Archive for May, 2014

Dodgers 6, Phillies 0

Posted in 2014 Phillies with tags , , , on May 25, 2014 by wechslerh66

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Samardzija

Posted in non-de Jesus related with tags , , , , on May 25, 2014 by wechslerh66

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and it was very sunny…and the
birds were singing and it got warmer
and warmer until the sun was so
bright and I felt brave at last…and I
did not want to say goodbye; I could not
believe that my feet were still on the
ground

Indian summer or the summer of drugs
out in the street it’s the summer of love
on Waveland Avenue the summer of bums
during 26 years of night

& darkness falls on the nominal heroes
Castro, Rizzo, & a scoreboard of zeroes
Milwaukee’s in first, we have nothing but beer here
& 69 years of night

& you’re a martyr
time fades away
you’re a martyr
the blues fade to gray
you’re a martyr
Samardzija
you’re a martyr
Samardzija

the dog days of May, never been such a mean town
scouts in the outfield, might be moving to Beantown
night train to Texas, be on the next westbound
from 106 years of night

you’re a martyr
Samardzija
a cheaper Garza
Samardzija
you’re a martyr
Samardzija

and I
did not want to say goodbye; I could not
believe that my feet were still on the
ground

† from William T. Vollmann, “The Ghost of Magnetism”

Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports. 

NHL 2014 Playoff Picks: Round Three

Posted in Canucks-related, Flyers-related on May 17, 2014 by wechslerh66

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago/Los Angeles: The two best regular season possession teams meet again in the conference finals, with the Kings the only team remaining in the playoffs with a Fenwick close better than 50%. The top two scorers in the playoffs thus far are both Kings (Kopitar and Gaborik) as well. Small sample sizes (see also: Corey Crawford’s.952 4v5 SV% in the playoffs) aside, although adding Gaborik makes the Kings more of an offensive threat than they were in last year’s playoff loss to Chicago (11 goals scored in 5 games), the Blackhawks still have the better defense and are deeper up front. Canuck rooting interest: Willie Mitchell, who missed the Ducks series with a lower body injury. Also: farewell, Teemu. Blackhawks in six.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

New York Rangers/Montreal: Both of my Flyer fan coworkers are rooting for the Rangers. It’s mostly because of Lundqvist, respect (they beat the Flyers), and there’s really no one to hate on the Rangers (other than Carcillo), plus the perception of Montreal as dirtier. The Rangers were the much better regular season possession team; the two teams are more evenly matched (both slightly below 50% Fenwick close) thus far in the playoffs. Both goalies have been outstanding, with 5v5 SV% of .944 (Lundqvist) and .936 (Price). Montreal has the best skater (Subban) and arguably the best forward (Pacioretty, though you could argue Richards, Vanek, or St. Louis, I guess), but I think the Rangers are deeper, better defensively up front, and somewhat better behind the bench. Canuck rooting interests: Alain Vigneault and Dale Weise, of course, but also Raphael Diaz and Mike Weaver (or as I referred to him for no reason when he was with Vancouver in 2007-2008, Mike Weasel). Nonetheless, this is awesome. Rangers in six.

On Donald Sterling

Posted in non-de Jesus related with tags , , , , on May 15, 2014 by wechslerh66

Crassanova
A few thoughts on Donald Sterling:

1. Whatever happened to the slumlord? Slumlords still exist—post-2008, more of them probably have MBAs—but the slumlord in popular culture is so 1980s, which is our loss. Wouldn’t we “get” Sterling better as The Slumlord than The Racist or The Rogue NBA Owner or Crassanova or whatever other odd assortment of caricatures from Marge Schott to Mark Cuban to Bill Clinton we might use to attempt to understand him?

2. I know someone who knows someone who worked for a local version of Sterling who, among other things, once complimented a black employee who had just returned from her summer vacation on her tan and, when she responded, “Oh, you can tell?,” laughed, “Of course not, you’re black, I’m just kidding!” Like The Real Donald with his fondness for “Asian culture,” Local Donald enjoyed the company of a Korean-American female employee whose main qualifications were breast implants and stilettos and also once tried to convince a Korean-American male employee to transfer from Marketing to Accounting despite the fact the employee had no accounting background (he was an English major) because, well, you know, Asians. Local Donald is no longer employed, mostly as a result of mergers and acquisitions and not, well, you know, racism.

3. Removing Sterling as owner of the Clippers isn’t a free speech issue and isn’t wrong. Conservatives who denounce political correctness are both opposing a “movement” that never seriously existed and confusing free speech with consequence-free speech. The Constitution protects the former but not the latter; words unfortunately do have contexts and consequences (even if the immediate context in this case is NBA Inc. protecting the integrity of its product and not the rights of black folk to be welcome at Staples Center if they’re wealthy enough to afford a ticket). Although one can make a valid argument that economic elites celebrate cultural diversity to mask economic inequality (why else do HR departments exist?), the alternative shouldn’t be economic elites tolerating both cultural and economic inequality. This isn’t Sterling’s worst transgression, but it’s his dumbest, and if removing him now involves some retroactive admission that he could or should have been removed before, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

4. The bad thing, though, is the media’s obsession with Sterling (and before him, Cliven Bundy, and before him, some other rube, redneck, or 80 year old billionaire) as The Racist Who Causes Racism, obscuring the structural, historical, and economic nature of racism. As Susannah Pollvogt has noted, “[r]acial discrimination today is enacted by facially neutral policies and everyone is too careful, most of the time, to speak racism out loud,” but facially neutral isn’t the same as neutral; taking two recent examples, “race-neutral” admissions policies never were or are neutral, nor are voter ID laws. Whether the Clippers are run by Donald Sterling or Richard Parsons—and whether the US is run by Donald Sterling or Barack Obama—might mean the comments-in-chief are less inflammatory and stupid, but the difference between the two wouldn’t end racism in either case. Sterling isn’t a cause; he’s an effect.

5. Speaking of Parsons, the fact that the new boss is likely another flavor of creep, and the next new boss will likely also be a creep, does just mean that “you don’t get into the one per cent without choosing sides,” and you don’t get to choose among the one percent without picking your poison. (See also: Louisiana governor’s election, 1991.)

6. I’m a Clippers fan for many reasons, as a former UCLA Bruin during one of the only pre-CP3 seasons they didn’t suck (thanks, Larry Brown), but Donald Sterling is one of them, sort of. Not only aren’t they the Lakers, when that was always a bad thing (i.e. almost every other year of their existence), not only is their franchise winning percentage (counting the Buffalo and San Diego years) still below .400, and yeah, the godawful drafts, but the Clippers have been owned by Sterling for 33 years. He’s now the longest-tenured owner in the NBA (!) and Paul, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, DeAndre Jordan, and the rest of a deep and talented roster has to deal with not only the Thunder on the court but the embarrassment off the court. Sterling doesn’t deserve a title, but what team deserves one more than LA’s finest? Probably the Pacers, but whatever. In the words of Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose, it’s too late to turn back now.

Angels 4, Phillies 3

Posted in 2014 Phillies on May 14, 2014 by wechslerh66

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NHL 2014 Playoff Picks: Round Two

Posted in Flyers-related with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by wechslerh66

Curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Los Angeles/Anaheim: The Battle of California becomes a lot more bloodless. The Kings were the NHL’s best regular season possession team (56.7% Fenwick close); the Sharks were third and the Ducks were fifteenth. The Ducks were also the worst possession team to win the last round (43.6%, ahead of only Columbus and Colorado and somehow beating Dallas, who was third). With Jonathan Quick back on track (94/96 saves the past three games), this won’t be a long series. Kings in five.

Chicago/Minnesota: A Bryzygalov/Curry goaltending tandem. It’s doubtful anyone other than the Kings could beat Chicago in the West at this point, but really. Blackhawks in four.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

New York Rangers/Pittsburgh: The Rangers were my preseason pick from the East the past two seasons, plus Vigneault, Lundqvist, and the sixth best possession team in the regular season vs. the 16th, and Benoit Pouliot. I’m tempted to pick the Penguins anyway because PittsburghNew York, and the Rangers seem old and tired (although the Penguins are older by almost a year and a half on average), and Crosby/Malkin. But I won’t. Rangers in six.

Boston/Montreal: True, the Habs have won 24 of 33 playoff series dating back to 1880 or so (tabernac!) and they won Game 1 last night (running the now 37-year old Chara out against them for 32:25 as a bonus), but I think the Bruins have enough to outlast them, beginning but not ending with Rask (who is now .932, 2.05 with 4 shutouts in almost 2700 career playoff minutes). Also: Boston was the fourth best possession team in the regular season; the Habs were 22nd. Bruins in seven. But beware the Zürcher!