On Mike Condon and the Habs

Posted in non-de Jesus related on November 13, 2015 by dejesus54


Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes in this week’s 30 Thoughts on how the Canadiens are proving everyone wrong:

A lot of us figured they’d drop without Carey Price. Instead, they’ve got eight of a possible 10 points, with no regulation defeats. Mike Condon is showing why the organization chose him as the understudy over Dustin Tokarski.

And it’s not just the goalie:

The Canadiens do one thing you have to do (control the puck in the offensive zone) and one thing people frown on (throw it out of your zone). But they turn that supposed negative into a positive, because it plays to their strengths. And it gives a clearer idea of why they are more than a one-man team.

He may be right–and honestly, I’m willing to defer, since I haven’t watched a single minute of a single Habs game all season, and I suspect Elliotte Friedman has.

But the Habs are 13-2-2. A league-best 13-2-2 and 28 points (the Rangers and Stars have 24; the Rangers only have two losses as well and have two games in hand), but they’ve only played 17 games. That’s 20.7% of an NHL season. In baseball, that’s 33.5 games. In baseball, this is early May.

Joe Sheehan, baseball’s self-described “sample-size police,” observed this past April that

baseball fans would be smarter if no one paid to write about baseball wrote a thing before May 15 or so. Myself included. Baseball is hard enough to figure out in season-long chunks, and most timeframes less than that are, as much as this has become a cliché, a small sample size. We can get fooled over half a season, and certainly over two months or a month


[T]eam performance is volatile…Past performance is a leading indicator of future results, but it’s by no means gospel. Teams can fool us for a month, for two months, for four months. That’s a feature, mind you, not a bug. It’s one of the best things about the game.

Hockey isn’t baseball, of course. (Canadians don’t even play baseball, right?) But Sidney Crosby has 2 goals. He, Claude Giroux, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Marleau are tied for 107th in the league in scoring with Francois Beauchemin and Jared Spurgeon. Joel Ward and Dale Weise are tied for fifth in goals, two behind the league lead. Reto Berra leads the league in goals against (1.50) and save percentage (.952). It’s November, and it’s early.

I don’t think the Habs will collapse, or miss the playoffs, or not make a run. I picked Tampa (now 7-8-2 with a negative goal differential) to win the division, and still think they can, but I picked Montreal second, and they were my East finals pick (losing, correctly, to the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks) only a year ago. (Don’t worry, I went back to picking the Blues again this season.) And Condon is a great story so far, undefeated (in modern terms) at 6-0-2, .936, 1.73. But it’s November, and it’s early. And regression, like the snow, can be merciless on poor old Montreal.

Image courtesy of Semiotext(e) Canadas, Autonomedia 1994.

Rosa Luxemburg on the 2015 Astros

Posted in non-de Jesus related on October 19, 2015 by dejesus54

We find the same logic of the error as an internal condition of truth with Rosa Luxemburg, with her description of the dialectics of the revolutionary process. I am alluding here to her argument against Edward Bernstein, against his revisionist fear of seizing power too soon, “prematurely,” before the so‑called “objective conditions” had ripened. This was, it is well known, Bernstein’s main reproach to the revolutionary wing of social democracy: they are too impatient, they want to hasten, to outrun the objective logic of historical development. The answer of Rosa Luxemburg is that the first seizures of power are necessarily “premature”. The only way for the working class to reach its “maturity,” to await the arrival of the “appropriate moment” for the seizure of power, is to form itself, to educate itself for this act of seizure. And the only possible way of achieving this education is precisely by “premature” attempts. If we just wait for the “appropriate moment,” we will never live to see it, because this “appropriate moment” cannot arrive without the subjective conditions of the maturity of the revolutionary force (subject) being fulfilled. That is, it can arrive only after a series of “premature,” failed attempts…The opposition to the “premature” seizure of power is thus revealed to be opposition to the seizure of power as such, in general.
–Slavoj Žižek, Lacan and the Subject of Language (Routledge, 1991)

i.e. haters (Texas Rangers fans).

Slavoj Žižek’s playoff picks

Posted in non-de Jesus related on October 18, 2015 by dejesus54

Symptoms are meaningless traces; their meaning is not discovered, excavated from the hidden depth of the past, but constructed retroactively. The analysis produces the truth, i.e., the signifying frame which gives to the symptoms their symbolic place and meaning. As soon as we enter the symbolic order, the past is always present in the form of historical tradition, of interwoven traces which constitute a synchronic network of signifiers. The meaning of these traces is not given; it changes continually with the transformations of the signifier’s network. Every historical rupture, every advent of a new master signifier, changes retroactively the meaning of all tradition, restructures the narration of the past, makes it readable in another, new way. Thus things which don’t make any sense suddenly mean something, but in an entirely other domain. What is a journey into the future if not this “overtaking” by means of which we suppose in advance the presence in the other of a certain knowledge‑knowledge about the meaning of our symptoms.
–from Lacan and the Subject of Language (Routledge, 1991)

In other words, Cubs in 7.

NHL 2015-2016 Season Preview

Posted in Canucks-related, Flyers-related on October 8, 2015 by dejesus54

Stanley Kup Inn

Totally ripping off Scott Cullen, my 2015-2016 picks, with the two minutes of thought this requires, working from West to East because West Coast bias.

* = playoff teams

Pacific Division
Los Angeles*
San Jose

Obvious picks: Anaheim
Formerly obvious picks: Los Angeles, who could miss the playoffs if the rest of the division were better; Vancouver, a 101-point team last season who will miss the playoffs; San Jose, who will miss Raffi Torres, and that’s sad
Non-obvious picks: Calgary, who will regress, but they have two Hamiltons!
Close: Edmonton, who will miss, but not by much
Where’s Sam Hinkie: Arizona

Central Division
St. Louis*

Obvious picks: St. Louis; Chicago (obvious until/unless proven otherwise); Dallas v. 2015-2016; Winnipeg if they had a goalie
Never an obvious pick: Nashville, whom I’m not picking, nor did I last year (fuck). UPDATE: I realized if I didn’t pick Nashville, I would need to pick Winnipeg or a Pacific Division team, so I’m picking Nashville. Narrowly ahead of the Oilers?
Who the fuck knows: Colorado: Patrick Roy could win the Jack Adams again, or the Vezina, or could be arrested for aggravated assault.
Also: Will the Blackhawks replace “Chelsea Dagger” already? May we suggest:

Atlantic Division
Tampa Bay*

Obvious picks: Tampa Bay, Montreal
Formerly obvious picks: Boston, who have Krejci, Rask, Pastrnak, Chara, Bergeron, and…Zac Rinaldo? Jonas Gustavsson?
Non-obvious picks: Ottawa, only because a full season of the Hamburglar may be a Craig Anderson injury away from becoming the disaster that the Anderson/Lehner/Hammond trio wasn’t last season
Non-obvious non-pick: Detroit, about whom I wrote last year: 23 years in the playoffs have to end at some point, and I think the odds are even it’s this year. And it was only a 100-point year.
The rest: Buffalo may be closer to a playoff spot than any of the other non-playoff teams here, but not this season (see also Oilers).

New York Rangers*
New York Islanders*
New Jersey

Obvious picks: The top four
Non-obvious pick: Probably Columbus, because Brandon Saad is still only one roster spot, and Jack Johnson is still one roster spot.

Western Conference Finals
St. Louis over Anaheim

Eastern Conference Finals
Washington over Tampa Bay

Stanley Cup Finals
Washington over St. Louis

Art Ross Trophy
Sidney Crosby

Rocket Richard Trophy
Vladimir Tarasenko

Hart Trophy
Vladimir Tarasenko

Vezina Trophy
Tuukka Rask

Norris Trophy
Mark Giordano

Calder Trophy
Connor McDavid

Adams Trophy
Barry Trotz

McDavid point total: 76
Eichel point total: 55

The 2015 Phillies: a brief recap

Posted in 2015 Phillies on October 5, 2015 by dejesus54

An e-mail exchange with my cousin:

From: S
Date: Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 8:14 PM

I guess things are a bit tough when you find yourself rooting for your team to just avoid losing 100 games.

From: H
Date: Sun, Oct 4, 2015 8:15 pm

….but they did.

From: S
Date: Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 9:10 PM


Yogi Berra

Posted in non-de Jesus related on September 27, 2015 by dejesus54

Yogi Berra

Writer friend Rob from Iowa remembers:

Funny how the mind works. I was around twelve, late 1950’s, on the third base side middle deck Yankee Stadium, kind of bored I guess watching a ho hum game, lets say Yanks behind 4-1 in the 8th. There was a guy sitting behind me who, sensing my discontent, leaned over, poked me and said something like, “Eyes front, Yogi’s due for one.”

And sure enough after a pitch or two Berra squared into one, a towering fly down the right field line. We had awesome line of flight. The crowd roared and rose to its feet. It landed upper deck foul by the slimmest of margins. Huge groan in the Bronx.

I never forgot that moment.

My response:

I was in Cooperstown once, the Friday of Induction Weekend in 2006. I went not because it was Induction Weekend (I may not have known) but because my Dodger-obsessed friend from LA was in town and she had never been either. We made a day trip out of it, which, Cooperstown isn’t really a day trip from Philadelphia, but I was taking Adderall at the time, so it was a quicker drive than it probably should have been.

Anyway, we saw Yogi Berra sitting and signing autographs at a small foldout stand in front of a store on Main Street (which is actually called Main Street, because it’s America).

Embarrassing fact #1: I thought it was Phil Rizzuto at first. I only figured out it was Yogi Berra (only after walking away, I think–we didn’t get any autographs because everything started at $20 or so, which was more than the museum, if I remember correctly) because I realized Phil Rizzuto was dead.

Embarrassing fact #2: Phil Rizzuto wasn’t dead (in summer of 2006– he died the following year).

But I’m pretty sure it was Yogi Berra.

Your story’s better.

I wrote Dodger-obsessed friend Carol separately about our Berra sighting. Her response:

We did? I don’t remember.

RIP, Yogi Berra.

Photo courtesy of https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/66/203198974_f6845dd936_z.jpg.

Cubs 5, Phillies 1

Posted in 2015 Phillies on September 12, 2015 by dejesus54

Cubs 000

Cubs 008

Cubs 017

Cubs 159

Box score

More photos

Opposing team jerseys in the stands: SANDBERG 23, GARCIAPARRA 5, CASTRO 13, RIZZO 44, SANTO 10, BRYANT 17, SORIANO 12, LEE 25, RAMIREZ 16, FUKUDOME 1, SOTO 18, BANKS 14, SOLER 68, DeROSA 7, HERRERA 19 (him), PINIELLA 41, GRACE 17, WOOD 34, SZCZUR 41 (a relative?–he’s from Cape May and went to Villanova), MADDON 70 (I originally thought this was a Maddux jersey, and I saw it twice plus a shirsey), FONTENOT 17, ZAMBRANO 38, RUSSELL 22

Fake opposing team jerseys in the stands: ENGLE 20, CUFFTOWER, COINER (not as I initially thought a Ron Coomer jersey–he was a Cub in 2001), HEATER 19

Other opposing team jerseys in the stands: ARRIETA 34 (an Orioles shirsey so it counts here), PEREZ 13 (Kansas City Royals red and black All-Star jersey), KOUFAX 32 (Dodgers shirsey), TROUT 27 (Angels jersey)

Other opposing team shirsey, wrong sport: KREJCI 46 (Boston Bruins)

Also, two women in Cubs RIZZO jerseys (see photo) cut down an aisle mid-inning during the top of the 5th (when the Cubs scored two runs) without showing the usher their tickets.

Usher (loudly): “I guess they don’t wait in Chicago!”

Me: “Either that or they’ve been waiting over 100 years in Chicago.”

Usher: “Ain’t that the truth!! You got that right.”


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