. The 2000 election.
...But the talk wasn't always politics on Saturday night. As we sat at First Horizon Park and watched single-A prospects try to play their way to the major leagues, my neighbor discussed why middle-market teams such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Kansas City (which just broke its 19-game losing streak over the weekend) were having such trouble regenerating their minor league systems. It seems like most teams were able to rebuild in ten-year cycles when their crop of young players would mature.
It had to do with pitching, we concluded. Too many young prospects are blowing their arms out. As a result, big-market teams like the Red Sox and Yankees are the only teams able to sign experienced big-league pitchers. Even that doesn't work out, as the Yankees are finding out this season
Then I read this N.Y. Times article
on the former Dodgers reliever Mike Marshall, who a set a record with 106 appearances in 1974. His durability gained him a reputation as a "physical freak", while his strong personality and intellectual approach to the game made managers and coaches uncomfortable.
Now Marshall trains young pitchers to avoid injury at his Florida research center. What baffles him is the fact that no major league teams are willing to contract for his center's services:
"We need to eliminate pitching injuries. I don't understand why baseball, with all the money they have invested in pitchers, doesn't research this. The stress that pitchers put on their elbow creates Tommy John surgeries. No pitcher I've trained has had a pitching arm injury."
One team, however did show interest in Marshall's program:
"The Reds has an assistant general manager who was interested in my program......But they changed general managers and they dropped me. Dan O'Brien wasn't interested in having me there."
The Reds' team ERA: 5.26.
Fire Dan O'Brien at the end of this season.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
My first trip to First Horizon Park last night. Decent crowd, though not overflowing. Perhaps the earlier afternoon thunderstorms kept people away. Our fair city does have a nice skyline, with a little bit of everything mixed in.
I was keeping an eye out for the availability of water, since the stadium won't allow you to bring it in. I was pleased to see an abundance was water fountains at every restroom. I guess you ask for a cup at the Grandstand and fill up. Or you could rinse out your beer cup. But I wasn't drinking water, anyway.
Then it was off to Cafe Europa for more drinks. While talking, I realized what a challenge I faced because the majority of my company was blue and were not afraid of voicing their opinions on certain matters. How could could I state my views without engaging in a full-scale debate?
Two of my neighbors said they were patriotic for about two hours after 9/11 before seeing the footage of members of Congress singing 'God Bless America'
. Somehow that scene made them cynical all over again.
How to respond to that? I simply shared how my views were shaped after 9/11. I was sitting on the couch with my kind, sweet, lovely wife, watching 9/11 coverage, when, once again, the infamous photo of Mohamed Atta
appeared on the screen. My kind, sweet, lovely wife got off the couch, gave him the finger and shouted "Fuck you!"
Since that moment, I've been a strong supporter of the war on terror. And I'm not cynical at all.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Interesting lunch at Chick Fil-A today.
First of all, I'm sitting there eating my lunch when none other than Truett Cathy
walks in. No big deal. He stood in line just like everybody else, paid for his lunch, sat by himself and ate it, tossed his tray and left.
Then a young girl got into a febder-bender in the parking lot. I watched the whole thing unfold. At one point she was balling (oops, I think the word is bawling), and people were trying to console her and find the owner of the damaged car.
It probably was her first wreck. I remember watching the aftermath of another wreck involving a young female driver. I was doing tree work at the time, and my buddy and I pulled into one of the old roadside stores at Guilford College and Jamestown Roads while that area was still countryside. Parked in the lot was a sedan with a smashed-in hood. The young lady (and her friend) were waiting by the car when her father pulls up. He was obviouusly and busy, hard-working guy. He had his phone with him, only this was the old early-90s hamhock that eveyone carried around.
He stood there and listened intently, then let his daughter have it. I couldn't make out exactly what he said. But whatever it was, he made her cry.
Randy Moss smoking grass
. Never would have guessed.
The funny part is the response from his agent, Dante DiTrapano, who accuses HBO of quoting Moss out of context:
"In an attempt to promote their dying network, they have maliciously couched his remarks in a manner that is confusing and leaves room for negative interpretation."
HBO spokesman Ray Stallone:
"It's worth noting that the portion of the interview to which Mr. Ditrapano appears to be referencing was complete and unaltered. We believe Randy's remarks speak for themselves."
Why do people insist on playing with tigers
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Is it me, or does the N&R's new Web site take forever to load?
At any rate, Cindy Sheehan dominates today's N&R, with a story on local protesters
supporting her cause, a lead editorial urging President Bush to meet with her and a letter to the editor from Tony Moschetti compalining that the media is not telling the whole story on this very complicated matter.
The matter is complicated because, as Cone says
, Ms. Sheehan is both a grieving individual and a symbol, and merging the two is what complicates things. Still, people have an overall simplistic view of the matter.
For example, the N&R urges President Bush to honor Ms. Sheehan's requst to meet with her. A couple of weeks ago, that might not have been an unreasonable request, regardess of the fact that the two have already met. But if the N&R thinks the president will meet with Ms. Sheehan now that MoveOn.org
is involved, then they have another thought coming.
Then there's Melinda Ivey, who according to the article, "had thought about what it would be like to have a son or daughter fighting in the war. The notion gave her grim determination.
"'They'd have to come right through my dead body to get my child,' she said."
But one day it might not be Ms. Ivey's decision whether or not her daughter fights in a war. Her daughter will grow up to become a woman and might decide to join the volunteer army, as did Ms. Sheehan's late son. And when you join, you go where they say, right or wrong. Or daughter might join out of a belief in a cause that so many other military men and women believe in.
And if nobody volunteered for the Army? Then it might be wise to have a gun in your closet when the enemy comes calling.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
My next assignment: An article on direct-to-consumer advertising by the pharmaceutical industry. Here
are the basics, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
. The organization has already announced voluntary guidelines.
Interestingly enough, a Greensboro company, Merz Pharmaceuticals
, is a leader in direct-to-consumer advertsing with its commercials for its skin care products, most notably Mederma
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
This is for real........Mr. Rogers definitely didn't put his street shoes back on before walking out the door.....I watched very closely.
Voters in Mecklenburg County will face over a half-billion dollars
in bonds when they walk into the booth in November.........
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Via Carolina Journal
, syndicated columnist Scott Mooneyham warns against
legislation that would ban smoking in prison:
"Georgia banned prison smoking in 1994, only to rescind the policy two years later....Prison officials later acknowledged that smoking is a key pacifier that helps keep order."
Makes sense to me.
The head dude of the whole noonday sort-and-load came in my truck yesterday and let me hear it about missorts. Too many, he said, and he asked for a commitment from me to read the zips more carefully. Put me in a pretty bad mood for a while, considering the crazy flow that comes down the chutes.
Then I noticed my supervisor, who's a pretty cool guy, walking around with a grim look on his face for a good part of the day.
"You saw my boss walking around with me," he said. "That's not necessarily good for me."
So when I screw up and hear about it, my supervisor more than likely hears about it, too. Gee, I'd never thought about it like that. I'll try to do better.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Bobby Knight, reality TV star
N.Y. Times obit
on Peter Jennings:
"As an anchor, Mr. Jennings presented himself as a worldly alternative to Mr. Brokaw's plain=spoken Midwestern manner and Mr. Rather's folksy, if at times offbeat, Southern charm. He neither spoke like many of his viewers ('about' came out of his mouth as A-BOOT, a remant of his Canadian roots) nor looked liked them, with a matinee-idol face and crisply tailored wardrobe that were frequently likened in print to those of James Bond."
Skip Bayless questions
Steve Young's first-ballot entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
"Objective 49ers fans won't forget the Cowboys beat Young's 49ers in the NFC Championship Games at Candlestick Park following the '92 season and at Texas Stadium the next January. He did not look like a first-ballot immortal in either of those games."
About Young's Super Bowl win, Bayless writes:
"...the 49ers faced yet another AFC team that did not belong on the same Super Bowl field with them — San Diego. Young again was masterful, throwing a Super Bowl record six TD passes in a 49-26 blowout. But that performance against that lousy team elevated him onto the same Hall podium with Marino?"
I'll take Bayless one step further — I question whether or not Young belongs in the Hall of Fame at all. Don't get me wrong — Young was an exciting quarterback to watch. But does two MVPs, the highest passer rating of all time and one Super Bowl win merit entry into the Hall of Fame?
The NFL has had many exciting quarterbacks pass through the league — Roman Gabriel, Ken Stabler, Joe Theisman and Jim Plunkett come to mind — who are not in the Hall of Fame. I'd say Young ranks more in line with them than Dan Marino.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I'm back, again. This time, Blogger was disabled for some time (at least on my server) and I didn't have the time or the patience to figure out how to get it going again.
I honestly wondered if this might be the end of the blogging scene for me. It really did seem like blogs had become like a******s: Everybody's got one. But I'm really making an effort to ramp up the freelance writing, and it would be crazy not to have blog to compliment that effort.
My latest assignment: covering the proposed half-billion dollar school bond
for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Mecklenburg County commissioners
will debate Tuesday whether or not to place the bond on the November ballot. And some are actually worried about the cost to the taxpayer.