Monday, July 10, 2006

October 31st-that is my date of birth. I got to the party and I did the Smurf.

U-G-L-Y

Everything started fine enough with the Astros taking the first game against the Cards putting them just 3 back with 3 before the break. You know what happened next. The boys continued to make things hard on themselves and dropped three straight, the last two in spectacular fashion. I was at Sunday’s epic loss and it felt nothing like a game in mid-July. It had a postseason atmosphere and afterwards it was the worst I’ve seen the clubhouse this year. It was just dead in there. I don’t think the Astros are all that good, but there’s no way they’re this bad. And even though they’ve been this bad they find themselves 3.5 out of a wild card spot. Such is life in the National League.

What was your favorite part of Sunday’s loss? When Jason Lane fell down while trying to tag, when Eric Munson was picked off of first or when Roy Oswalt was called out for not touching first? My two favorite moments (not involving Erin Andrews) from one memorable game were when Andy Pettitte doubled and in gazelle-like fashion rounded the bases. I also loved the tension and drama when Brad Lidge faced Albert Pujols with two on. When Lidge got that out I truly believed that 3 months from now we’d be looking back at that as a turning point for when things started clicking for Lidge and this team. Oh well. I still thought Lidge looked good and I still think this team is going to the postseason. Of course, I also thought Preston Wilson would have at least 17 homers at this point…

--I was at the game on Sunday, but have heard from a few people that the ESPN Deportes play-by-play that came on briefly was a lot more entertaining than the normal announcing. It does get boring hearing the Astros always lose in English.

--Congratulations to the Astros for becoming the first team to lose a game they led by at least two runs with two out and none on in the 9th. That was on Saturday, but you knew that.

--The American League is clearly the superior league and it won’t help to have Phil Garner having to make the decisions for the NL. No offense to Phil, who is a great guy, but I just don’t think he’s the best in-game manager around. Edgar Renteria batting 5th ahead of David Wright?

--How incredible is it that the Astros have one of the worst offenses around and yet somehow, some way Lance Berkman has more RBIs than any other National Leaguer? Out of the 16 NL teams Houston ranks 13th in runs, dead last in average (.255), 9th in OBP, and 15th in slugging.

--Detroit has a ridiculous 3.46 team ERA, which leads the Majors. Surprising to me that the Tigers are 5th in HRs with more than even the Red Sox. In Detroit’s last 29 games the starters went 18-2 with a 2.82 ERA. The Tigers aren’t going away.

--The Blue Jays lead everyone with a .293 average. The White Sox are at .288 and have scored 520 runs, 32 more than any other team.

--The Royals, Cubs and Nationals are the only teams still looking for their first complete game. The only team still looking for its first shutout? The Red Sox.

--Kansas City is 5-4 this month. Its last month of .500 or better ball? July of 2003.

--Some players like to spend their All-Star Break with family or friends. As for Tampa’s Jonny Gomes, “I’m going to drink some beer and get some tattoos. I’m going to stay on the beach. And hopefully I’m going to pick up my new dog, an albino boxer.” The name of the dog? Jager. Gotta love that.

Futbol

What a wild and crazy World Cup Final that I’m sure you watched every minute of. I didn’t have a real rooting interest, but was kind of pulling for the old guy, Zinedine Zidane, and his Frenchy friends. The first goal on that penalty kick barely minutes in was just b.s. so I was happy to see Italy even up things. I wasn’t happy that the scoring stopped there. I hate penalty kicks deciding things like a freakin’ World Cup Final that comes along once every four years. I know the guys are tired, but the Golden Goal has to be the way this all-important Cup is to be decided. Like Marcelo Balboa kept saying give the team’s another sub or even two when things get into overtimes. As for Zidane’s impressive head butt I still can’t believe that’s the way his legend is going to end. Having written that, what a freakin’ head butt!! Technique + Power + Perfect Landing Spot = 1st non-flop of an Italian. I’ve always loved the World Cup for its raucous crowds and hey, it fills the otherwise boring afternoons on television. I love the video crack that is FIFA World Cup and I think I might actually start paying attention to the leagues overseas. Although that just seems like crazy talk.

Quick Hitters and Random Thoughts

--That last episode of Entourage was some of Vince’s best acting yet. Not all good for Vinny Chase as the new Pirates movie broke Aqua-Man’s opening weekend record. Vince/Adrian Grenier also turned the big 3-0 on Monday.
Ray Allen and our boy in Harvard Man.

--I was reading about Robert Downey Jr. making a deal for his memoirs. It referred to him as the Natural Born Killers star. Huh? Come on, he was strong in Natural Born Killers: Batonga! Batonga! Batonga! In Batongaville!
But Chaplin (Oscar nomination) is the movie I think of when I think of Robert Downey Jr., well that and Johnny Be Good. Or maybe Black and White when he hits on Mike Tyson. By the way, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Downey and Val Kilmer is pretty strong.
Another, more lovely reason to watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Apparently the Chaplin star was also in The Shaggy Dog, which I’m sure he’s already forgotten.

--If you have a nice picture of Elvis in your head and in particular his “Are You Lonesome Tonight” then you might not want to click. But if you feel like laughing/crying then click away.

--I hope you’re sitting down because Paris Hilton is about to shock you with these comments about her Simple Life: "Simple Life is a reality show and people might assume it's real. But it's fake. All reality shows are fake basically. When you have a camera on you, you are not going to act yourself. So before I started the show I thought I'd make a character like the movies.”
In a somewhat related story, Sunday’s Outlook section of the Chronicle had a story on My Super Sweet 16 and how contrived it is. If we can’t believe in TV, what is there to believe in?

--If you want to know the magic of taking one red paper clip and turning it into a house then this is the spot for you.

--Because I’ve started watching The Ultimate Fighter series I decided to check out UFC 61 even though I was sure Ken Shamrock wouldn’t last two minutes with Tito Ortiz. Ken ended up lasting just over a minute before Tito started blasting elbows that forced the ref to step in. Very predictable, but not nearly as boring as the main event in which the two heavyweights, Orlovski and Sylvia, stayed on their feet the entire time for the entire five round match. Bo-ring, but I’ll be back for TUF 4 in August.

--I like The Contender and like Sergio Mora, but surely there are others more deserving of a title shot against Jermain Taylor than Sergio. It’s not official yet, I think, but apparently Jermain wants a little bit of break after some tough fights against Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright. Sergio would be a break, but a little too much of one.

--Chappelle’s Show is back with one episode down and two to go. The skits did seem like a bit of self-prophecy with the first sketch detailing how money changes everything and his bodyguard dying, but tossing out one last bit of advice: "Money, the root of all evil. The I.R.S. pulled the trigger, but your greed did this to me, Dave. You didn't have to do two more seasons, no matter how good this show is. They're only going to say it's not as good as last year was."
Dave knows it, you know it, I know it, but I still want more.

--720 dunk anyone?

--Two very good, very different books I can cross off my summer reading list. Jimmy Carter’s Endangered Values and Bill Buford’s Heat. You can probably guess what Carter’s book is about. Heat is the story of a writer turned Batali kitchen slave who travels around Europe to learn the ways of Mario’s original teacher, the ways of pasta and much, much more. A very, very good read especially if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant and think the Food Network is the best background channel you can have on.

--Alex from Laguna Beach and Nick Carter?!

--The ESPYs are on Wednesday and I’ll have a full run down on Friday. Well, maybe not. The stupidest part of the stupidest night on ESPN is that ESPN Radio actually runs a pre-show and post-show show. Yeah, that’s really necessary.

Questions, comments or if you saw Eddie George sporting a fedora and a fake mustache on an episode of Made then e-mail…

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