Thursday, March 30, 2006
John Donovan of SI.COM is convinced that Jeff Weaver can become, "An ace, top-of-the-rotation type. In the running for the Cy Young award."
This is the same John Donovan who last year wrote,
"My surprise early NL Cy Young pick -- you can laugh at me later, if you'd like -- is
The funny thing is, is that he was called on this prediction last year. He defended himself by writing:
"OK, OK. Truth is, despite his last dud of an outing, I'm still on the Weaver bandwagon (where an upgrade to a relatively empty first class can be had for a bargain). Look up his quality starts from last year. Look at his stuff. Look at the innings he had last year and his record despite the abysmal run support. I said he was a longshot for the Cy, but I do think he has the stuff for it. And the mental stuff you talk about ... he's way past that. Check him out."
I doubt that Donovan can be persuaded that it is foolish to project a pitcher like Jeff Weaver as an "ace." But Weaver's monthly splits historically show inconsistency. Looking at comparable pitchers through age 28, Weaver's last season, clearly shows that Weaver is not in an elite class.
Serious study of this type of pitcher shows that rarely will break away from the mean. Sure, Weaver has games and months of brilliance, but he has as many games and months where he is terrible.
Weaver's career ERA is 4.44 after 209 career starts and 226 career games. Is it realistic to expect this kind of pitcher to put it all together at age 29, after so many seasons of mediocrity?
I am not saying that Weaver is a bad pitcher, or that he has no value. All I am arguing, is that he will never be an ace on anything but an average pitching staff, and he will never contend for the Cy Young award. He consistently exceeds 30 starts and 200+ innings pitched each season, with a league average ERA. Pitchers like Weaver do have value, but let's not confuse them with true aces.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
"Forgive me if you’ve heard this one before, but it’s difficult to see anyone other than Mark Buehrle winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2006."
What is Rozner thinking? Is he thinking? Mark Buehrle is that much of a lock to win the Cy Young? Give me a break. I can think of at least five pitchers that have a better chance to win the Cy Young than Buehrle.
Former Cy Young award winners Roy Halladay, Johan Santana are obvious favorites, not to mention Randy Johnson, Rich Harden, and last year's winner, Bartolo Colon. Buehrle is a good pitcher, but who, besides a White Sox fan would put him in front of all of these other pitchers?
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The Star Tribune reports that the St. Paul City Council Offices had to remove a "cloth bunny and pastel-colored eggs with the words Happy Easter" on it.
It amazes me that there are people who actually believe that displaying the Easter bunny is, "advancing the cause of religion." It amazes me that there are people so incredibly ignorant, sensitive, and absolutely insane. But of course this is "not about being politically correct or anything else." This is idiotic--pure and simple. Does Council President Kathy Lantry actually believe this?
This article reads like something you'd find in The Onion.
Our culture is in serious decline if this is what we've come to. We are more worried about pagan symbols "advancing the cause of religion" than we are about just about any other more pressing issue.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
|1||ULYSSES by James Joyce|
|4||LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov|
|6||THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner|
|11||UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry|
|16||AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser|
|17||THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers|
|19||INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison|
|20||NATIVE SON by Richard Wright|
|22||APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA by John O'Hara|
|24||WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson|
|25||A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster|
|26||THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James|
|27||THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James|
|29||THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell|
|32||THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James|
|33||SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser|
|35||AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner|
|36||ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren|
|43||A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell|
|46||THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad|
|47||NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad|
|50||TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller|
|51||THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer|
|53||PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov|
|54||LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner|
|56||THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett|
|59||ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm|
|61||DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather|
|62||FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones|
|63||THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever|
|65||A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess|
|70||THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell|
|71||A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes|
|72||A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul|
|73||THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West|
|76||THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark|
|77||FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce|
|78||KIM by Rudyard Kipling|
|79||A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster|
|82||ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner|
|84||THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen|
|85||LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad|
|86||RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow|
|87||THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett|
|88||THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London|
|89||LOVING by Henry Green|
|90||MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie|
|91||TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell|
|92||IRONWEED by William Kennedy|
|93||THE MAGUS by John Fowles|
|94||WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys|
|95||UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch|
|96||SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron|
|97||THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles|
|98||THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE by James M. Cain|
|99||THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy|
|100||THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington|
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Sure, Japan may have won the first World Baseball Classic, but find me a bigger winner in the tournament than Peter Moylan, a 27-year-old pharmaceutical salesman from Australia who hasn't pitched professionally in seven years -- and promptly signed with the Braves for $30,000 after the WBC.
Moylan's story is made-for-Disney stuff. The guy signs with the Twins in 1996 but after two years in rookie ball is run out of baseball in 1999 with an 88-mph fastball and immaturity issues. He goes back home to Australia, gets a job, gets married, undergoes two back surgeries and plays for a local club team. Six months ago, while tossing a baseball in the outfield, he tries throwing sidearm and -- voila! -- suddenly he is throwing 96 mph, a development for which he has no possible explanation.
Fast forward to the WBC, and he whiffs Magglio Ordonez, Bobby Abreu and Ramon Hernandez of Venezuela and suddenly the scouts are scrambling to sign the guy. Fast forward to October and ... well, picture a guy with glasses, a goatee, sideburns and tattoos -- his Australian manager called him "Wild Thing" after the Charlie Sheen character in Major League -- on the mound in a tight playoff game for the Braves. At this cinematic rate, why not?
"He's got real good stuff,'' said former major leaguer Pat Kelly, a coach for Australia and a scout for the Seattle Mariners. "He's a real character, but the key is if this time he really works at it and stays focused. He's got a shot if he does.''
Tom Verducci SI.COM
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
My respect for Ken Griffey Jr. increases after reading about his unwillingness to participate in the steroid culture around him.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Haga presumes his moral convictions upon his reader by drawing parallels between abortion and the death penalty. He clearly believes that those with a pro-life agenda concerning abortion are hypocrites for enforcing the death penalty.
Yet this is the history of our nation--which is rooted in Judeo-Christian morality. We all too quickly abandon the principles upon which this nation was founded.
Rohan Preston, who wrote the review was very positive of the play--and rightly. The play was well done. I only had two problems with the play--neither of which detracts significantly from the production.
Santino Fontana, who plays Hamlet, does not evoke the sympathy of the audience in the manner he should have. His performance was very good--yet there was something lacking from it that kept me from embracing his character.
The gravediggers, or "clowns" as Shakespeare calls them, were done poorly. They were made into greater fools than Shakespeare would have intended. Yes, one of the gravediggers does get the best of Hamlet, at least in words--but Hamlet came out better than he ought have.
Shakespeare liked to use peasants in his plays to make fun of serious noble characters--and Hamlet is no exception. Yet Dowling decided to make his gravediggers more post-modern comedians than poor peasants making fun of the rich noble university student.
Peter Michael Goetz's Polonius steals the show--until his demise. Goetz played Wiley Loman in Death of a Salesman--so he is accustomed to playing a lead--and it is evident from his performance in Hamlet. I strongly encourage all interested in theater to visit the Guthrie theater's final production at Vineland Place.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Good job, sir.
Naomi and I will be in the audience this Saturday evening with friends. I have been looking forward to attending a performance of Hamlet for nearly ten years.
The original article dealt with two University professors who have lived together for twelve years, yet they were told they would have to rent separate rooms on a University sponsored trip. The two professors said, "It would be hypocritical and duplicitous and was not something we were willing to do."
According to the Star Tribune, "Disagreement over the University of St. Thomas' policy barring unmarried couples from staying together during school trips has intensified into a bigger debate about tolerance at Catholic universities."
It appears that my analysis of the situation was an accurate one. Faculty and student groups are now waging campaigns in support of a gay student group, and "More than 130 faculty members have signed a letter opposing the trips policy, and a dozen faculty members showed their displeasure with it by skipping an event they were to be honored at last week."
St. Thomas has evidently hired faculty and admitted students that clearly oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church. Now they find themselves back-tracking and it has left faculty and students outraged. It is hard to blame them, really. How can St. Thomas be taken seriously when they are trying to balance on an impossibly thin theological tight rope?
Update: The St. Paul Pioneer Press has an article about this as well.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Players have routines--ramping up their pitch counts and slowly working in all their pitches as they rebuild their arm strength in spring training. Santana threw more pitches in 3 1/3 innings pitched in his second spring start than normal. So many more pitches that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is enraged, saying, "Don't get me started. Don't even go there."
If this continues for Santana, I predict arm trouble by the end of the season. He may start hotter--since it takes him a while to hit his stride, but I suspect by the end of the season his arm could wear down--when he is customarily at his best.
Again, the WBC is not only stupid, but an unnecessary injury risk--particularly for pitchers.
Bill would allow refusal of morning-after pill
Conrad deFiebre, 651-222-1673Pharmacists would be allowed to refuse to dispense drugs such as morning-after contraception pills on moral or religious grounds, but only if patients are assured of "timely access" to the drugs from other sources under a bill approved by the House Health Committee on Wednesday.
Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate spoke out against some provisions of the bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, and backed by the Minnesota Pharmacists Association, but it was sent to the House floor on a lopsided voice vote.
"This is a compromise, balancing the liberty of pharmacists to exercise their conscience with the right and necessity of patients to get legally prescribed medication," Emmer said.
Although the head of the Pharmacists Association noted that the instances of patients having been refused prescriptions amount to "a statistically negligible problem," the bill sparked sharp debate.
Erin Matson of the National Organization for Women said it will spur more pharmacists to deny birth control and emergency contraception to women, sending them on "wild goose chases" to get the drugs.
The bill's requirement that pharmacists' employers ensure alternative access to such drugs poses moral dilemmas for pharmacies at Roman Catholic-run hospitals, said Rep. Tim Wilkin, R-Eagan, who said it could even force some to close.
The bill, HF 3032, would make refusal to fill a prescription grounds for discipline by the state Board of Pharmacy. But it also would allow exceptions for pharmacists' professional judgment that a drug would be harmful, for drugs not in stock and in cases where payment is refused. Under the bill, pharmacists could refuse prescriptions on moral grounds only after notifying their employers in writing of their objections.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Sports Illustrated has a short piece about the book and the allegations against Bonds. If the accusations are true--what next? What does Major League Baseball do with his records? Can they do anything?
Please, Mr. Bonds, retire.
The Academy, ... “is not a serious body of voters who vote rationally. If they’re influenced by a DVD sales pitch, they’re not worth my time.”
Are they worth anyone’s time? Once again, they showed themselves susceptible to something other than a legitimate search for “the best.” Once again, marketing appears to have won. The Academy is 78 years old and acting every bit of it, and last night they took another doddering step towards irrelevancy.
I hope to remember Puckett for who he was before he retired. His smile, charisma, and love for baseball were infectious. My respect for Puckett has grown the older I get, but is unfortunately tainted by the knowledge that Puckett was all too human. He was able to transcend baseball in many ways, but Puckett could never transcend the human condition.
Kirby, thank you for the memories. We will miss you.
Puckett's Hall of Fame Induction Speech
Friday, March 03, 2006
Paul is one of my favorite fathers of my friends, and I encourage you to read the article. It sounds like he has a pretty great way to live in retirement.
Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis hosted the event organizers prior to them flying to Washington D.C. for training today. Miller reports, "Thursday's service, which featured a civil rights theme, included a performance of "We Shall Overcome" by the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir."
The column concludes:
"Education, as much as protest, is the group's goal, Reitan said. "A lot of people don't know that I would not be allowed to attend Bethel," he said. "These policies are based on religion, but we don't believe that's what Christ came to do. He came to throw off old laws, to expand our understanding of what God meant. Perhaps talking to people, we can get them to see that they need not be so unbending."
Rather than comment myself, I choose to let the Apostle Paul do the talking:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Star Tribune has an article today about the vote. For the third consecutive time, the property tax increase was rejected--though this time by only one hundred votes. The first vote was in September, then November, and again yesterday.
Finally it seems that the message has been received, after the voters sent it to them three times. Pragmatically, the tax increase is long overdue. But I firmly believe that the school system does not require as much money as we are told it does. As long as there is too much waste and mismanagement in the system, I will never vote to increase my taxes to pay for public schools.
Our educators have enough money the way it is. Money is not the solution to the problem. Per pupil spending has more than tripled since 1965, yet all this money has done nothing to improve our educational system.
School districts, legislators, and teacher unions will never learn how to utilize their budgets as long as they are ever expanding.
Coincidentally, my alma mater passed their property tax increase yesterday, according to the same Star Tribune article.