Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trading Places

Sorry for no posts lately; I am busy enjoying my whirlwind tour of "Last times that I ever do anything in Grand Forks before I move." Don't let me mislead you; the whirlwind tour consists mostly of getting hammered in various locations and eating Happy Joe's Pizza Buffet.

The flurry of trades the last couple days is enough for me to stick my head out of my shell, though. First up, KG. It makes the Celtics immediate frontrunners for the finals coming out of the East, and one of the teams that I will most enjoy, which I know will upset Jon-Jon. And while McHale and Taylor will take a ton (repeat: a ton) of shit for this trade, it had to be done. Say what you will about his supporting cast over the years, but it has been made blatantly clear that KG needs plenty of help to do anything. The only year he ever won a playoff series was the year they brought in Cassell and Sprewell. This is not a coincidence, KG supporters.

As for the Sox getting Eric Gagne, consider me on the fence. Yes, our bullpen is damn near unhittable now, but giving up Gabbard sucks. He was showing a ton of promise while filling in for Schilling, who, by the way, could conceivably be gone after this year, and how much does Wakefield have left? To those who have known me for a long time, the fact that I am even considering this opinion is odd. I have always been a supporter of the "fuck it, trade the prospects, let's win now" kind of baseball fan, but somehow, over the years, I have morphed into the complete opposite. However, I do realize this is just my snap judgement; call me up during Game 6 of the ALCS when we can go Gagne-Okajima-Papelbon in the 7th-8th-9th. On a side note, we shouldn't even make the Cardinals give us a player back for Pineiro. Let's just thank them for being part of that special ride in 2004 and call it good. If you told me back in spring training that Pineiro was designated for assignment and Okajima's ERA was under 1.00......

I love the Twins trading Luis Castillo to the Mets. Love it. The reactions of Twins players and fans has got me cracking up. That's all I'll say for now because the more I think about it, the more I think that should be its own post.

As for Teixiera, great trade for the Braves. As much as I hate typing those words. I'm surprised Dunph waited until 8:59 yesterday to give me an earful about that one. I had bet on 4:32.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

ESPNews And The Links

It's not often that you can come away from a 3 A.M. viewing of ESPNews with enough moments to make me stop and say, "Wow. That was a really fuckin' sweet ESPNews." But anyways, what I enjoyed:

Julio Lugo getting a curtain call after his grand slam from the Fenway Faithful. He has been absolutely scorching lately, and Boston fans proved that you can be booed and torn apart in the press, but it is only out of love.

Josh Beckett just screaming at A.J. Pierszynski after Coco gunned him out at second base. The F word is included in this tirade at least once, along with a dismissive point of the finger. Gee, I wonder what A.J. did earlier to provoke this. I mean, it's not often you see another major leaguer who hates A.J. Pierszynski.

When they were interviewing Steve Nash about the NBA ref (Tim Donaghy) who has been gambling on games that he was reffing, he immediately broke into a huge smile and asked, "Was he doing Game 5 of our series with the Spurs?" Awesome. I'm sure Danny agrees with that one as well.

I also thought I would explain who is who on the links section, a la French from a few weeks back. He had plenty of questions of who my boys were, how long I knew said boys, and now Dustin Little in Seattle is inquiring.

Batting leadoff is Mike Dunphy, whose Daily Attitude Problem has quickly turned into a Bi-annual Attitude Problem, although you will hear plenty of his wisdom in the comments section. I have been friends with him since 2nd grade, although our friendship was probably stunted after that school year, when the powers that be at Ben Franklin Elementary decided we couldn't be in the same class anymore due to "Disruptive arguing" and "Excessive conversations regarding non-class topics such as sports." This information was brought to me courtesy of my 6th grade teacher years later. The really funny thing is that it is now a full 16 years later, and our friendship could best be described by the above two phrases.

Next is Dan Sondreal, my soon-to-be-roommate and the one who got me started blogging. I have been friends with Danny since 9th grade. He was the final piece of the South Middle School--Schroeder Middle School connection. Despite the reputation of Schroeder being a richer school, the majority of us at South were bigger assholes. When we arrived at high school, we were wary (to put it mildly) of becoming friends with that whole group of guys (Danny, Haley, Lane, Opp, Schneweis to a lesser extent, etc.) We thought Lane was an idiot (actually, we still do. Just kidding Lane.) We thought Haley was a bigger idiot, and we straight-up hated Danny. This is mostly due to the fact that during their blowout championship game win in 8th grade, he looked over at our bench (the starters, including myself, T. Nels, and Bergman had been pulled) closed his eyes and made a free throw. So it took a while before I accepted hanging out with Danny, but now he is one of my closest friends (Awwwwww.)

Next up is Lane Leedahl, who I mostly covered in the previous paragraph, which, to be honest, really spun out of control. I wasn't intending on giving a summary of 9th grade social factions, but whatever. Lane has been living in Lawrence, Kansas for almost a couple years now. Helping to convincing his wife Skye to go to grad school there was one of the Godfather-esque moves I made in anticipation of me moving there someday.

In the cleanup spot is James McAllister (no relation to the family in Home Alone.) He went to UND and was a fellow noonballer. He broke our hearts when he got married and moved to Texas last summer, and we are still trying to recover.

Batting fifth is the aforementioned Ben Schneweis. Although he attended Schroeder with the others, I played little league baseball with him, so I knew that he wasn't a complete douche. He is responsible for almost every piece of music I listen to that is isn't A) fairly well-known, mainstream stuff, B) rap music, preferably from the mid-90's, or C) the Spice Girls.

Next up is Dustin Little, about whom I can offer no more information that any of you don't know. All I know about him is on his blog. But I'm learning...

In the seven hole we have Chad Benoit, aka French. Resides in Boston; known of him since about December; and we are currently giving all you out there in BlogWorld a chance to watch a real friendship blossom. I promise that is the first and last time you will see the word 'blossom' in this space.

Last, and probably least, is Jon Godfread. Acquaintances in high school through Schneweis; a friendship was born out of talking shit during flippy cup parties (I was Shareef-Abdur Rahim: great player on teams that don't win anything; he was John Salley: mediocre player just along for the ride and collecting championship rings.) Jon-Jon was only in attendance when he wasn't off doing things like "playing in March Madness" or "getting dunked on by Luke Schenscher." When he moved back to town he became a fixture at the Manor, and eventually a roommate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Shipping Up To Boston To Find My Wooden Leg

Another Boston trip in the books; this one undoubtedly better than the previous two. It was highlighted by meeting French and Lauren (who along with the girls and T. Nels did a beautiful job of getting over their initial fears of meeting random people from the blogworld. I myself was not nervous, as I feel like I've known French forever. If you can't trust people you've read about via the internet for 8 months, then who can you trust?) On the way down I was getting an EARFUL from Alex, Kristen and T. Nels about meeting my self-proclaimed "Internet Friend," and it was all probably deserved. Here were my favorite comments regarding that:

1. T. Nels, talking on phone to Nikki Chu as we are waiting to deboard our plane: "Yeah, we'll call you when we're ready to go out. We're, ahh, meeting some other people out tonight too. Yeah, I don't want to say right now cause it's pretty quiet and I don't want to embarass Jim."

Me, a few seats away, loudly: "I don't care, say it. We're meeting my FRIEND FROM THE INTERNET!"

Lady in front of us: "Hahahahahaha!!"

2. Kristen: "Your friend knows what hotel we're staying at now, too?"

Alex: "Jim, I don't want this trip to turn into an episode of 20-20."

3. T. Nels, as we leave Lauren's place on Sunday night: "Should we have thanked them for being normal?"

So, anyways, French and Lauren were fantastic tour guides, even better hosts, and should absolutely come to Lawrence this year.

The game was sweet. Both Alex and Kristen walked away sufficiently impressed; T. Nels and I are beginning to feel like Fenway veterans. The curse of the Jumbino was reversed for a night and I witnessed my 5th win of the year. Dice-K (or Dicegay, as Dunph so eloquently put it) was far from impressive, but the offense was clicking, and we had three home run balls out our way in right field. Speaking of home run balls, T. Nels had an Ortiz BP home run bounce off his hands after the toolbox behind him shoved his glove in front of his face, preventing him from seeing the ball. While I berated a 30-year old for bringing a glove to a game, Kristen turned around and kicked the dude square in the junk, leading to the inevitable melee that ended with 7 people being arrested, while we snuck away and enjoyed the rest of the game. Obviously the last part didn't happen, but I fantasized about that scenario for a solid 20 minutes afterwards.

Other moments worth mentioning: Bar-hopping turned into a gong show after the game. Nikki and Emily looked nice, but Alex, Kristen, T. Nels and I were not properly dressed for a couple of bars we tried to go to. At Club 33 (I think that's what it was called), all T. Nels had to do was step out of the cab when the bouncer shouted, "You're not getting in here!" Later, Emily, Nikki and I tried to crash a fancy wedding. I don't know if it was A) my backwards hat, B) my Dice-K t-shirt that featured Japanese writing and a big Japanese flag, or C) the fact that I had drank about 20 beers and my face could best be compared to the kid in the spelling bee a few years ago right before he fainted, but I was quickly and unceremoniously thrown out. Nikki and Emily lasted a while longer, long enough to even sneak us out some food, but also suffered the same fate as me when it was discovered that since there was no such person as "Uncle Jim," they probably weren't "Uncle Jim's kids."

This is a scenario that occurs in some fashion, without fail, on every trip to a big city that I take: Me and T. Nels go into a liquor store. (Relax, that's not the whole scenario. Although that also happens on every trip I take.) I am wearing my teal, baseball-sleeved shirt that features a picture of Run DMC flipping off the camera. My money shirt. The black guy at the counter sees my shirt and gives me props on it. At the same time he checks T. Nels's i.d. "North Dakota, huh?" he asks thoughtfully. "Yep." Then he gives me the once-over again, nodding approvingly. You can see literally see the thought forming in his head. North Dakota white boys....they're all right. Happens at least once every time. You're welcome, North Dakota, for the free street cred. Holla at your boy.
I suppose that's as good a note to end on as any.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


An otherwise uneventful stretch of days was highlighted by a couple of good breaks; just the kind of bounces that seem to go my way lately.

First, a friend of mine left her Nintendo 64 at Culligan Manor last summer, then subsequently moved to South Carolina. I told her repeatedly about it, asked her if she wanted me to drop it off at her parents' house, yada yada yada. Long story short, it was still there when we moved out last week, so I said screw it, I'm trading it in. Figuring I would get an absolute maximum of 20 bucks for it, my jaw hit the floor when the lady told me I now had $54 in credit. Approximately 11 minutes later, I was balls deep in old school Sega Genesis games, frantically (yes, frantically) unpacking my Genesis at my parents' house. Thanks for leaving the 64.

Also, the rotation was set for after the All-Star break, and Dice-K will be pitching the game this Saturday when we will be in attendance. That in particular is the kind of break that never, EVER, goes my way. So I won't be taking it for granted. Let's hope this good run continues through our weekend in Boston.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Hypothetical Question For The Readers

The scenario involving Julian Wright and the Bulls has been on my mind a little bit lately, and I am curious to see where everyone stands on it. I have been a Knicks fan my whole life. I spent the first part of my life hating the Bulls, when they had Jordan and won the title every year. I have been a minor Bulls fan since they drafted Kirk Hinrich; meanwhile, the Knicks have become the biggest joke in the NBA.

If Julian Wright had gone to the Bulls, and they then employed a lineup with my two favorite basketball players of all time, would it have been OK to jump ship from the Knicks to the Bulls?
For the record, I still don't think I could've done it. Just wouldn't have felt right. However, after watching my first hypothetical Kirk-to-Julian alley-oop, all bets would probably have been off. What is the consensus in Blogville?