3 slice toaster. So I shopped at ebay for a 2 slice model. I spent the entire day, hunting for the toaster. I battled for a few, but got sniped on a sweet red 3 slicer. I was willing to live dangerously for a good price. But it was not to be. I got sniped with seconds to go. I then focused my energies on a nice, lightly used, chrome and charcoal model. Again, it was not to be as I gave up at $79.00 for a used toaster.

I pressed onward. I was totally locked in on a nice used, but in like-new condition blue 2 slicer. I even began to call it my new toaster. I put in a solid bid, and then watched in horror as some clown kept nibbling away, driving up the price 3 bucks at a time. 14 nibbling bids later, they appeared to give up. But I worried, so I sat and watched the end of the auction. I kept a window open with a higher bid, just in case, and refreshed the pages every few seconds. Finally, I had shopped victoriously.

I won a manly toaster. Big and brawny. A beast among toasters. According to the website, I can now make 78 slices of toast per hour. I may have to make all the toast in the house from now on. I don't know if the wife can handle that much machine.

Here it is, the Toaster of My Dreams:

Friday, October 19, 2007

What a stupid move by the Yankees!

They let Joe Torre go. The guy has made the playoffs 12 straight years. This year, the Yankees lost in the playoffs. Was it mismanagement? Was Joe at fault for the Yankees failure to hit in the playoffs? Of course not. Could Torre have exected mayflies in October? And why was he not prepared for them? Oy vey! The kid, Joba Chamberlain had thrown one wild pitch all season. He threw 2 in an inning. Maybe Torre shouldn't have put a rookie in that situation, but who else should he have used? Farnsworth? You never know with him. He could be dominant, or he could be like a batting tee. It was too early for Mo. Torre made the right choices, and got the wrong results.
It reminds me of when Zimmer was manager of the Cubs a few years back. He managed contrarily to recognized strategies. It worked, and he made it to the playoffs--what a genius! The next year, it didn't, and he got fired.
Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver was asked how many games a good manager could win for a team. His response? ""Zero." A bad manager may lose a game or two a year, but the best managers win none.
Baseball strategy is limited at best. Certainly, every manager has percentages and "books" available at all times. But belt high fastballs get missed, and "perfect" sliders on the outside of the plate get hit into the upper deck every day.
What does it all mean? Just that if a manager "has the horses" he will lead his team to victory. But saddle him with some broken down 46 year old savior coupled with a bunch of rookies, and throw in some injuries and John McGraw, Miller Huggins and Tommy LaSorda combined can't guarantee a win, let alone a World Series title.
Bottom line:
The Yankees, who have made their share of mistakes during the Steinbrenner years, just made one of their biggest. They allowed a loyal member of the Yankees family to walk. Torre is a gentleman, a baseball man, and most of all, a winner.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The season continues

The Padres and the Rockies are in a one game playoff to deteremine the NL wild card playoff team tonight.
The Rockies got in by winning 13 of their last 14 games. What a great finish!!!

I predict this red hot team will win today, but will lose the first game of the playoffs against the Phils.

It may be tough for any team to beat the Phils in the playoffs.

So, look for the Yankees and Phils to meet in the World Series, and, of course, championship 27 will go to the team from the Bronx.