Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Cannot Believe The Words Are Coming Outta Me Mouth

... but I'm on the verge of asking for Fuentes back as closer.

Thanks for a crapload of nothing, Manny. And against the Cubs. Fourth night in a row. Someone check the calendar, I think it's June 2007 again. And if we lose tomorrow, we'll go winless on this brief homestand.

Dear God.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Absolutely Pathetic

I really don't want to waste words recapping it, but every time you think the 2008 Rockies have figured something out, they go off and do their damndest to show you that no, they are still as wildly streaky as ever. Win four, lose three, and do so in agonizing fashion -- by blowing a one-run lead in the eighth, the eighth, and the ninth, respectively. Our bullpen was the best in baseball three days ago. Then the Astros broadcasters handily jinxed it. It was 4-3 Rockies and then 5-4 Astros. It was 5-4 Rockies and then 9-5 Phillies. It was 6-5 Rockies and then 8-6 Phillies. Three winnable games that we will regret later, especially with the damned Dbacks looking well-nigh unstoppable. Instead of 12-8, we are 9-11. Great going, guys.

Sometimes I swear I hate this team more than I ever loved them.... Oy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Love, Hate, Tolerate: The Lucky and the Luckless

Something which I have been meaning to do for a while, if only for the sheer hell of it. I thought I would rank each team in Major League Baseball according to my personal preferences, as if this means a flying crap. But hey, we all have our vanity, and I'm bored on Saturday night after watching a Rockies win, which equals this staggering work of heartbreaking genius. The Rockies go for the sweep over the Astros, and a 6-3 record on a 9-game, 10-day road trip (well, actually, more like a 10.5 game road trip once you add in all the extra innings vs. the Padres) with Ubaldo Jimenez matching up with old friend Shawn Chacon. And by friend, I really mean, used to kick things and yell while he was haplessly attempting to ''close" games. He went 1-9 as a closer one year, and Hurdle kept trotting him out there. Oy.


The Fortunate Five

1. Colorado Rockies. Anyone who reads this blog needs no explaining as to why my purple-and-black boys top this list. I love them. Too much, I think.
2. Oakland A's. Used to be really into them, am not really so much anymore, but still enjoy watching their games and have a hat autographed by quite a few members of the team (at least circa 2006).
3. St. Louis Cardinals. Was thrilled when they won the 2006 World Series, have also cooled on them a little recently, but they still have Adam Wainwright. I love Adam Wainwright.
4. Milwaukee Brewers. They merit a spot this high on the list for all their help last September, which they squelched the Padres for the last two regular-season games in order to force The Tiebreaker. Tony Gwynn Jr. mentions that the Rockies themselves have thanked him for corking that triple off Hoffman, and I dunno, I've never found anything inherently loathable about the Brew Crew. I mean, it was a total sham that Braun got the ROY, but that was the writers' fault, not his. Also, Milwaukee and Colorado seem to be on good terms, and I like that.
5. New York Mets. I know, I know. It's embarrassing to have to even admit it. I am not a Mets fan, and when going to games at Shea, frequently root for them to screw up if only because the reaction from the actual Mets fans around me is always amusing. (Booing being a recreational sport in New York). But aside from Coors, I've been to the most games at Shea, and out of the two teams in my adopted hometown, they're the one I don't hate, detest, loathe, and wish to vanish into thin air. Not that I'm talking about anyone in particular, of course. But I have a pair of good friends who are Mets fans, we go to games together, and always have a great time. It was freezing the last two times we went (earlier this week) and I steadfastly stuck it out, for a team that I can take or leave (mainly because I just love baseball). So, oddly enough, one of the East Coast darlings actually does earn a relatively high spot on this list. Whether it's for them or not, I don't know, but there you go.

The Tolerable Ten

6. Cleveland Indians.
Play hard and always seem to be good, which would be annoying if I was a fan of a team in the AL Central aside from them. Also, my parents swear up and down I used to go to Indians games with my sisters and a family friend (we used to live in Ohio) but I don't remember at all. Also, I have strong feelings about The Jake having its name changed to "Progressive Field" -- what a crock. I still wish we'd played the Indians in the Series last year, mainly because we'd probably have won.
7. Seattle Mariners. Lookout Landing, a top Mariners blog, is absolutely hysterical. I'm serious, it is absolute comic genius, I read it just to laugh, and the Mariners commercials (a tradition) are always funny as well. (You can check them out online). All that adds up to a high spot for the Caffeineheads.
8. Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Even though their insistence on being called the "Rays" now is mildly nettling (I therefore always call them by their proper name, heh) they remind me somewhat of the Rockies, Evan Longoria is good friends with Tulo, and any team that has a chip on its shoulder for the Yankees (aside from the Red Sox....) is good by me.
9. Florida Marlins. Poor Marlins. You can't really hate them. A-Rod makes more than their entire team, and any time anyone good shows up, Loria hauls them off and buys more children under 21 to staff the Baby Fish. Also, I rooted for them in the 1997 Series as a spratling of nine tender years, and it was a lot of fun. (Wow, that was a long time ago).
10. Minnesota Twins. They have a god-awful stadium (although that may soon be remedied, their new park may be built without a roof.... which equals April baseball in Minneapolis outdoors, which equals oof). Still, their players are likable, Justin Morneau should be commended for nabbing the AL MVP in 2006 ahead of That Man In Pinstripes, and if they ever get Francisco Liriano healthy, they could have Santana all over again.
11. Pittsburgh Pirates. I know almost nothing about the Pirates except that Ian Snell once thought the Rockies were stealing signs and therefore threatened to start beaning them. It didn't happen, and it makes me think that it was just Snell being Snell -- i.e. totally crazy. Also, the Pirates beat the Rockies 3 of 4 in August last year. That hurt. But they are the Pirates. Success is short-lived, therefore why bother hating them?
12. Cincinnati Reds. They have the pieces in place to be very good in a few years, but then went and sent that all to pot by hiring Dusty Baker. Cueto, Votto, Bailey, Bruce, etc. should have Cincinnati fans thinking that their days of doormatting it in the Central may be coming to an end. Downside: Say goodbye to the right arms of Arroyo and Harang.
13. Toronto Blue Jays. They swept the Rockies to start that horrible roadtrip that didn't happen (you know, the 1-9 one... OOF... back to repressing). But Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum are a strong starter duo, and hey, I always kind of pull for anyone in the East squashed beneath the 800-lb gorillas. You know, Thing 1 and Thing 2.
14. Washington Nationals. They try so hard. And then they fail. But it's kind of cute/pathetic to watch them giving it another brave stab anyway.
15. Texas Rangers. They earn this spot mainly on the strength of C.J. Wilson, their eccentric blue-gloved lefty reliever. In case I have not told you this recently, he is amazing.

The Dubious Decade

16. Houston Astros.
Seriously, who likes the Astros? They have terrible management, they had Roger Clemens a few years, they went to the Series in 2005 and then boffed it all up. Don't hate them, but seriously, the Astros? Whatever.
17. Atlanta Braves. Nobody likes Chipper Jones, including Chipper Jones, but don't tell him that. We can save his existential crisis for when it would be more useful.
18. Detroit Tigers. I have to say, watching the Tigers fall flat on their faces out of the gate, after everyone had pre-emptively anointed them the AL Champs following their acquisition of Willis and Cabrera, was pretty damn satisfying.
19. Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are so bad. And no matter how well they've started off this year, I am sure they'll realize that and go back to their usual climes of TEH FAIL.
20. Chicago White Sox. Have THE most annoying broadcasters in all of baseball, and it was more fun when they were cursed too. Although they do suck again, so cool.
21. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Stupid name. You are not the Dodgers. And you play in Disneyland. Bugger off and get some Mickey Mouse ears.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers. I don't precisely hate them, but there are certainly no fond feelings for them either. Their fans always leave early to "beat the traffic," they spend more than everyone in the West and don't have a whole lot to show for it, and Nomar? Seriously? Whatever. The Helton homer off Saito last September 18th was a defining moment of my life. Sheerly amazing. And then we swept them in four, right in the middle of the streak. Good times.
23. Arizona Diamondbacks. Purple Row and AZ Snakepit's posters have a good relationship with each other, and enjoy bantering and discussing their teams. I am good friends with several Arizona fans from there, and the Dbacks are much like the Rockies -- a team of young, talented, genuinely nice guys. That said, they are our biggest division rival and are getting annoyingly good -- sheez, Slytherin, lose a few. Plus they have Eric Byrnes and danced on our field like it was a big deal when they won the West. We got you back in the NLCS, suckers. (Although it is true I am trying to expunge details of our early-season meetings thus far from my scarred psyche).
24. Kansas City Royals. They played us last June for one of the most aggravating series imaginable, which Rockies Nation as a whole pretends does not exist, and always seem to play like the Worldbeaters instead of the Turfeaters against us. AND we have to play them again this year. Oh brother.
25. San Francisco Giants. They only earn this spot because I couldn't decide if I hated them or the Phillies more, and decided it was the Phillies. Nonetheless, the Giants richly deserve all the fail that comes to them.

The Terrible Tier

26. Philadelphia Phillies.
Overhyped, overrated, and Jimmy Rollins. Swept in the NLDS by us, after all the pundits sagely figured this team (East Coast, remember, therefore better!) would sweep US. Revenge is sweet. Go cry in your beer, you bunch of hooligans who constitute "fans" in the "City of Brotherly Love."
27. San Diego Padres. Yep, the hate is pretty epic here. You know what? It doesn't matter if Holliday touched the plate, we still beat you. And then we beat you again in 22 innings. And we went to the playoffs because you blew chunks. Take THAT.
28. New York Yankees. It's actually pretty hard to decide who goes where for the last three spots on this list, since I hate the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs equally -- which is to say, with the force of an exploding star? Let's just say I find nothing at all lovable, likable, tolerable, or even mildly dislikable about this band of overexposed prima-donnas. In fact, you might say I hate them. That doesn't even sound strong enough, but you know what I mean.
29. Chicago Cubs. I asked a friend if the Cubs or Red Sox should go in the last slot on this list. His response: "The Red Sox. At least the Cubs have the decency not to win the World Series." Which I think is true, and the only thing keeping the Small Bears out of the cellar (hey, they'll get there on their own, given enough time. Cubsuck is a law of the universe -- it will be a constant). I hate their fans (especially their fans) the fact they're now a big-market and still-shitty team, and the fact that it's still "trendy" to root for them when they're nothing but a bunch of giant losers. Also, their fans. Did I mention their fans? Here's to another century of Cubs futility.
30. Boston Red Sox. I have hated the Red Sox for all of my career as a baseball fan, whether for one reason or another, and it was made about a hundred times worse by last October. The Red Sox are just evil, there is no other way to put it. There is nothing redeeming about this team. They are the incarnation of the Devil. Should I tell you how I really feel? Die, Red Sox, die.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Total Insanity, Total Awesomeness

Wow. When the rubber match between the Rockies and Padres came about, a pitching duel might have been expected, but what everyone got was well and beyond the call of duty. Perpetual Cy contender Jake Peavy was starting against Colorado "ace" Jeff Francis (and ace is in scare quotes because although he entered the season with that designation, his first few starts were anything but). But Jeff lived up to his half of the billing, and for seven innings, he and Peavy threw zeros at each other. Francis finished with 7 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, and 7 K's; Peavy with 8 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks, and 11 K's. Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth for the Rockies, and Trevor Hoffman only did the same for the Padres in the ninth thanks to his ridiculous park. Helton and Holliday hit back-to-back shots that would have been out of anywhere except the hitter's wasteland known as Petco Park, but since they were in Petco, they just went down as a pair of flyouts. With the score 0-0 entering the ninth, Taylor Buchholz came in and pitched a perfect inning to send it to the tenth, where Heath Bell pitched a clean inning for San Diego, so Buchholz came in and threw another one... are you by any chance detecting a pattern here?

The team went on swapping goose-eggs right up until the 14th, where, with the bases loaded and 2 out, Brad Hawpe worked a walk to make it 1-0. Of course, it wasn't destined to end there. The Padres had already wasted a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 12th -- Paul McAnulty hit a laser into the right field corner and had the bad idea to test Hawpe's arm. Hawpe fired a bullet to second baseman Barmes (yes, he's starting due to Nix's terribleness, and shockingly not embarrassing himself) and Barmes fired it on to Atkins, who applied the tag for the first out. Instead of having a runner at second and no out, the Padres had one out and no one on -- and when Randy Wolf (the same pitcher who two-hit the Rox a few nights ago) hit a single, it loomed even larger, as the game was still scoreless as that point and it could have been the winner. The Padres tried again in the bottom of the 14th, as Manny Corpas, who is still prone to the early-season wobbles, blew his second save in five chances and allowed Josh Bard to stroke the game-tying single. Tulowitzki threw Clark out at the plate on the next play to again escape the game-winner, and pinch-hitter Colt Morton grounded out to end it. Onto the fifteenth. And sixteenth. And seventeenth. And eighteenth. And nineteenth.

Both teams exhausted their benches around the sixteenth, leading to a number of relievers having to actually bat. The Rockies grounded into four double plays; the Padres into two. The Rockies left 16 men on base; the Padres left 14. The Rockies struck out 20 times, the Padres 17. Buchholz, Micah Bowie, and Corpas pitched two innings apiece, allowing between them 3 hits, but most unfortunately Corpas yakked up the tying run. Ryan Speier pitched 3 innings, allowing just two hits. And the game STILL wasn't over! Kip Wells came in for the 19th as the last available pitcher -- Cook and Morales had flown to Houston already, and Jimenez and Redman had pitched in the first two games of the series. Who knows who was going to pitch next -- Barmes? Helton? (He pitched in college). Tulo? (He can hit 94). I always kind of wish that would happen, but it didn't. In the top of the 22nd inning, Willy T reached on a Khalil Greene throwing error, stole second, and moved to third on Josh Bard's throwing error, ending up there with two outs and Tulo at the plate. Tulo has, let's just say, not looked very much like himself for the early going, and is still lugging around a .167 average. However, he redeemed himself for the moment, bouncing an RBI double into left-center to score Willy T with the go-ahead run, 2-1. Wells still had one more inning to get through -- he hit Greene with a pitch to begin the bottom of the 22nd, got Josh Bard to ground into a double play, and struck out Glendon Rusch -- yes, Glendon Rusch, hitting for himself since the benches were long since empty -- to end it, six hours and 16 minutes after it had begun on Thursday night. It was over early Friday morning at 1:21 AM PT. Wells picked up the win, pitching four innings with one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts.

This is 4:21 AM ET. And where was I? Sitting through every agonizing pitch. Did I have class tomorrow... er, later this morning? You know it. Was anything happening? No. Was it painful? As all hell. And yet there I sat, with all my fellow lunatics on Purple Row, getting goofy by necessity and fighting off exhaustion since I'm too much of a fanatic to give it up and go to bed. But it was amazing. The guys seem to have realized that they've been grinding too much (Tulo) and forgetting to have fun, so just having to sit through a game that we all seriously thought would never end helped loosen them up. Although I can't say I envy them, having to play again tonight only about 14 hours after the last game ended -- travel to Houston included. Hopefully everyone slept on the plane..!

Go Rockies!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update: Still Shitty

For once, my lack of blogging has nothing to do with my own questionable diligence, but rather at a failed attempt at un-hexing the deeply hexed, otherwise known as my beloved and currently very inept Colorado Rockies. They have been stop and go (mainly stop) this far, and are sitting at a not-so-pretty 5-8 mark coming out of the first few weeks of the season. (I think the Giants may have won more games than them, but I am afraid to look). Since they went on that losing streak right after I wrote the recap of their first game, I tried some preventive superstitious measures, such as not wearing Rockies gear and not writing about them, which worked in the course of a three-game sweep of the Braves in which they looked more like themselves. It failed again once they dropped 2 of 3 to the Diamondbacks (at least they didn't get swept again....?) and since they managed to stage their one win in convincing fashion at the end of the series (13-5) I had hope going into San Diego. Nope, they got two hits and got shut out by Randy Wolf while losing 6-0. Oy. Holliday did not touch the plate last night, whether disputed or otherwise, and nor did anyone else. Shit.

Clearly (hopefully) the offense won't be this bad forever, but they need some time to play every day and get into a rhythm. The bad part being, while they suck, it's pretty hard to endure this on a day-by-day basis. Not as if that has ever stopped me before, and likely won't be any detriment this time, but sheeez. Would a fast start kill you guys? Every time I think they really must have just played their worst game possible and therefore have to start their (ponderous) recovery, they outdo themselves, then I remind myself that a) it's early and we have time to come out of it, and b) we are the Rockies and failure is unfortunately a little more common than we'd like. Blah.

Fortunately, I missed the game last night, and will do so again tonight. I was off attending my first live games of the year, the deeply fascinating Mets/Nationals clash (note to self: be thankful we are not the Nationals). Odalis Perez vs. Mike Pelfrey isn't exactly the stuff of legend, but it was a lot of fun to take in my first game of the year, as I was with my wonderful friends Mary and Steve, who are really amazing people and always fun to go to a game with -- they pay for tickets, midnight diner runs afterwards, whatever, and seem to enjoy watching me have fun as much as I have fun. Something that's always struck me is how casually a game always starts, the quiet moment as the defense runs out and the pitcher throws a few warmups, and then suddenly all the pomp is over and the first guy is stepping in just like that, ready to go. It seems such a small thing. (Baseball philosophy 101. Sounds like a course I need to take. Do they have it here? Of course not). Since it was Jackie Robinson Day, they had his widow, Rachel, there to speak, which was pretty cool, and a gospel choir performed before the game began. (Although it was kind of frigid on an April night at Shea, so I spent the last half of the game bundled in an extra-large Mets jacket belonging to Steve. This does not mean I was one of them… I kept kind of silently rooting for the Mets to screw up, since it was amusing to watch the reactions. This did not happen, however).


Annoying Red Sox fan: “Rockies suck! Who do they have? The Sox have Ortiz and Ramirez!”

Me: “Ortiz? He’s batting .091 this year or something. Ramirez? Sure, I’ll give you that one. But what do you mean, who do we have? Ever heard of a guy named Matt Holliday?"

Sox fan: “Holliday can’t hit.”

Me: “Are you crazy? Have you even watched a game recently? Holliday’s OBP is close to .400, his SLG was up at .600, he hit .340 last year, he’ll hit over 30 homers and drive in well north of 100, he’s got the best hitting mechanics and work ethic imaginable, and he’s even improved on his fielding. He’s amazing.”

While this sounds as if it could easily have happened, it actually didn’t. That was a dream I had last night. I fear, I fear, I fear for my subconscious.

I am going to the Mets/Nationals game again with Mary tonight (although I think Steve has work). Matt Chico vs. John Maine, and it should be fun. I will remember to bring more Rockies-themed regalia to keep me warm, since Steve won't be around to let me borrow his jacket, and in so doing, I will be spared watching my team actually play. (Odd, I know). Since it is Mark Redman, I expect I will be excused in this sentiment.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Small Request To The Colorado Rockies

Any time you're done getting swept by the Diamondbacks, hitting like crap, pitching like crap, playing like crap, looking like crap, making me feel like I've been stabbed, and otherwise generally embarrassing yourself in every facet of the game related to the playing of baseball at a (so I'm told) professional level, feel free to start your 2007 NL Champions title defense and/or the 2008 season, mkay?

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Fail To Find This Funny

Seriously, I don't. What the flipping hell is wrong with the offense? We get schooled by Kyle Lohse, Todd Wellemeyer, and Brad Thompson. Then we get home and get REALLY schooled in front of a sold-out home crowd by the team we beat to win the NL pennant last year. Yeah, 4 games and there are how many to go? 158? I really think it's perfectly fine if we just sped up to the good part of this season, whenever the hell that feels like arriving. Redman was Redman, Holliday struck out 4 times, Tulo made an error and was saved from another by a charitable call from the blue. 8-1 is your final and I am not the happiest girl in the world right now; in fact that is a bit of an understatement and I know that that is a problem. Seeing as there are a damn lot of games left to go and it's going to hurt if this keeps up for even a few more days -- I have learned from past experience that I cannot go numb. I want last year's opening day loss -- we permitted the D-backs eight runs but at least we scored six.

1-3 and we look like crap. Can't hit, have a suspect starting rotation, and yeah. They're too good to be this bad forever but damn, it hurts when it does. And I think that my masochism switch is even more broken than usual, because I just sat through that whole fucking charade until the end. Somebody please find me a new hobby, at least one that will occupy two weeks and give me a chance to come back to my team when they look like a team.

I'd like a win tomorrow, but a win would involve scoring runs. I don't believe such a thing exists. Unicorns and Santa Claus, baby.

I'm now going to go do my poli-sci midterm, which sounds assloads more fun than what I just put myself through.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

That Is More Like It

Tulo thinks so too. Surprisingly enough, things went swimmingly tonight (well, almost, seeing as the offense sucked out loud). Kip Wells, of all people, turned in a solid effort against his former team -- 5.1 innings and 1 run, a solo shot by the guy on his face up there, Molina. New lefty setup guy Bowie got a key double play, Taylor Buchholz put two guys on but got a strikeout to end the seventh, Fuentes (SHOCKINGLY!) whipped through a spotless eighth inning, and Manny set down the Cards with similar ease in the ninth. In the meantime, Tulo got three hits but nobody else did squat, and the Rockies had been shut out by Kyle Lohse through five innings (zouch). But in the top of the eighth, Tulo got a single, Todd hit a ground-rule double, and Matt chopped one to Troy Glaus, whose off-balance throw to the plate went for an error and allowed Tulo to score. (As you might have guessed, this is the moment shown in the charming picture above. Oh Tulo. I love you). Then, with the bases loaded after Atkins' walk, it looked as if the Rockies weren't going to score the go-ahead run -- Hawpe and Torrealba both struck out. But rookie second-sacker Jayson Nix pulled a Toddfather (a bases-loaded walk) to push the Rockies up 2-1, and that was the way it finished. 1 down, 1 win, 161 more to go, Aaron Cook vs. Todd Wellemeyer tomorrow. The Rockies got a bad game washed out, the offense sucked today, and they still won, so if they can get the offense in gear against Wellemeyer, it'd be great. (Last time they saw him it was not good, as Jason Hirsh got his butt kicked and the Cardinals broke the Rockies' seven-game win streak).

Good way to start the season, fellas. Let's do it some more.