The Weekly Tendown March 20-26 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dear Internet:

Today was a pain in the ass.

Theoretically, I'm on vacation, in my break between courses.  But the online courses for next quarter required a few hours of work today, and my second fantasy baseball draft of the weekend was 2 1/2 hours long.  I've spent virtually the entire day here, in front of this keyboard.

But there were pancakes.  Tasty, tasty pancakes.

Here's Tendown 69.

1. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.

I've been filling out bracket sheets in a ritualistic fashion since the tournament expanded to 64 in 1985; this was the first year I was unable to find a USA Today vending machine the Monday morning after Selection Sunday to buy a paper in which to fill out said brackets (a dead newspaper vending machine, I learned from this week's 30 Rock, can be anything you want it to be, say a toilet or a woman) and, although I'm not usually one to confuse correlation with causation, that directly led to  this being the first year that I will not have a single team in the final four.

Worse - I had Butler getting bounced in round one - and I had VCU losing in the play in game.  I was as wrong as I could be.  Do with that what you will as you consider the rest of this week's Tendown.

2. Have You Ever Seen an Animal Make a Mistake?
I had a good movie watching week as I wrapped up the balance of my final exams.  You can watch all of them.

-Sounds Like Teen Spirit, a documentary about a European teen singing contest.
-Mary and Max, a tear-spilling claymation film about pen pals.  Or pedophilia.  Your mileage may vary.
-All The Real Girls, I'm uncertain how it is I've never seen All the Real Girls until 2 days ago, but it was 8 years of error.  Move it to the top of your queue.

Additionally, a terrific week of sitcom TV all in one night on NBC, including an inner circle all time great episode of 30 Rock; Community landing one of it best episodes with a meta-cultural take on Pulp Fiction/My Dinner With Andre/Cougar Town; and Michael Scott getting engaged on The Office, which will make you tear up almost as much as Mary and Max.

I even got in a 4 star wrestling match this week - Davey v. Perkins from January in ROH.  I'm going to my brother's Friday to catch up on much of the January puroresu.

3. What Else Am I Doing This Week?
This will be a big week here at TBOR as I preview both the baseball season and Wrestlemania 27.  Coming this week:

Tuesday: The conclusion of my 5 month countdown of the 200 best players in baseball history.
Wednesday: My ranking of the top 100 players in baseball for the 2011 season.
Thursday: (probably, although I haven't written it yet) my predictions for the 2011 MLB season including the best bets for season long win totals.
Friday: (although I haven't written it yet either) my Kirk Hiner based preview of Wrestlemania 27; you can get to last year's preview here.
Saturday: at my other blog, Counterfactual Wrestlemania 26, for those of you are inclined.

Throw in three outings, an online seminar, and my having 8 classes that start a week from Monday to prepare, and my week off has filled up awfully quickly.

4. And I'll Be Playing The Greatest Video Game Ever Invented

So, I don't really have that many readers (except for you - hey, and thanks), but if you look to the links on the right of the screen and find my most popular posts you'll find at the very top I have a baseball post that has been read a few dozen times a day, every day, for the past year or so.

It's a list of the worst baseball players of all time, and due to a high placement on the various search engines ( go ahead, google "worst baseball players ever" and see to whose site you are directed; I'll wait) I get a lot of traffic for that post.  Enough that I'm considering writing a 50 Worst Baseball Players of All time book, something light, like a hundred pages, a stocking stuffer, priced at maybe $4.99 - or would be thinking of writing it if I hadn't just finished grading exams two days ago and now wasn't staring at having 8 courses to teach for the next 3 months starting a week from tomorrow.

Anyway - that one post put me on the radar of the makers of this fine piece of entertainment linked above, MLB 2K11 - and they offered me a review copy - which, as of Friday afternoon, is now sitting next to my Xbox console.

You: You have an XBox?  You don't strike me as the video game type, Jividen.

Yeah, not so much - I haven't held a joystick since knocking out Soda Popinski in 1989 - but my Lady Type Friend and I bought a Kinect for Christmas, for exercise and couple bonding.  I don't know if I'm accomplishing either, but just this afternoon we shut out Ellen and Courtney (not real people) the ping pong champions, 11-0.  Meaning - I have an XBox - so when the good people at MLB 2K11 asked if I'd like a free copy of their game to review for The Blog of Revelation, I said, "yes.  yes I would, yes."

'Cause free stuff, you know?  Better than that - free stuff because of my writing about sports - and that makes me smile like pancakes.

It's intimidating for a total novice; my brother with whom I watch the wrestling is a hard core video gamer and looks down on the Kinect; that makes sense to me, as all it requires to play are hands and feet, would intuitively understand the four pages of instructions for how to use the XBox controller to play MLB 2K11 (as it's not a Kinect game, meaning you've got to actually be able to play video games to do it, which likely places me out even as it sits in the box).  But it will take some trial and error time for me to have anything meaningful to say about it.

But I'll put in the time.  At least enough to know I'm too dumb to play the game.  This is my promise to corporate America, you send me free stuff, I will talk about your product.  It doesn't mean I'll like your product (although, for enough money, I'll absolutely like your product - are you the Koch Brothers and you'd like me to have a blogconversion to your views about the immorality of the minimum wage and progressive income tax?  Yup.  We can have that conversation.  Absofreakinglutely) but I'll talk about it.  

5. Come On, That's a Strawman - The Right Wing Doesn't Really Think Jesus Was Opposed to the Minimum Wage!

Here's Glenn Beck's "historian" David Barton.

6. The Kind of Chart You Won't Be Seeing Here After I go To Work for the Koch Brothers
As a percentage of GDP, note our current corporate tax revenue

 7. And While You're Reading Charts

Here are 15 more about inequality in America.

Like for example - this:

8. Rosie the Riveter is Anti-Business

At least in Maine

9. While You Still Can
Before the NY Times goes behind the paywall, read this piece about Mike Tyson

10. The World Champion San Francisco Giants
Almost like I planned it this way.  The new baseball season starts Thursday - and just as in the old baseball season it will take a team 11 postseason wins to become World Champion.

Last season, the Giants won 11 postseason games.  Here is the last one.  Game 5 of the World Series

You know how we had that 3 games to 2 lead in '02? Have I ever mentioned that? Funny story - we were 8 outs away with a 5 run lead up a game - and we lost. Was it 8 outs? I think it was 8 outs. Hard to recall now for some reason.

Anyway, there was a year, maybe 2002, where the Giants were really, really close to winning the World Series and did not.  Was it 2002?  Maybe I'm off a year.  Memory plays tricks on you as you get older.

But there was a year when the Giants had a really, really big lead in a World Series and lost.  I'm not sure what year it was.

But it wasn't 2010.

You try to do something for your whole life and then it turns out the easiest part is actually doing it.

We had a couple of early innings baserunners in Game 5; Posey singled in the first; Torres in the third. They took a walk in the third and got a Young single in the fourth. Singles by each club in the 6th. Lincecum and Lee both holding serve into the 7th inning.

Leadoff single by Ross. Followed by an Uribe single.

Two outs later - a 3 run Edgar Renteria home run.  No, seriously.  I'm guessing you could have played MLB2K10 forever and not finished a season with a World Series winning home run by Edgar Renteria.  Even if you were really good with the controller.

The Giants were baseball's best team in 2010 when we scored 3 runs, baseball's second best team when scoring first and also had a sizeable advantage when hitting a home run.

You don't ever say "We're going to win the World Series." - at least not out loud - at least not if you're a San Francisco Giants fan with some vague memory of some game in some year where it looked like we'd win. I can't recall now if it was Russ Ortiz or Jack Sanford leaving with a 5 run lead in the 7th inning.  Not sure if it was Dave Henderson or Scott Speizio who hit the home run to wipe the lead away.

Doesn't matter as much anymore, for whatever reason.

The Renteria homer was the end of the game. They weren't going to score 4 runs off Lincecum. They weren't going to beat us. I sat on my couch that I bought in July.

Actually, that we bought in July - as 8 years after 2002 and 21 years after 1989, the main difference in this World Series as opposed to the previous - is now I'm not alone. I've been with a woman for 3 years - she's my best thing. She makes me pancakes sometimes. It's like winning the World Series every day.

I spent the rest of the game crying and shaking my head. Way more than during Mary and Max. 'Cause how could such a thing be possible? How could it actually happen that the San Francisco Giants were going to win the World Series in 2010?

It happened like this:

Nelson Cruz homered in their 7th to make it 3-1. A Kinsler walk brought the tying run to the plate - but Lincecum struck out Murphy/Molina to end the inning.

Posey singled in our 8th - but otherwise we got out of the way, as if our own baserunners were just postponing the celebration.

In the 8th - Lincecum struck out Moreland.
Andrus grounded back to Lincecum.
Young grounded to Uribe.

You know how sometimes you'll root against Giants bats - it's raining hard, and we're up, and you think "make an out - we have to get through 5 innings."

This was like all of those times put together.

We went down in order and Brian Wilson (a WARP+ WAR of 9.3, our best closer year in a decade) came on with his endorsement friendly giant beard.

Josh Hamilton struck out looking.
Vlad Guerrero grounded the first pitch to short.
Nelson Cruz struck out swinging on a full count.

No Bobby Richardson.

No Earthquake.

No 5 run lead with 8 outs to go. Or something like that.

In 2010, the San Francisco Giants, for the first time ever, became World Series Champions.

It takes 11 postseason wins to do that.  Which isn't all that many now that you think about it.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


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