Thursday, March 30, 2006

Soriano and Javy Lopez

They have both been asked to change positions (Soriano from 2B to LF and Lopez from C to 1B). Check out what the Orioles manager had to say about the Lopez move:

"I think what we're going to do is DH him early now and let him continue to work on his first base and catching," Perlozzo said. "We need to take a little pressure off with his defense now and get him straightened out and get his bat going. We really need his bat. We're going to let him DH and work on his hitting and continue to let him work on his first base. As we go into the season we'll start using him at the right time. The better he gets the more he plays."

I thought everyone had gotten the point after the White Sox won and after the show put on in the fundamentally-sound WBC. Guess not.

Offense still rules in baseball, so much so that two teams are willing to take SIGNIFICANT defensive risks to squeeze a little more out their offense. What's silly is that both teams already had a good offensive player at the position (Vidro in LF and Lopez was the Catcher). Both teams went out and got a new player for a position they already had filled. Essentially, they made a trade for a bat and then tried to make the pieces fit.

Not a good idea. Didn't the Orioles see how the Piazza experiment went last year?

Watch this closely because you'll see these moves will NOT pay off for either team, plus it adds controversy and makes the players upset.

Didn't the White Sox also teach us about chemistry? Didn't the Marlins and the Diamondbacks and the Red Sox before them also teach us that?

Some people never learn.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tourney Time

I just heard a whisper here about some woman actually having picked every single bracket correctly. Every game, every one. Unbelievable if true. But besides the odds going against that happening, can you imagine how it must've felt to be that woman (if she even exists) during these games? So many buzzer beaters and incredible upsets, fantastic finishes, etc, etc. Imagine what it must've felt like to have things go JUST right so that the teams she had winning kept on moving forward? It must've felt like divine intervention, like she was the one moving the world, that her markings on her bracket were now deciding the fate of the real world.

It's spooky as hell.

Also heard of a guy who picked George Mason to go this far by mistake, he though he was picking Washington.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Scalia is calling the idea of giving jury trials to Guantanamo Bay prisoners "crazy."

He's missing the point. The reason the Europeans are backing this is because a lot of the people in there were just scooped up in massive arrests. Some of them shouldn't be there. If you just scoop them up and call them criminals, then treat them as such, how are you going to weed out which ones aren't supposed to be there?

Girl with two heads dies

This is a freaky one people. Look at that picture. The other head could smile and blink! Aghhhh!!!! Scary shit!

George Mason U and the Tourney Effect

A freshman girl at GMU in this story didn't know they had a team, you can bet she'll be the last freshman of her kind.

This is going to catapult this team into the spotlight, not just in the basketball world but as an educational institution as well. I know, the same thing happened at Boston College when I was there in 2000.

The basketball team was a joke, no one really paid attention, deciding instead to focus on the mighty hockey team. Then the team was suddenly 12-0 or something like that and some people started showing up. We beat a couple of good teams and got some press. Suddenly, more people started showing up. But it wasn't until we got into the tourney that things changed. The next season we were somebodies and Troy Bell was a household name.

Then the football team started making bowl games. The women's basketball team got good. Even the Soccer team got in on it, going to the final four.

It took a couple of years and a whole lot of free exposure (mostly during these nationally-televised sporting events), but it made BC a household name. A name to be reckoned with, a place people wanted to go to.

As juniors and seniors, we hears stories of younger brothers and sisters with superlative scores and applications that just couldn't get in. BC got so selective they had to turn away people who were better qualified than their existing students.

Now BC is more than just a name. It carries significant weight. I'm happily reaping the benefits of this development. Whenever I tell people I went to BC they raise their eyebrows and kind of nod quietly, the way I do when someone says they went to Stanford or Harvard or Kellogg Business School.

Little do they know, I got in just before the Tourney effect. That freshman girl may not have known about the team, but she'll be thanking them for years.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tiger Woods on 60 minutes

I just finished watching it and there are a few things I have to say:

Ed Bradley is corny and cheesy as hell. He belongs on Good Morning America next to Katy Couric the way he was ooing and awwing at Tiger. On two seperate occasions he chuckled and reached over to "bump fists" with Woods after a particularly good ass-kissing question. It made me want to puke.

He did ask a very good question though: "Would you dedicate as much time to your child as your parents did with you?" Which is fantastic because there is no way he could - I mean he's the most famous athlete in the world right now and his father was an obsessive man. No way he can be as crazy and pushy and obsessive as his dad was. No way. But doesn't it sound awful if he were to answer "no" to that? So he gave a nice softball answer that covered his bases.

Tiger, by the way, is not very deep or very interesting, as a person. He's very blah. Sure it's great that he wants to help kids and use his money, good stuff. But as Bradley the cornball kept asking questions I was overcome with a sensation that said, "Either Tiger Woods is just a big a cornball and so very blah and uninteresting considering who and what he is, or he's the most polite person in the world. His answers were so lame.

Bradley: So if we played ping pong...what would happen?
Tiger: I would win.
B: And if you didn't?
T: We'd keep playing until I did.

*Chuckle chuckle* Bradley shifted in his seat in what looked like an aborted fist bump reach, thank god.

The interview was interesting because he's the most dominating force in his sport, but other than that he's not very interesting. He gives the kind of answers you'd expect from Jessica Simpson or any politician in mid-campaign.

But as bad as that is, Bradley is much much worse.

I'll fist-bump to that.

As an aside, I really liked how he handles his finances: anything he makes on the golf course he will use to spend (buy houses, boats, etc.), but he either invests or uses the rest (which is more than 50% of his money, which he makes in endorsements) to help others, I'm not sure which.

Spring Training Surprise

Angel Pagan
Here's a guy we got from the Mets for cash over the winter and he's been having an awesome spring. I like the fact that he's got speed and is a superior defender (he's an outfielder), and he's been hitting well this spring. Let's look at his numbers:

At AA a year ago (2004) he hit .287 with a .346OBP. 71 Runs, 29 SB, 8 HRs.
At AAA last year he hit .271 with a .333OBP, 69R, 8HRs, and 27Steals, though he was caught 15 times.

He's an intriguing guy but his OBP is still pretty low, he would be a good fourth outfielder to have around, a pinch runner in the late innings (and pinch hitter for bunting situations). But he may be better off going to AAA to keep improving, he's only played AAA once. I have a feeling he's going to make the team though.

His numbers in the spring so far:
12-31 for a .387 AVG, 4BB/3Ks, for an OBP of .444. 3 2Bs and 3HRs (which is second on the team). He has 10 Runs and 5 batted in. He's having a heck of a spring.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

No Pressure?

So I’m watching the Cubs play in spring training and the guy pitching is a huge (as in tall) lefthander that wasn’t supposed to make the team. But because of injuries, he’s in the race to become the Cubs’ fifth starter. Turns out that the game is being played in Hohokam park, the Cubs’ home park in Arizona during spring training. Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ GM and the guy who decides (along with the manager) who makes the team, is in the stands. Since he’s the head honcho, he has the best seat in the house - right behind home plate. You can see him sitting with what could be his young children, drinking water and eating some ice cream. And the young minor leaguer is pitching, all on the same screen. Pressure? Turns out Marshall is pitching a hell of a ball game. It’s just so weird seeing the GM sitting right there watching you play. The other weird thing is he isn’t focused 100% on the game, he’s got his kids with him. So he’s looking at them, making sure they don’t fall or whatever kids do. He’s just all around busy. And what do you do if you’re Sean Marshall after you throw a nasty curveball that freezes a major league hitter and he was busy cleaning ice cream off his kid’s shirt?

I don’t know, I’d be nervous and anxious as hell.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Saw this one last night and it has me thinking about a few things.

First of all, let’s just get it out of the way: this is a bad movie. It’s got very little character definition, what there is is shallow and stereotypical (Glover is the “cop whose partner was killed and is now obsessed with the murderer character” while the guy who was the prince in Princess Bride is the “has it all but is still bored with his life and is thinking is cheating on his wife” guy). The dialogue gets pretty cheesy at times and a some background information is straight up spit out at us in an awkward way.

So it’s not going to win any awards.

However, it was pretty entertaining despite all that. The writers put some pretty decent puzzles together (or traps) and it really gets you interested in watching. Think of it as a dumber, B-version of Seven.

The ending was fantastic. I probably wouldn’t even call this salvageable if it wasn’t for the ending. I never saw that coming, not even close.

One thing I really liked was the way it started. I have a lot of trouble just starting a story without putting in some sort of disclaimer that says, “OK, this may not make sense, but here’s why it’s happening.” The movie just starts out with two guys waking up in a nasty bathroom, chained to some pipes, with no memory of how they got there. That’s the way to start a movie.

Yeah, it ain’t great, but who cares. Sometimes you just want to be entertained. I already have Saw II on my Queue.


If you are a chain smoker, you risk losing 33% of blood coming to your penis. Bu...

Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance has this quirk in it's site that it always has a section (I think from Forbes Magazine) devoted to the "Good life." Stuff like "Credit Cards for the Rich," "Most expensive penthouses," and a whole slew of articles that could be titled "Things you'll never have."

Interspersed with that is the financial advice, most of which is sound. It's all about slow, long-term growth while minimizing risks.

What does that mean?

It means that investing is not how to get rich, if that's what you want.

Man in Afghanistan may be put to death for converting

Check out this story here.

This is the real, underlying issue that has been overlooked in the whole mess about going to Iraq and Afghanistan. This government believes that all people, deep down, are the same: we want freedom and we want a better life for ourselves.

Which may be true, but religion stands in the way. This is the way they want to run their governments. They want a government that kills a man for converting away from Islam. That's just what they believe. It may sound shocking to us but that's just their belief system.

So what are you going to do? Eventually the administration will realize that they can only go so far. You can go spread freedom and kill terrorists all you want, but if the people—the citizens—all want something that we think is bad for them, we have to let them have it. It's the spirit of democracy and major problem of democracy. We know it well. After all, look at who we have in power.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Great Cuba article

Check it out here.

On a related sidenote, this new guy they have at Yahoo Sports, Jeff Passan, has been churning out articles like a madman lately. All very good too.

Cuba in the WBC and defections

From the LA Times:

Rookie Kendry Morales, who defected from Cuba two years ago, said he would be rooting for Cuba in tonight's WBC championship.

"When you win in Cuba, you feel everybody, the whole country, how much they support you," he said. "They're not professionals, you have to remember. It's amateur baseball. We all feel very proud.

"I'm going to celebrate. I'm not there any more, but I know how it feels. They're my friends."

Morales declined to comment when asked whether he believed any Cuban players might try to defect. He cited second baseman Yulieski Gourriel and pitcher Pedro Lazo among a handful of Cubans he considers to have major league ability.

"There are some quality players, but very few could play here," Morales said.

I've been looking for something in this defection story for a while and haven't found a thing, which sucks. Since the US lost there has been a huge deal made out of how the rest of the world has "caught up" to the US in terms of playing ability. And the consensus was that a good amount of the Cuban players had the ability to play in the big leagues. That was probably overstimated, but this insider's view from Kendry Morales is interesting. He's been there and he knows what the US baseball talent-pool is like (even though he's only played in the minors). He's a big-time prospect for the Angels and his opinion, while may have some politics behind it, seems genuine, especially since he's speaking of his country and his teammates with such praise.

He reminds us that they are amateurs, not pros, and that makes a big difference.

Arroyo traded after taking a discount

I found the article over at from January, check it out, it's from when he had just signed a new deal with the Red Sox:

By agreeing to a deal that will pay him between $11 million and $12 million, Arroyo bid adieu to his remaining three years of arbitration eligibility, and the new pact will take him right to free agency.

In a unique twist, Arroyo's agent, Gregg Clifton, advised his client against taking what he felt was a discounted contract.

"I think [Clifton] felt like I was leaving close to maybe $4 million on the table," Arroyo said. "I think [Clifton] felt like three years, $15 million is probably would I would achieve if I went through the arbitration process all three years."

But Arroyo stood up for himself and insisted on taking an offer that gave him more security.

"I agreed to this contract with strong advice from [Clifton] not to sign it, simply for the reason that I want to play in this town," said Arroyo, who turns 29 next month. "I love being a Red Sox. I wouldn't have signed a deal [like this] in any other place. The reason I took a discount was because I love playing here and I want to stay here my whole career."

In Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Wells, Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement, Jonathan Papelbon and Arroyo, the Red Sox have seven viable starting pitchers for their five-man rotation.

Wells, another Clifton client, will likely be traded before the season starts.

Arroyo hopes that his new deal will help prevent him from being the odd man out.

At the same time, his agents warned him that the new deal could make him more attractive to a smaller market team in a potential trade. Arroyo was willing to take the risk, hoping the ultimate reward will be a lifetime of home games at Fenway Park.

"They didn't give me any guarantees, but [co-general managers] Jed [Hoyer] and Ben [Cherington] both stated to me that there were no deals on the table for me right now and they felt pretty strongly that I wouldn't be traded anywhere any time in the near future," Arroyo said. "Not that they could guarantee me any security for the lifetime of the contract, but at no time in the near future did they see me going anywhere."

His agents were right and he's now going to be pitching in Cincinnati at a bargain rate. It doesn't get much worse that going from Boston to Cinci, let me tell you. Ouch.

Which makes me thing maybe Todd Walker will also be moved, he's in a similar position.

Friday, March 17, 2006

81% of Guatemalans Save

This article is pretty interesting (though it is in Spanish). Turns out that 81% of Guatemalans save money, which is good. But 37% don't have enough money to get through the end of the month, which is bad. How those two figures are compatible I have no idea. The three main reasons we save? For emergencies, to buy a car, and for our kids' education.

It's refreshing to see this after all the horrible news about the American citizen and his financial woes (getting hammered by credit card fees, debt, negative savings rate, etc.).

It just goes to show how differently people can view money. Some see it as a real, material thing that has value (Guatemalans). Americans see it as something ethereal, you don't have to have it to spend it, and there's no need to save it because it isn't real. They'll worry about it later.

It could be where I got my spendthrift ways, though I've been told the Herrera family has always been kind of cheap. Which we take offense to, and correctly call it "being economic."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

El signo indica que usted tiene...Veinte...y...Cinco Años.....


More WBC stuff

It really shows you that there is still some love of the game spirit left in a lot of the big-leaguers that are out there. Some of them are risking monetary losses (by not being there to win a starting spot on a team, etc.) in order to play for their country. And you can feel the intensity during the games. These guys want to win for their own national pride.

It feels good to know that it's still there, underneath all the millions of dollars and jaded egos.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Success of the WBC

You're going to watch a game like Korea-Japan and not be utterly convinced that this is an absolutely awesome event?

And what's with California looking like Korea?

The Japanese Baseball Team

Did you see the relay on the two-run double that scored the first two runs of the game? That shortstop did it as good as can be. It's beatiful watching first class, fundamentally sound baseball.

Wasting Time

Check out this article on how British men waste 60 million hours a year on the road because they don’t ask for directions.

Hey, someone has to take charge, wrong or not. Think of the cavemen and how obvious it is that we are the way we are. When it comes to survival, there’s no time to stop and ask the competition where the wolves are coming from. We are programmed to act and react. Fight or flight. It’s what got us here, evolution just didn’t know we would end up in cars on endless stretches of highway.

Who knows, if we stay in cars long enough (here I’m thinking of thousands of years), things might get reversed - maybe the men that survive and stick around are those that stop to ask questions.

Not likely though.

Nightline: Uppers

So I’m watching this show about how the new rage among teens is getting high off of prescription drugs. The parents are sitting there saying how there were completely duped by the whole thing.

“He went to school and got As and Bs. You would never know.”

“I never really tried, I was high all the time.”

Put aside the drug issue and focus on the educational system: a kid can be on all kinds of hallucinatory substances and still get As and Bs? What the hell man?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another Reason to dislike Scientology

Isaac Hayes quits South Park amid accusations of hypocrisy.

I can't wait to see how they nail him on the show.

Monday, March 13, 2006


I first saw the capabilities of watching live TV on the computer when I was working in Boston and was giving away free broadcasts for spring training. It was amazing. Live games on my broadband connection (at work, no less) and it never stuttered and was crisp. Sure it wasn't a huge sized screen, but still, it was good enough.

Today I broke down and paid the 10 bucks it costs to get access to ALL the WBC games. I wish I would've done this sooner. It's the same crisp video, live, of games I can't see cause I don't have cable. Right now I'm watching Venezuela and Puerto Rico on one screen and Korea and the US on another. Zero stuttering. It's amazing.

International play is awesome.

Korea is winning! Go Sun Yeop Lee!


This baseball tournament is incredibly exciting - it reminds me of the days when I played international ball and the pride involved in representing your country. Every game counts and the feelings at the stadiums are just magnified. This is bigger than baseball.

Too bad the Japanese got screwed on this play. I feel awful sorry for them. Of course it looks even worse since the US benefitted from it. Selig better hope this doesn't keep happening or the whole thing will be a failure. Check out the replay at and see for yourself.

Tomorrow I'll watch my first full game, Venezuela vs Dominican Republic. It should be awesome. I've only been tracking online and you can feel the energy.

No Whammy!

The guy who used to host one of my favorite shows of all time has died in a plane accident.

No whammy no whammy no whammy...STOP!

Friday, March 10, 2006

I would like to be lazy now

From an article about Clemens;

If Clemens already had decided to play for the Astros, why the pretense? Why drive through annoyingly slow Surprise traffic on a random Thursday morning? Why not stay at his hotel and eat Twinkies, drink Dr Peppers and watch SportsCenter? Why bother?

That sounds SO good to me right now...

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Guatemala Tourism

An excellent website dedicated to the many things you can do when in Guatemala. This is really the best compilation of activities in one place I've ever seen.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006


The World Baseball Championships, some people hate it and some love it.

For those of us who have watched a baseball game in a latin-american country, we know the answer to the question of whether this should've been done or not. It's easy.

For those that haven't, try to think of what the World Cup is like. If you're in the majority of Americans, you don't know what that means. The best I can offer you is March Madness on a global scale.

For the rest of you, read this article.

From the article:
Guess what? In these two countries, they love baseball in a way we don't. In these two countries, you could argue they have come to play it better than we do, too.

Dominicans and Venezuelans, more than any other people you can name, are raised on baseball to a degree we no longer are. It is why more than one-third of all players currently in the minor leagues are from those two countries. It is why plenty of people can see a day coming when Major League Baseball's main pipelines begin in the two nations we saw play here Tuesday.

Not only that, even the Japanese are more enthusiastic at games than Americans, by a long shot.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Match Point

This movie had me waiting and waiting to see what the “moment” would be. You’ll get it once you see it. The movie lays out what it’s going to be about at the very beginning, then tells you a story based on the one idea. It’s interesting because it’s probably how a lot of us think. We have an idea and then we want to dress it up with stuff and tell a story around that one idea.

It works here. The main actor looks like he’s Joaquin Phoenix’s younger brother, it’s really weird, especially that Gladiator-esque accent.

I liked how Crime and Punishment was weaved in too, that was cool, especially with the ending.

Overall, it was a pretty nifty movie. My biggest problem was Scarlett Johansson. Let me fill you in a dirty secret: she can’t act in movies where she has to talk. Girl With a Pearl Earring? Good, no talking. Lost in Translation? Good, no talking. The Island? Some talking, not good. Match Point? Lots of talking, horrible.

Go figure.

Prisoners in Guantanamo Bay caught in Catch-22

This article shows how, even if they aren't guilty, why a lot of prisoners don't want to go home. The damage, they say, has already been done.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

I'm sick of hearing all this crap about how this movie is this or that or why it didn't win this or that prize. People want to focus on the "gay love" angle, which is fine. But I'm sick of it. Just grade it as a movie will you? Are people that uncomfortable with homosexuality (still) that they can't take an objective point of view on a movie like this?

It's pathetic and it's pissing me off.

Women and Money

From a really interesting article about how some women view money:

It's not that all women behave irrationally about money, or that men don't have any financial problems. But Perle believes women won't achieve financial sanity until they stop trying to use money to accomplish emotional ends.

Ben Stein article on quality of life

It doesn't look good...

I'm silly

I was putting The Aristocrats, which was OK, in the mailbox today when I heard a thunk.

My glasses fell into the mailbox. I dropped a note in begging the post office person to drop it off nearby at Mindy's.

That's about the silliest thing I've ever done.

Recently, at least.

Study: Almost half of kids will be fat by 2010

From the Sun Times

"This is going to be the first generation that's going to have a lower life expectancy than their parents," Dr. Phillip Thomas said. "It's like the plague is in town and no one is interested."

Polls and Americans

I was watching something on the news today about the country and some polls showing people's opinions on certain topics.

"X% of Americans belive that there will be civil war in Iraq"

"X% of Americans believe that bin Laden will be caught."

Umm, excuse me, but what the hell do Americans know? Why would anyone put any stock into these numbers? As a whole, Americans don't know what the hell is going on in the world. What do they know about the necessary elements for civil war in a country they know nothing about? I know they're probably well intentioned, but sorry. If you don't know what the hell you're talking about (and the polls that really tell us that are the voting polls), then the media should ignore the polls.

Otherwise, just take the media's numbers with a big fat grain of salt.

Spring Training on WGN

I forgot how anticlimactic this is. Long, slow games, minor leaguers (though I enjoy watching guys who's names I've been hearing for a while), and players running sprints in the outfield.

At least it was nice to see the sunny Arizona sky while it snowed out my window.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Elton Brand

A great article on former Bull Elton Brand.


This guy who wote an article about the Matsui situation at 2B for the Mets is really a "glass full" kind of guy. For those that don't know, Matsui cam from Japan and has had two awful, injury-filled seasons. If he's lucky he'll make the team and have a job. This tells you how desperate they are:

An ideal No. 2 hitter takes pitches, makes contact and excels at hitting when behind in the count, and Randolph said Matsui embodied those characteristics. When Matsui, a switch-hitter, bats left-handed, he makes it difficult for a catcher trying to throw out a runner trying to steal second, and Reyes, who bats leadoff, has said repeatedly that he wants to take advantage of his speed this season.

Oh well we beter put him in there, that's a talented young man!

Chicago hating its Icons

More bashing directed at MJ, this time by Rick Telander at the Times.

Here is the email I sent them about it:

Dear Sun Times,
I just read Rick Telander's article "Sharing comes
naturally to LeBron" and I couldn't help but notice
the amount of negativity being directed at former
sports icons in the city.

What's going on here? Is it that in every case, Frank
Thomas, Sammy Sosa, and Michael Jordan, the athlete
has somehow wronged the city and deserves to be hated?

To some degree, I agree.

Sammy Sosa is selfish. He cheated.

Frank Thomas is a primadonna with a big mouth.

Michael Jordan was selfish and self-centered.

But aren't these the very qualities that made us adore
them so much during their glory days? Isn't it
hypocritical of us to hate them now, during their down
time, for the things that made us come to our feet

I agree, they all deserve a degree of criticism, but
never forget what each did for their city and that
each one of them was the greatest at what they do/did
in their sport.

I'm not saying to let the bad things go, but don't
forget about all those good times they gave us.
Respect that and remember it.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

I've said it before, it's about effort

Especially for a team like the Bulls. But check out this clip from an interview (from with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point:

Gladwell: This is one of my favorite topics. Let's do Erick Dampier. In his contract year at Golden State, he essentially doubles his rebounds and increases his scoring by 50 percent. Then, after he signs with Dallas, he goes back to the player he was before. What can we conclude from this? The obvious answer is that effort plays a much larger role in athletic performance than we care to admit. When he tries, Dampier is one of the top centers in the league. When he doesn't try, he's mediocre. So a big part of talent is effort. The second obvious answer is that performance (at least in centers) is incredibly variable. The same person can be a mediocre center one year and a top 10 center the next just based on how motivated he is. So is Dampier a top 10 player or a mediocre player? There is no way to answer that. It depends. He's not inherently good or bad. He's both. The third obvious answer is that coaching matters. If you are a coach who can get Dampier to try, you can turn a mediocre center into a top 10 center. And you, the coach, will be enormously valuable. (This is why Phil Jackson is worth millions of dollars a year.) If you are a coach who can't get Dampier to try, then you're not that useful. (You may want to insert the name Doc Rivers at this point.)

In the context of sports, none of us have any problem with any of these conclusions. But now let's think about it in the context of education. An inner city high school student fails his classes and does abysmally on his SATs. No college will take him, and he's basically locked out of the best part of the job market. Why? Because we think that grades and SATs tell us something fundamental about that kid's talent and ability -- or, in this case, lack of it.

But wait: what are the lessons of the contract year? A big part of talent is effort. Maybe this kid is plenty smart enough, and he's just not trying. More to the point, how can we say he isn't smart. If talent doesn't really mean that much in the case of Dampier -- if basketball ability is incredibly variable -- why don't we think of ability in the case of this kid as being incredibly variable? And finally, what does the kid need? In the NBA, we'd say he needed Phil Jackson or Hubie Brown or maybe just a short-term contract. We'd think that we could play a really important role in getting Dampier to play harder. So why don't we think that in the case of the kid? I realize I'm being a bit of a sloppy liberal here. But one of the fascinating things about sports, it seems to me, is that when it comes the way we think about professional athletes, we're all liberals (without meaning to be, of course). We give people lots of chances. (Think Jeff George). We go to extraordinary lengths to help players reach their potential. We're forgiving of mistakes. When the big man needs help with his footwork, we ship him off to Pete Newell for the summer. We hold players accountable for their actions. But we also believe, as a matter of principle, that players need supportive environments in order to flourish. It would be nice if we were as generous and as patient with the rest of society's underachievers.

Well said and it goes to show how some of these players just don't care after a certain point. Coach Skiles only wants players that care, hence the cutting of Tim Thomas.

Missbrenner Rape Trial

I understand how hard it must be for this girl to watch a tape of herself having sex with a couple of guys when she doesn't even remember it.

But it begs the question: When are you no longer responsible for your actions? How drunk do you have to be to be able to say, afterwards, "Oh I didn't want that to happen" and not be held liable for it?

I've done plenty of stupid things when I've been drunk. Most of them I don't remember. Does that mean I shouldn't have to man up to the consequences? No.

I beat on an old woman's door in the middle of the night and puked on her porch. She got scared, called the cops, and they took me away. Shouldn't I have to serve my punishment (community service)? Of course I should.

Just because we don't remember something doesn't mean we aren't responsible. We are responsible, however, for how drunk we get. On that I think we can all agree.

And this case is different.

Three guys had sex with her. The defense and the prosecution both claim the tape supports their side. We can't know unless we see the tape. Was she not moving?

If she wasn't, it's rape.

Was she just really drunk?

I'm trying to put myself in the guys' shoes here. They were drunk too. How do you know, as a guy, if the girl won't remember what's happening? There is no way of knowing this.

It's a judgment call, and judgments are known evaporate with alcohol in the system.

It's horrible to have something like that happen to you when you were so drunk you don't remember. It is. But don't get that drunk then. At some point you have to take responsibility. "I got way too drunk." "I don't remember."

I'm not saying that these guys in this case are or aren't guilty. I don't know. But no one does.

All I'm saying is that, if the best the prosecution can do is say "She can't remember," then there is plenty or reasonable doubt left.

Maybe the answer is in the tape, maybe it isn't. But it's the only real account of what happened that night. Everyone else was drunk or has an ulterior motive now.

Dubai Ports deal

I know we're supposed to be erring on the side of caution, but really, isn't it a HUGE jump to say that because a company from a country that has had people linked to terrorism should be investigated the way they are?

And why is anyone other than an American company even being considered for the protection of its citizens? It makes no sense but I'm sure it has to do with money.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Great study on Happiness

Makes a lot of sense

Brew Crew

Nice article on the Brewers' young infield. They should be a really good one.

Brian Anderson

I love me a good position battle, and I've been keeping an eye on the White Sox CF job. I think Kenny Williams is doing this perfectly—breaking a rookie in with no pressure and asking him to simply focus on defense. Offensively, the club really doesn't need much from him.

But check out this interview with the guy, he's hilarious, a little Zito-ish thing going there.

He loves the word "nonsense."


My favorite time of year!

I just saw that the Cubs play the A's tomorrow, it'll be on the radio. And on Sunday they play on WGN! YES!!!

An Inspired Win

The Bulls beat the timberwolves last night in a game I was fortunate enough to catch after class.

A couple things:

- THe Bulls are tough
- Hinrich is a robot
- Nocioni is still my favorite
- When the Bulls play ferocious defense, they're tough to stop
- Kevin Garnett is good, really good (but I still wouldn't trade Gordon+Noce to get him)