Thursday, February 09, 2006

Listy Listerson

The Top Ten Things I Plan Never to Use My Free Time For:

1. Antiquing - This is not a reference to the art of buying old things from old things stores. That is cool. I don't want to spend my time taking new things and beating them up to make them look old so they can fit that "my place is old" feel I'm going for with my apartment/house. Not gonna do it.

2. Cocaine - Don't want to snort something up my nose. That scares me. I don't even like those inhalers that are supposed to make my allergies go away.

3. Eating Kiwi - Speaking of allergies, no thanks. Throat constrictions suck.

4. Painting Landscapes - So cliché. I don't mean to offend those that do it, just not for me.

5. Making Dioramas - Cool assignment, when you are in third grade.

6. Learning Latin - Here's the thing, latinos don't speak latin. In fact nobody does except for Mrs. Silverman. She also speaks English, so we're all set there.

7. Blogging - woops.

8. Watching History Channel - Discovery Channel is so much better.

9. Baking Cakes - I'll have em, and eat them too, but not gonna make them. I prefer to cook thank to bake.

10. Blogvertizing - I will never, ever waste my time going to other peoples blogs and commenting "Interesting blog, you should check out mine at People, really, if you think it is interesting, at least say why.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Well, leave it to the Red Sox to drag me out of my blogless cave and start writing again. I really should just turn this into a baseball blog...

Fortunately, I have woken from my slumber, done some handy research, and I come bearing some good news. Let's call it a 06 Red Sox gospel.

As we all know now, the loveable, shaveable idiot, (and I do mean idiot) is gone. He has left the warmth and unconditional love of Beantown for the cold and heartless confines of Death Valley. Ironically Bronze busts of the Mick and Joey D. will be watching J.D. closely from their seats behind the left center wall, and you know, at $1.5M Bernie will be watching from the bench, and waiting. No pressure, Johnny, and besidees, we all know how well you handle pressure.

On the bright side, here's something to think about.

First, let's look at Johnny Damon's core stats over the past 4 seasons with the Red Sox:
115.25 Runs
14 HR
.295 BA
.362 OBP
75 RBI

Certainly nothing to scoff at. Productive to say the least. However, we must remember that unlike some teams in baseball, the Red Sox do not have unlimited funds, and while the satisfaction of winning a year ago is still palatable, nobody wants the team to fall into years of mediocrity, and nobody wants to hear the name Offerman or anything like it ever again.

Here are some players currently on the team, and some of their numberrs over the past 4 years:

Jason Varitek
65 Runs
19 HR
.279 BA
.360 OBP
72 RBI
$8 Dollars

Production a little under that of Damon's, but probably better defense, captain of the team, respected clubhouse leader, and given his ability to improve pitchers by his pitch calling behind the plate, at $8M a year, 5 less than Damon's new contract, certainly what we might call a value.

Trot Nixon (using projected stats from an injury prone 2004 season)
72 Runs
21 HR
.288 BA
.367 OBP
79 RBI

Again, production less than that of Damon's, but at half the price, not really half the player. Not to mention, Trot is a year younger than Johnny. How about a nebie next

Mark Loretta (averages over last 3 season's with the Padres)
79 Runs
11 HR
.310 BA
.374 OBP
62 RBI

At more than 1/5th the price of Damon, you've got better BA, better OBP, and a steady second basemen defensively. Allow me a metaphor, if you will. You are driving cross country. If someone says you can buy a Mercedes with chrome rims, DVD monitors in the headrests, and all the luxuries you could imagine for only $100,000. Wouldn't you buy a premium Volkswagon, with almost the same luxuries as the Merc, for only $20,000? The fact of the matter is, you'll still get to California. And yes, Damon was popular. Perhaps a better "image" than Loretta, but when was the last time the Red Sox had trouble selling tickets.

Of course, no value comparison would be complete with looking at Papi. Not Tucker's dog, but the rather large Dominican fellow (I saw him up close in Baltimore last fall, he is enormous).

Papi (Ortiz, last 3 years in Boston)
97 R
40 HR
.296 BA
.382 OBP
129 RBI

If you were to suggest, that Ortiz's production is worth less than half of Damon's salary, you'd be crazy. Ok, he doesn't play defense. Let's say he played Damon caliber defense, and we add an extra $3M to his contract for that. We're still at only $8.25M, nowhere near $13M! Ortiz is not a value, he is close to a steal. Furthermore, if you haven't had the Papi club sandwich at D'angelos', than you have no right to suggest that Ortiz is not a "franchise player." I propose we make Papi's gap toothed visage the "face of the Red Sox." He also gives alot to charity, and that is awesome.

Finally, lets look at some other outfielders, and their salaries.
Carl Crawford, 24, $625,000
Jason Bay, 27, $355,000
Scot Podsednik, 29, $225,000
Vladimir Guerrero, 29, $12.5M
Ichiro Suzuki, 32, $12.5M
Andruw Jones, 28, $13M
Grady Sizemore, 23, $318,300
Carlos Beltran, 28, $11.5M

I encourage you to check out som of the stats on these players and compare them to Damon's. Granted some of these players are quite young, (all younger than Damon I will point out), and you might suggest that is why their contract is so low. That is part of the point. There is only one guarantee with Johnny Damon for the future, he will get older. Guys like Barry Bonds are rare, so rare in fact, that most of the world suspects he is on something. Damon is not getting younger, and in all likelyhood, is not getting better. Why invest a ton of money on something that may not last. It is no surprise that at the age of 32, Damon and Boras were looking for 5 years on their contract (in fact reports suggested that Boras even dared to ask for 7). The Yankees, to some extent, can afford the risk of offering $13M to Damon, and having him underperform. They are that wealthy. The Red Sox could have afforded it too, but in the end, you should look at where the Sox spend their money. Pitching. If recent history has proven anything, a good offense may get you into the playoffs, but good pitching wins the whole thing. The Red Sox have already acquired Josh Beckett, who will be a stud for quite some time. Papelbon has promise, and so does Hansen. The one thing that is remarkable about baseball, is that there are always Ryan Langerhans out there. There are always those players who will outperform their projections. Some may underperform, but if you are in the business of placing bets with your money, why go high stakes if there's a chance to find a diamond in the rough? There are no guarantees of performance in baseball, but I'd put my money in best bets, and I would never, ever, ever, overpay someone in the middle of their carreer, and certainly not for extended contracts. In baseball, and in the world, everyone always gets older.

Ironically, one sign of aging for poor[sic] old Johnny, will be premature baldness.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Today... I consider myself...

Down 0-2 and I am reminded why baseball is the greatest game in the world today.

When people complain to me about baseball, more often than not they say the game is too slow.

"How can you sit there for three hours watching nothing happen?!"

"Don't you fall asleep?'

"It takes so long between pitches! Don't you get bored?!"

Baseball, like no other sport, exists outside of time. There is no game clock. There is no injury time. There are no quarters, there are no periods, and there are certainly no buzzers. Baseball lasts a beautifully imperfect 9 innings, and whether those nine innings last 2 hours, or 5, no team will ever "run out of time."

And it is just this notion that separates baseball from every other game. Baseball has justice. You will forever get your last ups. You will always bat again. Baseball is a strain against pressure, holding back the opponents offense -- a finger in the leaking dam of runs, but you will never strain against the clock. You can never simply run out of time.

In a media saturated world, where life is divided into carefully carved, 30 second flash pots for Noxema and Pepsi, this is refreshing like a tall cold one. When we are assaulted by frenetic strobe lights of products and product placement. When a crime can be investigated, solved, and litigated in a neat 1 hour package, baseball fights the trend. Baseball is not neat and tidy. Baseball is rough. As grounders roll through the wickets yet again, we are reminded how history can repeat itself, but that said, in baseball there are no reruns.

Only in baseball can a salvific bunch of Idiots capture our hearts, and push us to the brink of exhaustion, and ultimately bring redemption.

Baseball, in all its apple pie, boys of summer glory, is ironically rebelling against the fabric of the new, multimedia, Xeroxed, and shrinkwrapped America. The rebellion is incomplete, as my between inning trips to the fridge are accompanied by Gillette and Doritos jingles, but with every extra inning game, with every extra long pause between pitches, and with every late inning rally we are quietly sticking it to the man. And it feels good.

root root root.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Good to be back.

Oh my goodness. I was on my way to Japan for a press junkett for my new film "Robutts" about robots from Uranus who invade earth searching for sugar cereals to power their circuits when I turned to my right and said to Cate Z-J who was sitting next to me, "You know Cate, there's been alot of turbulence on this flight, eh? How's Mikey doing?"

Next thing I know, tail wings torn from the back of the plane, my fellow beautiful castmates and I (including Sean Astin from LoTR) are plummeting to the earth in our tin can of doom somewhere over the Pacific.

When I awoke I was lying face first on the beach of a desert island. Only about a dozen of us had survived. We rummaged about the jungle searching for any food stuffs we could find. The heat was almost unbearable. Fortunately we were all (or nearly all) drop dead gorgeous and in peak physical condition. After a month we began to settle in. We found a polar bear and a trap door. It was amazing. Of course, we didn't have a single computer. Hence no blogging.

But now I am back on the mainland, and I have to go teach my World Civilizations class to sophmores.

Comment. I am sorry I was lost.
Cate Z-J says hello.

-Professor Abegonigal

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Occasionally you are bombarded by thoughts and feelings so overwhelming, it becomes hard to pause and reflect. It is ironic to have a mind so preoccupied and to have so few appropriate words to explain - like my mind's heart is filled to the brim, and I want to pin-prick it: to exhaust, and let my thoughts spill out all over the floor and walls.

What a week?
Wonderful? check.
Surprising? check.
Exciting? check.
Soft? check.
Sweet? check
Spontaneous? check.
Rejuvinating? check.
Exhausting? check.
Romantic? check.
Nerve-racking? check.
Intoxicating, Enlivening, Blissfull? check.

It has been said, and bears repeating, that often the best things in life are not sought after, nor fought for, nor labored over. Rather, the best things in life arrive organically.

This post has done a miserable job explaining how I am feeling... but I am so excited to keep trying to describe it.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Summertime, and the living is easy...

Ah, summer. When a young boy's fancy turns to sun, beaches, swimming, and endless viewings of Anchorman.

I am having a great summer so far. The kids are good. I'm (slowly) figuring out my new role at the summer school, I have reconnected with some wonderful people from high school, and met some new people who are amazing. I am tired beyond reason and I am loving it.

Today we took the kids canoeing and kayaking on the Charles River in Boston, and it was just a beautiful day. The sun was out (finally) and the kids were having a great time. My arms and shoulders are really sore from paddling, but it is a good kind of hurt.

Last night we had the first of two Red Hot Dance Parties. Watching kids have their first dances is really unbearably cute. Some of the "cooler" kids didn't feel like dancing, but this year, kids got up to dance earlier than any other year I have worked here at the Summer School. I love seeing the kids in all their pre-pubescent awkardness trying to negotiate dancing with each other. I feel old, and yet at the same time, the nerves and the excitement they feel is very fresh for me, as I still feel it too.

Big day tomorrow, I can hardly contain myself. People hold your collective breaths for me. All together.

I can't remember the last time I was this excited... and it feels really good.


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Because you're mine, I walk the line...

What is the necessary balance between assertiveness and just letting things happen? I admire those people who determinedly work for all the attain, who see something they want and go and get it, putting feelings and egos at risk largely because of the confidence they bring to everything they do. Even more so, I am jealous of those to whom everything comes so easy. We all have those friends who walk into a bar and immediately have everyone talking to them - who roll out of bed gorgeous - who seemingly dance from place to place, situation to situation, with an ease and a comfort no matter what.

I am definitly the type of person who waits for things to land in his lap, is afraid to put himself out on a limb, and who somehown manages to miss great opportunities that befall him, because of some strange mental disorder causing me to blow great opportunities because I was too pig headed to realize they were even there. I am so obtuse.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

My friend has a totally wicked pair of shoes.

My friend has a new pair of shoes. She didn't buy them so much as inherit them. They really are fabulous.

Lets talk about lines people. The curvature of a well shaped shoe, is often overlooked, let alone a pair! These shoes of my friend, let me tell you, they sure do pop out at ya! They go with every outfit. She always wears them well, even when lying down for a nap.

There is a long standing debate about shoes that my friend Tucker and I have been arguing for years: do the shape of shoes matter more than the size? For example. I wear a size twelve. Tucker would love my shoes, because they are huge, even though I have strange warts and callouses. Me, I prefer a shoe with nice shape. Heels, loafers, what have you, they need to be well made.

Above all else Tucker and I agree, shoes are better than no shoes. Barefeet are terrible.

Anyway, back to my friends new shoes. They are really a nice combination of shape and size. She is about a size 10, and they are really great. If her shoes were a car, they'd be a Cadillac. No, they'd be a Ford Mustang. Powerful. Agile. Two strong exhaust pipes. Basically, a whole lot under the hood.

So, this is my ode to her shoes. May my wife to be have as nice a pair of shoes as her.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Frickin Shweet.

Well, in a little under three hours I will commence my final two classes of my first year of teaching. Wow. Then only 456 meetings, 741 exams corrections, 98 reports and comments, 2 banquets, 8 round of golf, 13 1 on 1 basketball games, 8 cow a-milkings (with maids), and one really awesome fashion show later and I will be done until next year. Well that is until I start my summer job, oh yeah and then come back a week early for the summer program...

It has been a madcap year. Oh yes it has. Can I get an "Amen?"

No? No "Amen?"

Can I get a "woo ha?"

No dice?

...maybe a "what what?"


Anyway, I am eager for the summer. I am excited to go to Texas and see mein bruder Tooks. I have already started growing my mustache...for maximum Texan authenticity. The long awaited return of Chopper is nigh. His molten volcanic juices of masculinity lay dormant no longer. Horns herald his return. The once mighty femenine walls of a prudish Jericho a-tumble! Be forewarned.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Ever make yourself laugh out loud?

Today, right now as a matter of fact - here at my desk - I thought of a stage name for myself, and with nobody in the room with me, laughed out loud. I then proceeded to look around to make sure nobody caught me.

And without further ado,

I shall be called...

Houghton Mifflin

awesome. friggin sweet.