Thursday, July 14, 2011


6:30AM - I got out of bed.

6:45AM - I was outlining the chapters for my midterm.

7:00AM - I get almost done with Chapter 1.

7:30AM - Sidetrack #1 - I know I have a blog to write today.  Maybe I should get back into writing something about baseball.  It's been awhile. 
7:45AM - back to the outlines.  I get into chapter two and there's an interruption.

9:10 -AM interruption took way too long.  And I still am not dressed.  Haven't made it to the doctor either.  Oh well, time to blog.

So now I'm blogging about baseball, as the second half of the season begins today.  Six years ago, I had never played fantasy baseball -- the artistic community of Hollywood doesn't have so many sports fans -- not because I didn't want to, but because I knew few people who did.  Now it's 2011 and I'm an admitted addict.  I used to be in 5-6 leagues when I was writing about it.  Now I'm focused on one - an old style 4X4, which eschews the RUNS and STRIKEOUTS categories....  So closers now hold a ridiculously high position in your pitching agenda as SAVES is a 1/4 of the tally in the pitching world.  To that end, I traded some keeper value for Huston Street and Jose Valverde, along with acquiring Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki while dealing breakout candidate Asdrubal Cabrera (yes, I drafted him), legless Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz.  Yes Feliz was a closer too, but essentially Troy replaces Cabrera and is likely to have a better second half, I strengthen my outfield adding Holliday to disappointing Carl Crawford and Tori Hunter, Ben Revere and Maggilo Ordonez.  I also have Vlad Guerrero who is good for the AVG. category and RBIS.  He subs in as a 5th outfielder or Utility player sometimes.  My starting pitching now has a stumbling David Price, now with turf toe (an acquisition I got for Nelson Cruz), Tommy Hanson, Ryan Vogelsong, Alexi Ogando and John Danks (i believe his rebound with continue in the second half)-- it's a young core that could be amazing for the second half.  My relief corps of David Hernandez, Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton (please make it back this year you velocity-stripped hefty bag) and Ryan Madson (also drafted). I also have held onto Johnny Venters, a genuine find because of his countless 0.00 ERA and .000WHIP lines that held stave off some minor disasters that occur with starters.  Both he and Hernandez have filled those gaps to keep my ERA lower than it could be.  I was leading the category until both Price and Ogando had two horrific starts in the last two weeks leading up to the break.  We'll see how things figure after. 

The one thing I look for in fantasy players is their ability to draft.  Acquiring someone via waiver wire is a skill too, but really it's more about having tons of time on your hands.  If you're the guy that foresees candidates that turn out great from Day 1, that to me is a testament of your ability.  Injuries don't count in that assessment.  But if you really planned let's say to take Lance Berkman this year because you doubted that he was done, then I commend you.  If you acquired him because you were first to your "unlimited waiver wire pickups" or got the biggest bid on him in your FAAB market, then eh, you got lucky.  The rest of my team I pretty much drafted -- John Buck at catcher with pickup Wilson Ramos.  Dustin Pedroia (keeper), Adrian Gonzales (keeper), Miguel Cabrera, Starlin Castro, Mark Reynolds (picked him up the moment I saw the power come back and dropped mega-disappoint Casey McGehee), Dominick Brown, Eric Hosmer and Shane Victorino.  I've also added the enigmatic Vance Worley - which guy will show up the walk machine or the guy who threw a 2-hitter right before the break and has an overall ERA under 2.7.  His overall K/BB ratio does not bode well for him to keep a low WHIP, but his last two starts he had a 14/4 K/BB and he's playing for the top-notch Phillies.  Wins are something I need.

My opinion is Carl Crawford will have a great second half if he gets back right away.  He's now more of an RBI candidate than steals guy, unless Francona moves him back to the #2 spot, and I don't see that happening.  Ellsbury is simply tearing up the joint, with Gonzalez plating everything around.  I don't know if HAdrian can continue to rule Fenway the way he did the first half.  He's going to hit a slump again at some point.  Be ready for it. 
So we're off today with eight games on the slate.  Minnesota and KC start a new series.  The last one Minnesota swept a 4-game at K.C.  I'm sure the Royals want some payback.  They face the ever puzzling Francisco Liriano, who has a no-hitter to his credit this year but probably the ugliest one in recent memory.  He also seems to be an inconsistent mish-mosh of quality starts and disasters.  If he has control of his fastball, much like David Price, he's deadly.  His slider doesn't have the bite it did when he first came into the league, but it's still a nasty pitch.  However, it's only useful when he can paint the corners with the Numero Uno.  At 5-7 with a 5.06 ERA it appears he is still an unpredictable pitcher.  However, keep in mind his BAA is the lowest of his career since 2006 at .227, and his K/BB is 70/45 in 83 innings, and he's still inducing groundballs at a 1.23 GO/AO, though not at as high a rate as you'd like.  The Twins offense also was anemic for most of the first half, with Mauer, Kubel and Young all on the DL at some point.  Ben Revere appears to have given the Twins a spark in the leadoff role and the guy runs a ton.  He also gets caught a ton, five times in 16 attempts.  That's a third, and those like me who saw how fast this guy is at the AFL hope it's simply a matter of pitcher study and timing than anything else.
Florida vists Wrigley, Baltimore gets Cleveland, Texas gets Seattle and Milwaukee gets the Rockies.  Yanks have Toronto and the Fathers visit the Large Mongloids in SF.
And my Pirates, well, they are over .500 at the break.  I can't tell you how many times I said to people on message boards Neil Huntington knew what he was doing.  And he does.   He's done a great job so far in rebuilding this team.

We're off for a second half of baseball.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


41 today.


I woke up and it didn't feel a whole lot different, except that I had my lovely wife roll over after snoozing her alarm three times from 5:30 - 6:00 and wish me Happy Birthday.  How can a day start better than that?  Well maybe if a BMW 330i convertible rolled up in the driveway after I had won a sweepstakes that is now run by Pat Sajak in Ed McMahon's stead, that would be pretty good.  But I'll take my wife any day.  She's really so beautiful in the morning.  Her voice isn't quite full, and much like the morning grass, has dew on it and needs to shake it off to get the full effect of the sunlight.  It cracks a little and sometimes goes a bit raspy.  It's sexy and kind.  And for some reason has kind words to say to me a lot so I kiss it regularly.

Yes I'm going to the office today.  Most people take the day off for their Birthday.  I'm not quite sure why.  For me, Birthday's are a double-edged sword as they are for most people.  Sure, it's great to celebrate the fact I'm here.  In fact, as I sit in my dining room and listen to the birds sing, I'm pretty sure I caught a bar or two of HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR JON.  Who knew robins, thrushes and wrens could whip it into a frenzy?   Yet it's a natural reminder we aren't here forever.  (Somehow I'm beginning to think that I took that part in Jewish studies too far -- you know, where you learn that nearly all Jewish holidays have both happiness and sadness.  We celebrate yet are reminded of who is not here to celebrate - damn depressing sometimes).

Alas, I have to get my butt in gear to head to the doctor's office so they can take my blood.  Apparently, my pale skin isn't the only clue that I lack sunlight.  I'm now short on Vitamin D, and my kindly internist has sought to lend me some so I can correct the problem.  Now, if it would fix my English looking complexion, that would be something, and he would be a hero to all men Phillips.  I have a feeling he's more concerned about the internal implications (hey, he ain't an INTERNIST for nothing) and thus I need to measure my vitamin intake now. 

I'm trying to eat better I'll say that.  One, because I'm conscious enough to know that when the day comes that my wife is carrying our unborn child and we're walking the street together, I don't want to be the one mistaken as being pregnant.  Two, I've noticed that I now react to bad foods a lot more quickly.  I get a noticeable high off a few glasses of coke and then crash like a stalled Cessna later on.  I haven't even done XTC and I have a feeling though the extremes are greater, the result is the same, but probably with a lot more naked photos.

Tonight, my wife and I will get dinner.  Dinner is sort of the fall back social-ISM of the day isn't it?  Whenever you meet up with someone, you get drinks and/or dinner.  If you haven't seen someone in a long time it's "Hey, let's get dinner."  And while you're at work you'll often have a phone call with your spouse that goes something like this:

"How's your day going?"
"Fine.  How's yours?"
"What are we going to do for dinner?"

It drives our society, which in LA by the way will come to a screeching halt Friday night around 8pm when they begin the rolling closures of the 405 Freeway.  They're calling it Carmageddon for those of you back east, and sadly, you've probably actually heard about it.  If you want to witness an example of a city which has lousy infrastructure topple into some chaos, get ready.  Now, the question in my head is, if you're a foot thief, what a weekend this is for you?  I mean, what cop can really chase you?  Well, they'd have a hard time in a car at least?  Your worst fear would be that a cop gets smart and decides to bike it or just go after you on foot while you're running with a television.  Other than that, you don't want to have to report a burgulary or any sort of crime this weekend.  If you ever had the thought 'where's a cop when you need one' this weekend isn't a time to put that to the test.

I'm actually praying since the local news is so fascinated with police chases, that someday we get to witness a bicycle cop chasing another dude on foot, who then picks up a bike, and we cut to the on-the-scene reporter standing there saying:

"I'm in Venice, Jane, where this chase has been going on for nearly twenty minutes now and has reached speeds of nearly five miles per hour!"
I'm taking a second real estate class, only three years or so after the first one.  Hey, they don't expire.  I aced the first one, and this one, Real Estate Appraisal, isn't so hard.  Just a lot of terms and common sense.  Got to hit the books soon.  Back to studying for a midterm.  And here I thought that was all behind me.

41.  The big FOUR, ONE.  Forty-one.  Four and one.  41.  I remember in second grade sitting with Patrick Zubrow and David Moltz and giggling about how we'd be 30 in the year 2000.  We never calculated past that, probably because we couldn't add that far or we didn't think that was funny.  41.

Today is the day.  Happy Birthday to me.  I guess I should shower.  41 and stinky is no way to go through life.