Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Relationships are Hard Work

So, Houseboy and I had a major knock-down drag out fight last night and let me just tell you he's lucky to be alive today. Despite the glory of soon-to-be-3-time-Cy-Young-winner Johan Santana's triple against the Mets, Morneau's coughing-up-blood plate collision and Mauer's two homeruns on Sunday, I am a little miffed with my beloved baseball this muggy day.

Last night, with little ceremony, they crossed a line in the sand and they (along with their defender, Houseboy), owe me a big apology. I didn't even see it coming. There we are, top of the first, ready for a thrilling victory over the Blue Jays. Vernon Wells doubles, but Alex Rios grounds out. I'm calmly thinking how nice a strikeout or short fly ball will be... how they can easily make an out without that runner advancing... suddenly, Matt "Fatt" Stairs pops one up nice and pretty in foul territory. Little Nicky Punto runs his brains out and catches it while falling lovingly into Luis "King of the Elves" Rodriguez's arms in the dugout. How nice! An out recorded with no deleterious side effects! But what is this? What is Bert saying about the first enactment of some new rule? WHY is Wells just trotting over to third? Why is he doing so in response to the beckoning of that evil, cheating umpire?

With a great deal of googling I was finally able to find an explanation. A February 2007 update to the rules that I was not aware of:

FIELDER ISSUES 18. Catching ball in dugout


A batter is out when --
(a) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;
Rule 6.05(a) Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of runners shall be as described in Rule 7.04(c) Comment.

Just so you know, that "status of runners" allows them to advance one base. It is my understanding that this change is the result of the incident last year where Ryan Freel, in following a foul ball into the stands, basically shivved some old lady. That probably really sucked for her, but I still don't like this rule. Mostly, because if you watch the video of the Punto catch, you'll see that that kind of athleticism just deserves reward. He even manages to get that good BestBuy product placement in.

But also because, in my heart of hearts, I feel like it's a different type of rule, with different stakes, than any other rule in baseball. So, if you're Little Nicky, and you see that ball traveling rapidly toward your comrade-in-shortness Elrond in the dugout, and you realize you might not be able to record that out without allowing your little toes over that line, what do you do? Well, on the one hand, you could let it drop and hope your pitcher has another strike or two in him... or another easy out to provide you with. Maybe you join the mound conference and ask him to ignore DIPS theory for just a moment and furnish you with a foul ball just a few feet further west (or east? I'm not sure on that). OR, you can record that out, allowing the base runner to advance. In what other situation do you have that kind of choice? In a sacrifice fly, but in that case at least the runner has to actually do the running... you theoretically COULD throw them out. Same on a long foul ball. The offense actually has to do the work of moving forward on you, weighing for themselves the likelihood that you can throw them out. In this case, in the very ACT of catching the ball, you have given someone a base. Boooooollshit, I say.

Anyway, to address SeƱor Baseball Himself for a moment, you owe me an apology. Houseboy made me vegetarian tamales and took off his shirt. You're probably going to have to work a little harder than that. I MIGHT be willing to accept a 10-game winning streak from the Twins, but we'll see.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Voting Is Your Duty

The All-Star Voting is open, and already the general idiocy of Americans and the ridiculously expansive free time of Yankees fans is becoming apparent. For this reason, I am reaching out to all of you, most of whom are not really big baseball fans, but who have the common bond of probably not wanting to see my head explode. Vote here, and PLEASE do me a favor and don't even THINK about clicking on any Yankees or Red Sox? If you are really confused, and just want the good guys to win, but you're not sure who they are, you can use my sample ballot, below. Just remember that I pay a fly's eyelash worth of attention to the National League, so some of my choices there may be a little wonky (i.e., based on the two games I've seen them play against the Twins, or their former careers in the AL). Oh, and you can vote up to 25 times on one e-mail address, so just enter your choices and keep hitting "Vote Again." Your choices are saved from the last time. America thanks you.

American League

First Base: Justin Morneau. This is absolutely a tragic joke. David Ortiz (former Twin, beloved by all Twins fans) is currently leading this position. He has played at this position for just about 3 tenths of a second. He is a DH. I'm sorry that you can't vote in a DH, but that's just too fucking bad, Red Sox. Get over it and put someone in this slot that actually fields.

Second Base: Luis Castillo. A great player. Mostly I'm voting for him because he's a Twin. But that makes him inherently superior, so if you really know nothing and have no opinions, just do as I do and vote as I vote.

Shortstop: Jason Bartlett. Not even on the leader board right now, which is really sad. He doesn't exactly have huge offensive power, but I'm pretty sure he actually starts fielding balls BEFORE they're hit. Psychic powers or something.

Third Base: Troy Glaus. Besides looking disturbingly like a high school classmate of Houseboy's and basically ripping a giant hole in reality every time he plays against the Twins, Glaus has 268 career home runs and a .300 batting average this year. He could stand to walk a little more, but he can actually field a bit too, so that kind of evens out.

Catcher: Joe Mauer. Joe Joe the Monkey Catcher Mauer. He's a CATCHER. He won the BATTING TITLE. He's 24 years old, 6'4" and still growing. He and Morneau used to share a bachelor pad where they stayed up late playing video games and eating Doritos and Mountain Dew and making prank calls. He's slowly teaching Morneau the intricacies of facial expression. Look, it's just a no brainer, so stop thinking about it and vote for him.

Outfielders: I'm going to try to avoid a long tirade on the ridiculosity of lumping three positions into one as if putting your left fielder in center field for a game wouldn't just make the Metrodome cave in on your head, and give you my picks.

Michael Cuddyer. As Bert Blyleven said during an interleague game a little while back: "WHY do they keep RUNNING on Michael CUDDYER?!!?!?!!!" He has a cannon. And it has a laser sight. And if you try to squeeze an extra base out of that weak little right field hit, you're going to be very, very sorry. Oh, and he recently explained the intricacies of playing balls off the Hefty Bag, and it actually made sense. This was either a well-guarded secret of Twins outfielders, or he's the first one to actually figure it out logically.

Torii Hunter. Please. If you make me explain this I will actually scream. HE. CAN. FLY. LITERALLY.

Shannon Stewart. Former Twin, former member of the "Soul Patrol." Came in to numerous (including my own) cries against wasting money on a mid-season replacement that we'd never be able to keep. Stayed for another 3 seasons and made us cry when he had to go. Never had a nickname except: "SHANNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!"

National League:

Prince Fielder, Orlando Hudson (O.Hud!), Cristian Guzman (GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZ), Craig Counsell, Benjie Molina (I like him, ok?), Alfonso Soriano (big surprise), Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jacque (not JOCK) Jones.

Ok, so get to voting!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Classified Ad

Seeking: A reliable house sitter. Nonsmoker preferred. Must look after cats. Particularly the fat one. Watch him carefully. No particular reason. Will pay base of $5 and up to $10 a day, depending on services rendered. Optional services may include cleaning, opening and shutting blinds on the half hour, spraying Raid in the northeast corner of every room, monitoring mold growth on bathroom tiles. Perks: large variety of hard liquor, satellite television and demon-fighting reference collection on premises. Must meet before I leave for my "trip." To interview, please bring references and a hair sample to 225 Glenvista Road.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Protect the Employees

So, while waiting for my frozen Amy's Bean and Veggies and Rice and Stuff bowl to heat up in the microwave today, I spent a little time examining the above poster, which is hanging in the corner of the little kitchenette area. Now, this is a standard poster, and obviously intended to provide useful information to as many work situations as possible, so my list below should not be read as a criticism of the poster makers or their brethren, but rather as a simple "Aren't workplace situations funny sometimes" observation. Much like Apocalypse Now.

Things This Poster Will Help Me Address at My Downtown Chicago White Collar Office:

1. Severed Body Parts
. This is an exact quote: "body parts." They refuse to get more specific. I can only assume that we are meant to be covering everything from a situation in which my SAS program goes horribly wrong and my hands are sucked into my keyboard to a Lorena Bobbitt domestic violence showdown. Either way, we are informed that we should NOT put the "part" directly on ice, nor should we attempt to clean the "part."

2. Chemicals in the Eyes. In the strong likelihood that I accidentally pour acid into my eyes while distracted by writing the introduction to a report on summer school, I should attempt to flush them using one of the following: an eyewash (sadly my job has not provided these for every floor), a water fountain (very reasonable), or a garden hose. I guess I'll be making a trip to the rooftop garden, since we don't have a water fountain nearby.

3. Blocked Airways. When someone inhales a giant chunk of hot dog at next week's "Summer Solstice" celebration, I will know exactly what to do. First, make the person's cheeks transparent. Second, ram two fingers down their throat. Third, retrieve the hot dog for later use. As warned above, do NOT put it directly on ice.

4. Choking. This one is a fairly straightforward description of the Heimlich maneuver. Except that they add additional instructions for people who are pregnant or "Very Obese." Mercifully, the drawing shows someone pregnant, but one can extrapolate to imagine grabbing a very, very fat man around his man-boobs and squeezing.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Top 10 Dugout Chats

So, one time, I wrote this blog about how much I liked a certain dugout chat about Mr. Alfonso Soriano. Now, the site has actually personally requested that I make a list of my favorite chats! You can see the personal request right on their front page. It doesn't mention me by name, but you can see the little hints that it's really meant only for me. Anyway, I'm not one to ignore a general request from someone I've never met, so here's my list:

10. Jim Thome sings about the Twins Obviously, I have my predilections toward certain teams. Particularly the best team in baseball in the whole entire universe. I also appreciate the characterization of the legendary Twins-killer on this site as essentially a butterfly-chasing four-year-old. It makes me giggle.

9. The Straight Man Chatroom, Part 1 and Part 2 These really can't be separated, though the second one has most of the punchline. Somehow, the A-Rod and Derek Jeter are gay lovers joke never really gets old for me.

8. Josh Papelbon Gets Drafted Jon Papelbon is slightly more intelligent than Jim Thome on this site. Though only slightly. Also, "/tomfoolery" might be the funniest one line I've ever seen.

7. Who is Your Tiger? I remember watching the Tigers play in 2003 and seeing poor Dmitri Young running around trying to play all 9 positions and slowly, slowly having his spirit crushed by the utter incompetence and disinterest of his teammates. This chat is ushering a new era. Or something.

6. A Jeep Thing Again, Jim Thome is like a giant, adorable, home-run-smashing, dream-crushing teddy bear. With footy jams.

5. Yor on defense Jon Papelbon outsmarts Kyle Farnsworth. Golden.

4. Pete Rose Stains the Game This is really a series of chats, all of which have the same joke. This is my favorite, but here's a runner up, featuring Stain'd

3. Kirby He has a space on my couch anytime. Though it might be kind of weird for him to come back to life just to stay on a futon in Hyde Park. I wouldn't ask questions, though.

2. The Twins Rule Everyone else drools. But no one knows it. More people should know it. But not so many that I'll start seeing hipster doofuses (doofai?) wearing Twins gear. As Slug says "It sucks that you think where I'm from is whack, but as long as thats enough to keep your ass from comin back"

1. You Saw This Coming Alfonso Soriano. Frank Robinson. Confusion. Buying 20,000 second base bags. It doesn't get any better.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Photo Diary of Curry

So, for all who have been hungering for an update on Houseboy's delectable cooking, I present this photo diary/montage/bunch of pictures.
First, we have shy Houseboy doing his thing. He tried to do the Lemony Snicket "turned away from the camera" pose, but I stood there until he needed to refresh himself and snagged one. Drinking and cooking is Houseboy's trademark. Ordinarily this goes very well. Once he "accidentally" drank a whole bottle of wine and basically spent the evening spinning around the apartment saying "Wheeeeeeeeee!"

This is the curry as it is cooking. It looks like a hot mess right now, but I promise you it's delicious. Or, at least the curry was when we ate it. I make no promises about the picture. That is our nicest-looking and highest-quality pan. Make no assumptions about the quality of our kitchenware from this fine specimen, which my mom bought for me. A lot of the rest of it is beaten up camp ware and "nonstick" pans that are contributing their own special vitamins to every dish we cook these days.

The finished product. I got those plates from Old Navy while waiting in line to pay for some work pants. Work pants + Plastic Plates = A Good Day. You can take that math to the bank.