Friday, October 30, 2009

Good pitching and bad umpiring in New York

  The first two World Series games show that runs will be very hard to come by. The Yankees advantage in home run power really shows up when there are 3-run homers, not solo shots. Rivera's arm will fall off if he has to keep pitching 2 innings at a time, but the way the Hughes, Robertson, and Bruney pitched Wednesday, it may be our only hope. If A-Rod can come through in the series the way he did against the Twins and the Angels, the Yankees will win easily. He is struggling with the slow pitching of the Phillies. I am buying the notion that this is a different A-Rod from years past and that he is going to come through for the Yankees.
  Major League Baseball is going to have to go to some sort of replay system. This is the worst umpiring ever. In the 7th inning with runners on first and second, Damon smacked a liner to Howard, who caught it on a short bounce. He threw to second for a force play. If he thought he had caught it, he would have jogged to first for the easy double play. The umpire called it a catch and after Rollins fumbled Howard's throw for awhile and tagged Posada, it was a double play and inning over instead of bases loaded and 1 out for Texieria and A-Rod. Luckily, the Yankees got a big break on an umpire's bad double play call in the next inning, ending the inning instead of having Ryan Howard up with the tying runs on. Every game, the umpires are screwing up games with their bad calls. I'd hate to be on a job where my every mistake is displayed in front of millions, but I wouldn't mind the paycheck.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Time!!

  It has been a long six years since the Yankees have been in the Series. The only good point of my missing last weekend's chess tournament with a cold was being able to see the ousting of the Angels. The Angels have talent but played like a minor league team, not even being able to field a bunt. The Twins also played like a minor league team, but with less talent.
  Even if the Yanlees start slow, I won't be discouraged. The last time the Yankees played the defending champs in the World Series was 1996. At that time the Atlanta Braves won the first 2 games in convincing fashion, but the Yankees scraped by to win the next four games for their first championship in 18 years.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Giving away hope

  The worst part about the Yankees loss yesterday was that now the Angels will always have the hope that they can come back and win. Before this game, the Yankee bullpen was thought to be untouchable, excepting for the manager's errors. Now only Rivera is untouchable. I sufferred the same fate at our chess club yesteraday, losing a tournament game to a kid who I outrated by 400 points. Now he will always know he can beat me. I have given him hope that he can beat me any time. It will take a lot of hard work to extinguish hope now that the flame is lit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A big win

  A great win for the Yankees. The bullpen got a rest and the bats were on fire. It is troublesome to see so many baserunning mistakes. Hope it doesn't cost a game later. The umpiring was the worst. How could Iowa resident McClelland call out the runner for tagging up too early when the replays showed he wasn't even looking at the runner. What a joke. I hope the manager figures out that when he sends Gardner to pinch-run, everybody knows he is going to steal a base. Mix it up a little, Joe.

  I was wrong about Burnett and Pettite needing to pitch on 3 days rest. The off day today means that only Sabathia would have to pitch on 3 days rest again. He was worth every penny in this game.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Loss of Innocence

  A sad loss for the Yankees yesterday. If you keep wheeling out 8 pitchers a game, you will find out who doesn't have what it takes. I saw no reason not to let Robertson pitch more, especially since he's been lights out and Aceves has been stinking the place out. Whoever wins the game tonight will win the series. Sabathia can pitch on 3 days rest, but I have my doubts about Burnett and Pettite being able to do the same.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The 7000 Club

  I made a New's Year resolution to do 7000 pushups and ride 350 miles on the stationary bike. The bike was easy and I was well on my way to the pushups, building up to 40 a day, when I hit the wall last month and started missing days. Now I can say Mission Accomplished and I have 10 weeks to figure out what to do for next year.

  It was a great weekend of baseball for Yankee fans. After a nice win on Friday, the Yankees pulled out a gutsy win in a rainstorm on Saturday. With a 2-0 lead, I hope Girardi scraps the 3 man rotation and let Burnett, Sabathia, and Petite go in games 5,6, and 7 and let Gaudin or Joba pitch game 4. I see that Hughes is still not trusted to finish the tough innings, with Rivera coming in to finish the 8th for him. I felt bad for the Angel fielders. The ball was wet, heavy, and slick and they can't be used to rainstorms or sub 40 degree temps in Southern California. In the regular season, the game would have been suspended after 10 innings, but the precious prime-time game on Monday night could not be jeapordized. Hopefully, the Angel demon can be slain this week and then on to the World Series.

  While I'm writing this, the Saints are putting a beatdown on the football Giants. Probably an OK loss that will show the Giants exactly where they are and what they need to work on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mr. October!?

  Another clutch performance by A-Rod to lead the Yankees to the sweep. The pitching has been very good (excepting Hughes who has choked and been bailed out twice) and the hitting has been clutch. It should be a great series vs. the Angels.

  It was nice to see Pavano choke it up by giving up 2 homers up once he got the lead. He took the Yankee's money and didn't perform until the contract was almost up and he needed to perform enough to hook up with another team. Some guys can't take the pressure of New York and he is one of them.

  Good bye to the Metrodome. I thought it got a bad rap. It was a cool stadium, unlike every other domed stadium of it's time with the baggie in right field, the white ceiling causing lost fly balls, a home run park, the great crowds, and an unrivaled home field advantage. They never lost a World Series game there, going 8-0 in 1991 and 1987.

  I'm getting ready for the Ames Chess Festival in 2 weeks by doing 100 tactic puzzles a day and playing guess-the-move out of The Art of Chess Annotation Vol.4 BY C.J. Purdy. Maybe there is room for 2 Mr. Octobers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Money talks!!

  Great game between the Twins and The Yankees tonight. Just when Phil Hughes choked it up by giving up 2 runs after having 2 outs and an 0-2 count in the 8th, A-Rod of all people comes up with a 2 run bomb to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth. Then after messing up a golden chance to win in the 10th, Robertson gets out of a bases loaded no out jam in the top of the 11th and Texeria wins it in the 11th with a leadoff homer. Combined with Burnett's 6 innings of 1 run ball, it just goes to show what $500,000,000 or $600,000,000 gets you these days. I almost feel sorry for the Twins. They do a great job with all the players the big money teams don't want, but I'll feel less sorry for them after this series is over.

  This is best kind of baseball. Your heart is in your throat for 4 hours and the tension is finally resolved with one swing of a bat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On the board!!

  Nice win by the Yankees. It looked like Sabathia was flirting with disaster, but only gave up 2 runs in the 3rd and then Jeter got the 2 back right away before panic could set in. With Hughes, Chamberlain, and Riveria, all the Yanks have to do is get to the 7th and they'll win 8 out of 10. After watching the disaster of 2004, it was hard to take anything for granted until the final out.

  It was a nice win and gives me something to celebrate tomorrow. Not only is it the 53rd anniversary of the only perfect game in World Series history, it is also my birthday. I missed the perfect game by 4 years, but I think I'd rather have the 4 years, thank you.

  I see that the Jets picked up Braylon Edwards from the Browns for some picks. The talent is evident, but hopefully the head will be on straight.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wrapping up...

  The St. Mary Fall Festival is all done for another year. I spent the afternoon taking money for food and game tickets. I had heard so many horror stories about this assignment last year that I had to see what all the fuss was about. Yes, it was busy but no, it was not a horror. After the first 2 hours, I was playing chess with my assistant David Montealagre. He is just a beginner. We attracted so much attention and other kids wanting to play that I'm thinking about having a simul during next year's festival.

  My missing chess clock was found in the playing hall and returned to the tournament director, Ames chess legend Roget Gotschall. I'll pick it up during the Ames Chess Festival in 3 weeks.

  Baseball season is over and I still don't know who the Yankees are playing. I'm rooting for the Twins, since the Yankees have always owned them in the playoffs and there is no need to see Justin Verlander and his 100 mile an hour fastball twice in the next week. Nice to see A-Rod play Mr. October to preserve his streak of 30HR-100RBI seasons. Let's see if he can be as clutch for the team instead of his individual stats.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

St. Mary Fall Festival 2009

  I am getting ready for the St. Mary Fall Festival tomorrow. I have been the chairperson of the planning committee the last 2 years. I got to be the chairperson because when I was late to the first meeting due to my chess club, the rest of the committee decided to appoint me. Planning the festival is a chaotic experience. This year we have had very few volunteers sign up to help and the person who was in charge of preparing the meal (for 120 people) cancelled due to a family illness this week. People tell me that while they won't sign up to help, they will help if asked. I always thought the sign up sheet is asking.

  Our church is segregated between what is called the Anglo and Hispanic populations. I am not sure why I am an Anglo, being Russian by heritage. I would call it the English and Spanish speaking populations, since for all the talk about being one parish, all the masses and committees are separate by language. We all seem to work well together for the fall festival, although we tend to just go our separate ways in terms of planning. The English speaking group will gravitate towards the church hall for the meat and potato meal with a silent and live auction, while the Spanish speaking group will be in the street with the live band and Hispanic food. The games for the kids will also be in the street.

  We all have been working very hard and prayers for good weather seem to have been answered, so maybe we will have a successful festival. Whenever I get stressed about this kind of thing, I just imagine Jesus pulling up to my house with a pickup truck. I dump everything I am worried about into the truck and Jesus just drives away with it.