Wednesday, April 19, 2006

sports as a barometer

April 19th, 2006. The roof is open at the SkyDome for an afternoon game between the Blue Jays and the Yankees. This might be the earliest point in the baseball season that they have opened up the roof. Usually the roof doesn't open up until May, sometimes mid to late May.

As I was studying last night, I had on in the background and was amazed at how far the internet has gone in the fifteen odd years since I've had access to it. What started out as a young lad playing doom online to now, using the internet connection to watch sporting events.

One thing I will never forget is the sound that a modem made when it would be communicating with another one, I think it went something like this, "beep boop beep boop kudung kudung tchhhhhhhhhhhhhh". With the "tchhh" part being really loud. I used to hide from my parents the fact that I was playing Doom late at night against my friend Mike by using pillows to cover up the modem noise. Man, why couldn't modems come with a mute button?

And now, I can sit on my patio, in the sun, in the twenty-degree Celsius weather outside, read a book, and have my laptop play the game with the help of a wireless connection. And make a blog entry at the same time.

With all these toys at our disposal, it's the kids that I'm truly worried about. Toy toy, distraction, distraction. By not paying attention, you could sign away your soul to the devil, and not even get a donut in return. Kid's, don't sign for anything if you aren't sure what it means. It's ok to say 'I don't know what that word means' or, 'is this what this word means?' before you sign it. Because recently, I saw a clip of a young guy walking around convincing young girls to sign a petition to end women's suffrage. Actually, it was a pretty funny clip. The only girl they showed not signing it was a blonde chick, so you can take that stereotype and boom box it.

Suffrage n 1: vote 2: the right to vote : franchise

Reason number 1243 that computers can't take over the world like they did in the Matrix yet: We humans are not programming them with much intelligence. To wit, the spell check on this blog site does not recognize the word 'blog'.

always good for a laugh

Imagine yourself as a pitcher facing the New York Yankees. You're 24 years old, and it's a tie game 0-0, in the top of the second. You have a runner on first, and a full count to the Yankee catcher Jorge Posada.

And then...

Your protective cup slides down your pants. Your jock is now protecting your kneecap, which would be ok, but it's sorta a tough situation and you really don't need the jock-down-the-pants as a distraction while you pitch.

So you call time. You call your manager out. You tell him the situation. This is his reaction.

AP Ann Heisenfelt

Good times. For video evidence of the situation, click here. Scroll to about the 30 minute mark in the game (top of second, 2 out, 3-2 count). If this link doesn't work, you can try the archives (if you know how to navigate them) and access the highlight from the game on the 14th of April between the Yankees and the Twins.

Good times.

Monday, April 17, 2006

baseball clips

Last few days spent watching some Blue Jays play some baseball. Good team, it's going to be a fun season.

Saturday, ninth inning, Jays versus White Sox. The play of the year so far in baseball, and I don't see how it can be topped. Tadahito Iguchi (Chicago's 2nd baseman) makes an incredible throw to first to get Bengie Molina out. I thought the Jays were mounting a ninth inning rally when Iguchi fell down. Thing was, as he was falling, he threw to first. Watch it here and see for yourself. (clicking will open up a media player).

For all you thinking fans of the game: Last night in L.A., Omar Vizquel was the middle man for a rare, groundball 4-6-5 double play. Watch it here. Vizquel doesn't even look at first but turns and fires to third. I don't know what he could have possibly seen up to this point to make him think he could get the runner at third, but somehow he did.

Finally, for those of you who appreciate the effort. Game 6 of the 1986 world series as commented by Vin Scully. For visuals, RBI baseball. Truly, a majestic piece of art.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

i'm so wrong

here's the thing, upon revisiting the clip of the goal mentioned in my last post, I can see the Canuck bench door open and two players standing. Those two were probably the Sedin twins. I'm sorry official scorer, I was being a tight ass.

I'm just wrong about so much sometimes, that instead of being a person who criticizes, instead, I'd like to give thanks.

I'd like to begin by giving thanks today to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thank you for still trying to make the playoffs. Even though I counted you out weeks ago, you did your best. Like a procrastinating university student, you waited until your back was up against the wall, the night before your paper was late and absolutely couldn't be handed in any later, and even though you put up an A+ effort, in the end, the late marks drop your grade down to a C. But I was there while you put the A+ effort in, and I know that if you had just done that with a week to go before your paper was due, instead of the night before your paper was due, you would have been in the playoffs.

Thank you to Mats Sundin, who played the best hockey of his career during a ten game stretch when everyone was waiting for you to fall. You never fell, the mountain to climb just happened to be bigger than we thought. If I ever have children to tell a story, I will tell them the story of Mats Sundin, and how he carried the Maple Leafs even though victory was not in grasp.

Thank you to Jean Sebastian Aubin, you were the best goalie to wear the uniform of the Maple Leafs this year.

Thank you to Ed Belfour. You had possibly the worst season of your illustrious career, but not once did you come out and say anything bad about a defence core and forward line up that played like shit in front of you.

Thank you to Tie Domi. Tie, dressed or scratched, you are the embodiment of what a Maple Leaf fan would be if they played for their team.

Thank you to Matt Stajan. Even though you didn't get the playing time you deserved until late in the season, you made up for it by playing like a one man army when the Leafs were short handed. Everything that can be done should be done to make sure you are a Leaf for your whole career.

Thank you to Tomas Kaberle. Even though you weren't the highest scoring defenceman on the team, you were the one player that I could see saying to himself "fuck it, I'm joining the rush and we're scoring." More often than not the plan would fail, but the effort and the artistry was not lost on myself.

Thank you to Ian White. I've seen you play one whole game. I would like to see you play one whole season based on that one whole game.

Thank you to Jason Allison. You broke your hand in a fight, standing up for a fellow teammate in that disaster that was the March road trip in Montreal. Because you broke your hand in that fight standing up for a teammate and missed the rest of the season, you lost out on multiple salary incentive clauses that would have kicked in. Although some detractors say that you aren't the most fleet of foot on skates, the game slows down when you have the puck on your stick. To all those critics that site that the Leafs only sign high priced mercenaries, I would like to present to you Jason Allison, a man who lost dollars in the name of standing up for a teammate. How many other NHL teams can say they have a player who has done the same?

Thank you to Kyle Wellwood. Dude, you gots mads skillz with the puck. Another season or two and you'll be a point a game player. Just keep that head up.

Thank you to Alexander Steen. Your awareness on the ice is far greater than the years you possess would suggest.

Thank you to Alexei Ponikarovksy. You are about to become a scary force to opponents in the NHL. I'm glad that you're Leaf. Keep making those hits to open up passes.

Thank you to Carlo Colaiacovo. Come back healthy next season.

To all you and to all the rest that I have neglected to mention: Thank you for the effort you made and for the nights you made watching you play enjoyable. The high's are not the high's without the low's. No matter where you are next year, feed off that emotion you felt right after St. Louis scored tonite.

Go Leafs Go.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

CSI Vancouver

Hear ye, hear ye, all ye conspiracy theorists. I invite you to the case of the dastardly Swedes. However; these Swedes are not dastardly, just made out to be so. They were framed I tell you, framed!

It's a classic case, of a double switch, pulled off by identical twins!

Here's the deal. I was making a diagram to show the incredible pass made last night by Joe Thornton to Grant Stevenson for the Sharks first goal. Since it was a really long pass, pulled off on even strength, I decided to add coloured dots to show the approximate position of the players on the ice at the time of the pass. Then I decided to (by using the highlight machine's clip of the goal) record the corresponding player numbers for the dots. I couldn't find all the players, so I decided to do a quick cross-reference with the official scoresheet. Here's the diagram (if you click on it it should zoom to a larger size).

There's Thornton (19) at the left end of the long line, and there is Stevenson on the right (37). Now, here's the problem, everyone seems to be in place as verified by the video highlights except for two players on the Canucks. Player 14 and a player I have listed as "?". Both are around the faceoff circle to the left of the Sharks goalie Toskala (#35). Here's what happened.

As I was cross referencing with the official scoresheet, I noticed that the Sedin twins (#22 & #33) were both listed as being on the ice at the time of the goal. There are three skaters that are clearly shown as being on the ice (#44 Bertuzzi, #2 Ohlund, #23 Brown) a fourth whose identity is not so clear but can be easily deduced, and a fifth whose identity is a mystery. Quite clearly, the fourth player on the ice for Vancouver can bee seen to have a number 4 on his jersey. There are three players who were dressed for Vancouver last night that have a number 4 on their jersey, they are; Todd Bertuzzi (#44), Nolan Baumgartner (#4), and Alexander Burrows (#14). Bertuzzi is clearly shown on the ice as another player, and the player with number 4 clearly shows another number preceding it on the jersey, possibly a 1. If that player is Burrows, and three other players are clearly shown by video evidence to be Bertuzzi, Ohlund and Brown, then both the Sedin twins could not possibly have been on the ice for that first Sharks goal. I contend that neither of them were on the ice at all, and that mysterious player "?" was actually #20 Ryan Kesler! (This is where I would slam my big textbook in the courtroom to underline my point with a loud bang)

What's the point? Twain said there are three types of lies in this world: lies, damn lies and statistics. Statistics are recorded by humans, and we all make mistakes. However, the plus minus of the Sedin Twins is affected by this, and I have no idea as to the contract details of any players in the NHL, but quite possibly there are incentives or salary bonuses that kick in for specific plus-minus milestones.

Where are the checks and balances for the NHL? This is clearly an internal issue, and I have no business in it, but I found something, and I figured people should know about it.

Oh yes, before I forget. With the win last night over the Canucks, the Sharks clinched a playoff spot. James Mirtle believes that Joe Thornton should win the Hart Trophy. Question, if Thornton does, would he be the first ever Hart Trophy winner to win be traded within that season? I have a friend who is a veritable hockey encyclopedia, his name is Greg Oliver (not the same one who writes wrestling columns for the Sun Media newspapers)(to all those that have googled "Greg Oliver" to get here, I would like to say 'hello'), and he would know. As soon as Greg lets me know, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

hits from the bong

First things first. Nobody said anything, but I feel as though I made some mistakes and i need to clear them up. First off, Shea Hillenbrand hit a 3-2 pitch into a double play, and when the count was 3-1, he took a pitch that was called a late strike, one that could have sent him to first, so i could see why he would be swinging at any fastball close to the zone.

Jays scored 3 runs in the top of the first today and lead 7-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Good for them.

Cheech on the left and Chong on the right.

And so the Hockey playoffs start tonite, with a small home and home between the Sharks and the Canucks. It's raining here in ottawa, and I'm still thinking about trying to catch the game at some bar.

I'm gonna call this series the battle between Cheech and Chong. Cheech is obvious, but the Canucks will be Chong and I'll be Shemp.

Basically, the Canucks have 89 points with three games to go, and two of them against the Sharks who have 93 points with 4 games to go. Edmonton is the real team the Canucks are chasing, and they have 91 points with 2 games to go. Who knows where the chips will fall? Not me. If you do, feel free to tell everyone.

This word is for Bill Watterson. I've been looking for a transmogrifying gun ever since I saw Calvin with one.

transmogrify v : to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect intransitive senses : to become transmogrified
synonym see TRANSFORM

i have to go now. my planet needs me.

Welcome to a new segment here on "Saving the world one word at a time." It's called Do you even know what that means? It is going to be hosted by an new character. Even though it is still me doing all the work, I figured adding a new character to the blog would add some life to it. He's edgy, he's "in your face." You've heard the expression "let's get busy"? Well, this is a dog who gets "biz-zay!" I hope you like it.

I'll let Krusty the clown make the introduction.

Once in a great while, we are privileged to experience an internet event so extraordinary, it becomes part of our shared heritage.

1969: Man walks on the moon.

1971: Man walks on the moon... again.

Then, for a long time, nothing happened. Until tonight.

Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, welcome the newest member of the SWOWAT family....


Yo yo yo, this shout out to what a homey even means goes out to Bruce Garrioch, a sports writer for the Ottawa sun. In an article from this past Saturday he wrote:

Not only is Heatley on the road to scoring 50 goals and 100 points, he was selected yesterday as Ottawa's nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is given to a player each season for perseverance and dedication to hockey.

and then in the same article, one paragraph later...

Heatley requested a trade from the Thrashers last August. Following the lockout, he decided it would be to difficult to return to Atlanta, where he was involved in a tragic car accident that took the life of friend and teammate Dan Snyder.

Brucey, Brucey, Brucey. Do you even know what perseverance means? Maybe if you get a dictionary, HNIC will invite you back to the Hot Stove Lounge. For Brucey and all the members of the Ottawa chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, this one's for you.

perseverance n : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : STEADFASTNESS.

persevere intransitive verb Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French perseverer, from Latin perseverare, from per- through + severus severe
: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement.

Finally, in Haiku form, just because I can and it almost rhymes.

In case you're not clear,
requesting a trade is not
how one perseveres.

Catch you onthe flip side, dudemeisters......NOT! Hey, kids, always recycle... TO THE EXTREME! Bust it!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

walking is not enough exercise

Newsflash: 5 months of walking to and fro from home and school is not enough exercise to keep me in shape. Especially if I'm only walking to the bus stop.

It was a beautiful day in Ottawa today, and yesterday it was nice as well. So I decided to break the shell of atrophy and shoot some hoops. Well, after stretching for a good half hour, it took me 5 minutes of playing to start cramping up in my lower legs.

It was pathetic.

I couldn't jump, I couldn't run, I couldn't even turn. Muscles were seizing up all over the place.

Needless to say I'm not nearly old enough, nor wily enough, to play like a wily old vet, so I have to get this body thing going again.

Atrophy n 1 : decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue; also : arrested development or loss of a part or organ incidental to the normal development or life of an animal or plant 2 : a wasting away or progressive decline : DEGENERATION [the atrophy of freedom]

Screw amphetamines, if anyone knows of where I can find drugs to make my muscles not seize up, I'd appreciate it. I already have a full prescription of exercise and stretching, so anything else would help.

Jays could have used some more walking as exercise today, especially in the first inning. They played in the Boston home opener this afternoon. If it is possible to lose a game in the top of the first inning, then the Jays certainly did it today. A quick summary, top of the first, bases loaded, one out. Beckett (the Boston starting pitcher)(I don't know why I felt compelled to add that fact) has thrown about 27 pitches so far, allowing one hit and walking 3, in the inning. He was clearly not in the groove to that point in the game. On a 2-2 pitch Shea Hillenbrand grounds to the 2nd baseman and into a double play to end the inning.

At that point, only scoring one run was a killer. It's not that they scored one run or squandered the chance that killed the game for them, it's that they had Beckett by the throat. Hillenbrand should have been trying to put the ball in the air, to at least get a sacrifice fly in that situation. Anything to the outfield would have scored the run from third. The runner was Wells, and the outfield for Boston was Ramirez, Nixon, and a Canadian in centrefield, Adam Stern. I don't know how good an arm Stern has (or a good leg, or a good bat, I know nothing about this guy, according to Prospectus he's good defensively) but he was playing centre field and I imagine the a ball flying that distance would have been enough to score a guy with Vernon's speed.

Needless to say Beckett got his groove on by the top of the second, settled down quite nicely and his final line was great. 7 innings 3 hits, 1 run, 4 walks. Considering 3 of those walks and one of those hits came in the first, you can imagine that he did get his groove back by the second inning. Boston complemented his groove by scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the second (Tower's only bad inning) and then for some reason in the bottom of the seventh with a 3-0 count Vinny Chulk decided to pipe a fastball into David Ortiz's wheelhouse. Ortiz was swinging, and lead for the Red Sox was a big 4 runs (note to managers and pitchers everywhere: with a lead late in the game Ortiz is swinging on a 3-0 pitch). All I could think was 'why Vinny, why? just walk him.')

But, on the whole, the Jays proved that they can compete with the big boys in the east, for the game was a lot closer then the 2 runs show. Also, Wily Mo Pena doesn't appear to be the greatest fielder. Things could get interesting when Pena and Ramirez are on the field at the same time.

Final note, after a week of play, Bronson Arroyo has 2 more home runs than the player he was traded for, Wily Mo Pena. If I find odds I like, I'd bet that Arroyo hits more home runs than Pena this season.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Pronk-Half Project, Half donkey. Annoying baseball pool stat of the day. Pronk has 4 home runs and 5 RBIs.

In other news, my baseball pool team starters can't seem to allow less than five runs an outing. I know I know, it's early and you don't care. But still.

Annoying baseball pool stat of the day #2. Chris Shelton has 5 home runs and 6 RBI's.

8:49 Chris Shelton is 13 for 18 so far on the season. He's got 2 triples tonite. The Tigers, the 2006 Detroit Tigers, have set a Major League Record for most home runs to start a season with 16 through 4 games.

Friday, April 07, 2006

eureka, fools gold!

It hasn't even been a week yet, and I don't have splits from last year, but here are some numbers from the 2006 MLB baseball season which backup my claim that relievers are giving up lots of big flies. Heading into tonite:

Starters 97 HR allowed 375 IP 0.2587 HR/IP
Relievers 59 HR allowed 92 IP 0.6413 HR/IP

(stats courtesy of

Now, really small sample size, but HUGE discrepancy in numbers between starters and relievers. These numbers just go to back up my claim that the ban on greenies is affecting relievers more than any other position player. And quite frankly, I don't remember how I got to that claim, or why I'm using home runs allowed as the barometer to justify that claim. I should re-read my own last post.

I'm also going to have to find numbers from last year to compare this year's numbers to, verifying that this is a stat of note.

That still doesn't answer the question of why I'm doing this. I mean, I do have a paper to write on Joseph Howe, so that's why I'm thinking about baseball, but I forget my point as to why I'm tracking home runs allowed by starters versus relievers in 2006.

I think I've misplaced my marbles. I can't seem to find them.

Also, I was playing solitaire with a real deck of cards (as opposed to on the computer) and the 6 of diamonds was missing.

All these incidents mean something....

tergiversation n 1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : EQUIVOCATION 2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith

body break

Jays were up 6-0 after three innings tonite against the Devil Rays, were down 8-6 after seven and a half, when Vernon Wells hit a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-7. Hollins homered in the ninth for the Rays to make it 9-7. Wells lead off the ninth with another home run to make it 9-8. Eight homeruns tonite so far in this game.

It seems as if home runs are being hit at a high rate to start off this season. What's the answer? Steroids? Juiced balls? Expansion diluting the pitching talent? No to the first two, perhaps yes to the last. But you're going to hear the real reason here first. The reason? Greenies.

Baseball's new ban on amphetamines this year. Greenies is their clubhouse name, and they were made famous in Jim Bouton's book Ball Four. Who uses amphetamines the most? My guess is those guys who have to sit around for a long time and then come in and pitch, the relievers.

Before MLB does something stupid like claim it owns the rights to stats from it's games, I'm thinking a good stats survey would be to track the increase in the long ball this year, specifically those given up by relievers. My guess is it's significant. I'll wait for the sample size to reach a month before I start my survey.

Jays lost 9-8. Prince Felix has just taken the mound in Seattle against the A's, and I gotta tune in to see what all the fuss is about. This kid, according to the folks at Baseball Prospectus, is to baseball what Lebron is to basketball and Crosby is to hockey (Crosby and not Ovechkin because Felix is a teenager and Alexander the Eight was 20 to start this season). Prince Felix will turn into a King later tonite, as his 20th birthday is tomorrow.

Amphetamine n : a racemic compound C9 H13 N or one of its derivatives (as dextroamphetamine or methamphetamine) frequently abused as a stimulant of the central nervous system but used clinically especially as the sulfate or hydrochloride salt to treat hyperactive children and the symptoms of narcolepsy and as a short-term appetite suppressant in dieting.

Now, before I go back to my paper that was due today, here are some sites worth looking into if the greenie subject has you interested.

  • Here's a website, with some doctors are behind it, so it should be credible as to the side affect of amphetamines. Here's a sample of what the author of this piece, Amy Scholten says, specifically about amphetamines.
Amphetamines (also called speed or uppers) are stimulants that can decrease the appetite and the need for sleep. If injected they can cause a rapid increase in blood pressure, which can lead to sudden death from heart failure, stroke, or very high fever. Examples of amphetamines include prescription drugs such as Dexedrine, Adderall, or Ritalin, as well as amphetamines that are illegally manufactured for sale as drugs of abuse.
Greenies will be in the news everywhere in a little while. Hopefully more sports (like hockey) will ban them publicly (they might be banned in the NHL, but the NHL has not publicly listed the banned substances they test for).

More and more it seems that Jose Canseco did a good thing by writing Juiced. I say this not because he was bankrupt and bitter; but because he did help, in some small way, to accelerate the process of officially banning the substances in the Major Leagues.

Hopefully this ban on 'uppers' will reach the mainstream mind-set. That is, recreational players or adult amateurs who play sports and use them will stop using them due to the heart risks associated with them.

Till next time, keep fit and have fun.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

baseball question

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati. Bottom of eighth inning. 5-5. 2 out. Runners on 1st (Lopez) and 2nd (Denorfia) . Mike Gonzalez versus Adam Dunn. Dunn hits a soft liner to centerfield, Duffy (the Pirates cf) makes a great diving attempt at the ball, catches it (traps it) after it clearly bounces on the field. Duffy then holds his glove up as if he had caught the ball. The umpire buys it, calls Dunn out. Pirates leave the field. Denorfia scores, Lopez scores.
Umpire conference. Reverse the call. Now the interesting question is, since you reverse the call, what do you do with the runners? The Pirates were leaving the field as Lopez scored.
The umpires award Denorfia home, put Lopez to third and give Dunn a single. Jim Tracy (manager of the Pirates) argues, gets tossed.
Duffy leads off the ninth for the Pirates. On a 1-2 pitch he gets hit on the top of the foot by the pitch. Home plate umpire doesn't award it to him. Duffy strikes out on the next pitch.
Scouting report:
Chris Duffy CF Pirates: Struck out 21 times in 60 odd at bats in spring training. He's in the lineup for his excellent defence. Since he's solid defensively, Jim Tracy bats him leadoff. Jim Tracy is not a dumb man, he just has no other option asides from Duffy. Duffy will easily strike out 150 times this year if he continues to bat from the leadoff position.

how long can it last?

no cable tv in apartment, but cable internet a subscription to tuned into the Jays Twins game online and was pleasantly surprised with a live feed of Bruins-Leafs instead. someone forgot to tell mlb that sportsnet ontario is showing the Leafs game. I hope no Twins fans are trying to watch the game.

go Leafs go.

Answer: 20 minutes, I got to catch half of the first period before switched over to TSN who is actually broadcasting the game.

my identity as a time stamp

at 2:38 I will be forever known as 2:38. You can refer to me as 2:38 if I say something stupid. For example. I could say that I saw a shooting star yesterday go across almost half the sky here in ottawa and quite frankly it's the 2nd best thing I've seen in 2 years here (the best being a Sigur Ros show where they did this crazy thing with birds).

And then you could say '2:38, you're a dumbass. There are no such things as shooting stars, only UFO's that come to spy on us. dumbass.'

And that's how we can talk, anonymously, and yet to each other. I'll be 2:38, and you can be whatever time it is for you. As long as this thing gets posted at 2:38, otherwise I shall look like quite the fool.

I think my mind has left me, and considering it's finals time, I couldn't think of a better time for it to leave. What's my reasoning for absence of my brain? In two weeks, with baseball starting, NHL and NBA playoffs coming, this, my time stamp identity idea, is the best idea for a post that I could come up with. On the plus side, I'm up to chapter 5 in my story about how a cow got into a foyer. Maybe that's where all my energy is going.

This song made me laugh quite a bit. I hope you enjoy.