Don’t Worry

I did not have this affect me. To be quite frank, I don’t twitter anyway and probably won’t in the foreseeable future. I do have a Facebook page, but I’m pretty much never on it during the day. Apparently, the whole episode is related to global politics. In a perverse way, I suppose this could be a clever way to silence dissent. Of course, I hope web security continues to improve so nothing like this happens again for a while. It will eventually, in my view. Just like steroids in sports, it’s hard to stay one step ahead of the people who are concocting whatever schemes we try to stop.

Anyway, the real reason I was away from the blog for most of the week is that I have been interviewing for potential new work opportunities- right now I only do some limited part-time stuff, so I am looking for a bit more steady work. Outside of that, I try to mix in blogging and hard work finding those job advertisements. We’ll see how that all shakes out going forward. I do have one strong possibility I will be mulling over during the coming weekend (possibly out here) Since the unemployment rate dropped slightly, I guess things can only get better than, at least the markets think so. Quite a few economists and/or pundits, however, think otherwise, and at the moment, they’re probably right. Even the President seems to acknowledge that the rate is probably going to head up unless either a lot more people stop trying to work, job cuts suddenly stop for one reason or another, or something else happens to confound current projections.

Whatever. It’s Friday, so we’ll cut the gloom for a couple of days at least! Enjoy Yankees-Red Sox instead.


Deadline Day has Come

A semi-live blog of today’s MLB deadline day stuff. The usual mix of confirmed developments and any near-instant reaction I find. Plus some of my own thoughts, as warranted.

11:10- First, a recap of yesterday’s moves, including George Sherrill going to the Dodgers, more Pirates abandoning ship, and a couple of other deals. Also, Freddy Sanchez joined San Francisco on Wednesday (as we hinted at in that day’s blogging) for a potentially steep price, pitching prospect Tim Alderson.

11:21- Ken Rosenthal and FOX reported this morning that a Victor Martinez deal was unlikely, but Jayson Stark previously said Cleveland and Boston could pull off a three-way deal. Clay Buchholz would be Cleveland’s primary return on a trade, while the third team would take Adam LaRoche (and probably some minor leaguers). No real updates on Stark’s report, so we’ll see about this…

11:31- It does seem, however, that the Red Sox are still looking seriously at Adrian Gonzalez, but it’s clear that he is not likely to come without paying a steep price. In the Daily News article linked here, we also find out that the Yankees were interested in lefty-pitcher Jarrod Washburn, but that is not going to happen as Detroit just swooped in and got him.

11:45- The Daily News also has this gallery of not-so-great Yankees and Mets trades or free-agent signings, both at the deadline and otherwise. Ah yes, Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps and Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Gotta love it.

11:50- Looks like a couple of prospects headed to the Mariners for Washburn. Here are some details on them. Good move for Detroit, as it gives some protection for the rotation behind Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson in case rookie Rick Porcello wears down under the strains of a late-season pennant drive. Plus, Comerica (national) Park might be an even better place for southpaw hurlers than Safeco Field. A 2.64 ERA could go even lower, and if so, Washburn figures to be in for a nice payday once he reaches free agency this winter.

11:55- Not much else cooking right now, but we have until 4:00 ET, so I’ll be back a little later!

2:15- A little bit has changed since we last spoke. The Brewers traded for Claudio Vargas. Minnesota got Orlando Cabrera for basically a bag of balls. Jeremiah Graves likes it, since Cabrera is better offensively than what they previously had at short (aside from not walking very much), and his glove is solid. The Brewers may just be taking a cautious wade in the “go for it pool.”

2:23- Washburn reaction. Good deal both ways says Blogging About Baseball. Rob Neyer sees it as a wiser move for Seattle, as does Geoff Baker, while Keith Law thinks Washburn could be golden in October. Ken Davidoff thinks the Tigers are going for it this year, if only to keep attendance up despite the economy. Seems a bit cynical, especially since Mike Illitch is an owner who flat out wants to win. John Lowe in the Detroit Free Press worries about whether or not the Tigers will give Washburn enough run support, something he manifestly lacked in Seattle (and Lowe notes that Detroit has let down Edwin Jackson several times this season).

2:30- Fan bloggers mostly praised the Tigers’ decision, apparently including a (reluctant) Yankees fan. I can’t say I’d have given up top prospects for Washburn, which is supposedly what Brian Cashman was told he’d have to do. Of course, Detroit arguably ended up getting him for less, perhaps somewhat by default. This Mariner fan is happy, since the Mariners at least build up some pitching depth for someone they likely wouldn’t have been able to re-sign.

2:44- A Red Sox blogger wishes the Yankees had gotten Washburn (figures), but seems happier about a possible Victor Martinez trade that might be getting closer

2:45- Detroit apparently wants Luke Scott from Baltimore. That definitely would help the offense a little bit.

2:50-’s Jonathan Mayo hints on his Twitter page at whom Boston might deal for V-Mart. No Buchholz apparently, which could make this deal almost as good as the one Philly made for Cliff Lee. In fairness, Cleveland is looking for longer-term potential, which Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson may have.

3:05- A Victor Martinez trade means it would likely be “we hardly knew ye” for Adam LaRoche in Boston. Just one hour until the deadline, and rumor is Atlanta may be interested in acquiring him (they actually had LaRoche a couple years back and then dealt him to Pittsburgh for closer Mike Gonzalez).

3:23- And what do you know? Adam LaRoche is headed to Atlanta, per Gordon Edes (seen here and here). He should provide some extra offense.

3:28- The Yankees won’t quite let the deadline pass quietly. They’ve acquired Jerry Hairston, Jr. from Cincinnati. As with the Phillies getting Ben Francisco in the Cliff Lee deal, Hairston’s not spectacular but he will give them a right-handed bat off the bench with a little power (eight home runs so far this year). He can also play multiple positions in the field.

3:32- Boston gets Casey Kotchman in return for Adam LaRoche, per NESN. Kotchman was the Braves’ first baseman, but as the report notes, he’d be competing with V-Mart and Kevin Youkilis for playing time. On the other hand, perhaps Martinez would just rotate between catcher and DH.

3:34- Colorado upgrades the bullpen with a deal for Joe Beimel, late of the Nationals.

3:36- The Boston Globe’s trade deadline blog confirms details of the Martinez trade.

3:42- The Marlins will apparently stand pat and either get the wild card or nothing on what they have now.

3:45- Reports that Scott Rolen has been traded to the Reds. He does have to waive his no-trade clause first. He’d be a nice addition going forward, although the Reds are unlikely to win the NL Central this year (they’re just not better than the Cardinals or Cubs). No, I haven’t forgotten about Roy Halladay, but it’s pretty clear that he won’t be dealt today. No indication that the Jays have been in any serious talks over him this afternoon.

4:00- And there it is! The deadline is upon us.

4:04- The dust may not settle for another hour or so as teams and MLB confirm all the paperword/medicals/issue press releases. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX say Edwin Encarnacion will go to Toronto in return for Rolen, who is expected to waive his NTC. He’s signed through next year. Reds also deal a couple of others- nobody of particular note- per Yahoo! Sports. Also, in a milder surprise, the Marlins will, in fact, acquire Nick Johnson from Washington for a prospect. This should give Hanley Ramirez some protection in the batting order.

4:06- Yahoo!’s live blog says that the Blue Jays did not ask Roy Halladay to waive his NTC. If true, this confirms that he’s staying in Toronto, at least until the end of the season. Also, the Yankees gave a minor league catcher (but not Jesus Montero) for Hairston, Jr.

4:10- From earlier, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says San Diego is not trading reliever Heath Bell (unless he clears waivers during August). Minnesota balked at the high price, as other teams did with Adrian Gonzalez.

4:12- River Ave. Blues likes the Hairston trade for the Yanks. Was Watching with a light-hearted nostalgia flashback. Boogie Down says the Yanks were smart not to make trades just for the sake of them today. That said, I do think Boston improved themselves by getting Victor Martinez and Casey Kotchman.

Busy Week

Pleased with the Yankees apparent turnaround in Atlanta and then against the Mets (or is it MASH Unit, or even David Wright and the seven dwarfs?). Congrats to Mariano Rivera on his 500th save. That’s a great achievement, but also hides what he will be remembered for- his postseason track record.

Also proud of what our national team did, despite Brazil’s second-half comeback. And of our soldiers, as they turned over control of Iraq’s cities to an Iraqi military.

Anyway, on to present matters. NBA and NHL free agents to chat about tomorrow, more so with hockey because basketball players can’t sign until next week. Ronaldo and Kaka to be officially introduced at Real Madrid… more big money signings to come?

I’ll have some thoughts on this stuff later… after dealing with my own business! Damn, the holiday weekend can’t get here soon enough. Should I go out to the beach or hit the city? Your thoughts welcome…

Monday Monday…

So the Red Wings and USA both get it turned around on Saturday night, and how! No newsworthy, funny, or otherwise photos this morning because the computer I’m typing from seems to have a problem uploading them right now…

Plus the Yankees record another come from behind win and finally beat the Rays at home, this time in front of Sarah Palin, there as a guest of uber-fan Rudy Giuliani during her visit to New York. Ken Davidoff adds that it was arguably a bit of a statement win for them. We’ll see. They’ve got another one tonight, followed by three with Boston in Fenway, but frankly, with about 100 games to go, the real statement games don’t come until after the All Star Game, to put it kindly. Off the field, the Yankees could become the first team to stream games online within their regional market, if you’re willing to pay for the privilege.

The Magic had Game 2 of the NBA Finals in their grasp twice, and couldn’t finish the job, writes Mitch Lawrence, who uses the “cursed” word by reminding us of Nick Anderson’s missed free throws in 1995. They paid for it in OT and are now in big trouble, especially since to win the series, they now must go back to LA for a potential Game 6 (unlike the earlier playoff rounds, the NBA uses a 2-3-2 for the Finals). You can ask if Pau Gasol got away with goaltending at the end of regulation, but I think the Magic shouldn’t be making any rationalizations for badly missing a very makeable shot.

Lots of other good sports action this weekend. I went to Belmont for the first time, which I’ll elaborate on later and hopefully be able to post a picture or two. Bottom line, I didn’t fare well but at least I didn’t wager much in the first place! Props to Kent Desormeaux for an outstanding ride, culminating in Summer Bird’s explosive final surge evocative of what Calvin Borel on Mine That Bird (they both have the same sire, Birdstone, but different dams) did to blow away the field in the Kentucky Derby.

More later…

For the Umptimillionth Time…

You get a review of the new Yankee Stadium on the blogosphere. I had a chance to check it out on Friday night. I bought tickets on the spur of the moment- and got a pretty good price on seats with a great view. All I can really say is beautiful. What an absolutely gorgeous ballpark. In the old stadium, the field was about the only pretty thing about it. The inside of the stadium was ugly, cramped, and on hot days, almost felt like it could suffocate you.

In the new ballpark, the open concourses mean you don’t have to miss much of the action when going to get food. Not surprisingly, many fans chose to watch bits and pieces of the game from the concourse walkways, just to see how close a view they could obtain. Most of the seats seem closer to the action; since the backstop is closer to home plate and the upper deck is much less steep, they probably are. The gigantic scoreboard actually didn’t look out of place upon viewing it in person. Oh, and I don’t think I had much of a wait in a bathroom at all. For a fan, this place is absolutely an upgrade, and the designers did a terrific job on it.

I would say that I looked over towards the obstructed view seats by the batter’s eye in centerfield. While they are pretty cheap at $5 or so, I probably wouldn’t buy those tickets myself and depend on a television screen to ensure that I saw everything. But there are some pretty good ticket values in the rest of the stadium too. I was in the Main Level between first base and the right field foul pole, which cost me $45 on Stubhub (about what season-ticket holders paid, so presumably someone was trying to dump his/her ticket); day-of-game is more but still seemed okay. From eyeballing the rest of the Main Level and the upper deck, you probably couldn’t go wrong with anything except seats right near the top, and none of them will cost you $1250; most not even $100.

Later in the summer, I hope to get there early enough to check out the new Monument Park and team museum, and maybe even try the Lobel’s steak sandwich. Despite costing $15, no concession stand had as long a line when I went to look at the food court. I stuck to some pulled pork from Brother Jimmy’s and an orange, which was okay but not special. Yes, you can actually buy fresh fruit if you want to! I just wish it was a bit more conspicuously placed and nicely presented, which this blogger seemed to agree with me about. Having little tables with views of the field to put food trays on is a nice touch in case you don’t want to carry things all the way back to your seat.

All in all, despite a 7-3 loss to the Phillies, it was a good night out (made even better by meeting up with some friends in midtown afterward, as well as by seeing LeBron’s unbelievable shot, video of which is posted below). If you have a chance to attend a game, do it!

After this weekend, Yankee Stadium has yielded 87 homers in 23 games, a new MLB record. I got to see seven of them on Friday night, most of which were no-doubt dingers on contact. Hey, if pitchers make mistakes at the big league level, hitters will make them pay in almost any ballpark. Jimmy Rollins homered on the first pitch; it was a case of blink and you just saw it landing several rows deep in the bleachers, 1-0 Phillies just like that. Anyway, I do think the Yankees can win a championship in their new home at some point. The Phillies proved last year that you can win playing most of your games in a hitter-friendly yard; your pitchers just have to hit their spots.

I saw a lot of servicemen and women at the ballpark and around New York for the annual Fleet Week festivities, which once again leads into Memorial Day. So I would be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a great holiday, especially to those who have and continue to selflessly volunteer for our nation. Today is for all of you.

Hit and Run

A few quickie thoughts because I’ve been away from the blog too long.

Stanley Cup Playoff OT is pretty awesome. A pair of games with them tonight was even better. A battle of wills until someone scores. Now, as a soccer fan, I wouldn’t stop watching hockey if they did go to 4-on-4 after one or two OT sessions down the road, as has been proposed a few times. I’d rather have TV coverage than none, assuming this were the choice to be made. But, the current and long-time way of settling games is fine too, so if it isn’t really broke, let it be. Speaking of “The Beautiful Game,” Manchester United vs. Barcelona should be an awesome Champions League final. Arsenal’s demise was painful, but Man U put on a beautiful display and fully deserved to go through. So much for Cristiano Ronaldo having an “off year.”

Not sure if I’m going to read Selena Roberts’ book at this point. I suppose down the road when it’s available in a library, my perspective could change!

My brother came home tonight with his second year of college done. Wasn’t so long ago I was in that situation. Between that year and the one which followed, boy did I change. So many formative experiences in a short time. I suspect he probably is going through this and will continue to. Oh, tonight or tomorrow also marks one year since my very last academic requirements were completed. I helped reenact a scene from The Bard (I don’t remember which play). While acting wasn’t exactly my forte, it actually went pretty well! Either following a pleasant class dinner at the Inn, or the following day, I completed one last Final exam- International Relations of the Middle East. By Thursday night, it was off to Hilton Head Island with some of my very closest friends for a terrific few days at the beach. More memories of that later…

Just a Typical NY Weekend

Yankee Stadium opens up and plays like a bandbox every day. Is it the weather, bad pitching, an actual product of the design? We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s definitely not something anyone saw coming. Listen, it looks really nice, but home-run havens can be tough to win a lot of games in. Took the Astros and Phillies a few seasons before they were in the playoffs after moving into their bandboxes, while Colorado got there in 1995 but not again until after they added a humidor to Coors Field.

On the field, a four-game split between the Indians and Yankees isn’t bad either way- although both teams will hate the manner in which their losses occurred- because they each definitely have talent (as I noted in the preseason predictions), and I won’t be completely shocked if they meet in October, although let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Especially when the Yankees have to figure out Chien-Ming Wang and their middle relief first- and fast– while Cleveland has to make sure Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona are really up to the job. Luckily for them, nobody’s running off with the AL East or Central so far (I haven’t really seen enough from Toronto yet, though if Ricky Romero pitches anywhere close to as well as he did on Sunday, it would sure help them win games not started by Roy Halladay). I saw the Posada home run as it happened and then the numerous replays and just couldn’t tell what the right call should be, so the umpires probably got it right simply by leaving it as made on the field.

Oh, and about that weather. We could not have asked for a nicer Saturday and Sunday around here. Everything the meterologists hyped it up to be. Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of a hypocrite here, because I hate big snow storms as I’ve said here before, but I do enjoy a day turning out even warmer and sunnier than expected! Plus, great to see some friends from school on Friday night in the city- some of whom I hadn’t in several months.

Rangers are 2-0 after they blanked the Caps on Saturday (see above). Lundqvist stood tall again. Yes, he’s good. No, I didn’t expect him or them to win two games in Washington and play as strong a defensive game as they did in the second one. Mark Herrmann was a little surprised too. Still have to finish the job, and to that end, Game 3 at MSG will be huge on Monday night. Elsewhere, looks like Boston, Detroit, and Vancouver each have a foot in the next round. Didn’t think Anaheim would match the Rangers and win two on the road though. They’re arguably a better team, but were playing San Jose, who racked up the most points of anyone during the regular season and lost five times in regulation at home. I still expect that San Jose and Calgary, who is down 2-0 to Chicago but going back home for Games 3 and 4, will not go quietly into the night.

Don’t worry, at least a few more posts over the next several days.