The Gray Pages

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Latest predictions


NLE: ATL, FLA, PHI, WAS, PHI (I have no idea)

Wild Cards: Oakland, Florida
World Series: St. Louis over Anaheim

AL MVP: David Ortiz
NL MVP: Albert Pujols

AL Cy Young: Jon Garland
NL Cy Young: Roger Clemens

Dangerous territory

I actually have an interview or two now, so the odds are pretty good that my name has been googled and someone followed the link from dl004d's page and is reading this sentence and thinking, "Is this a run on?" Or perhaps, that person is thinking, "Should run on be hyphenated?"

Really, it's more likely that said person is skimming this and searching for politically outrageous statements that show that I'm not qualified for the job. If that person is smart, s/he's scanning the dates on my posts to make sure that I'm not addicted to blogging, which (I believe) would disqualify me from working for anyone. I suppose it's a plus, from my way of thinking, that I basically never post on this thing.

Recently, though, Jason (I'd link, but I'm writing on an irritating computer that makes it difficult to do so) has called me out as a baseball fan. Said that I don't really like the sport but enjoy being proven right or wrong about certain things ... well, let me use his words:

"You will perhaps note that I deliberately avoided calling jatchwa a "fan." While he is an intelligent, informed observer of baseball, skilled at interpreting even the most sophisticated statistical and economic analyses of the sport, he does not seem to find much joy in the game these days. His own blog, ostensibly a treatment on the Washington Nationals' inaugural season (that is, when he deigns to update it), reads like a series of embittered criticisms, even – and especially – in the face of the team's remarkable (albeit short-lived) success. I worry that perhaps his knowledge and the broadening polarization of conventional thought have only provided him access to new sources of frustration."

And I think I agree. Baseball has become something of a philosophy for me: a serious of beliefs tied together that certain things create a winning team, and certain things create a losing team. The Nationals have offended this belief system mostly by maintaining a winning record while being outscored by their opponents. I do want them to win, but not as much as I want the Red Sox to win. But I think I hold my beliefs strongly enough that I'd rather be proven right than see the team win as presently constructed. It offends my knowledge of the game -- which I've mostly gotten from books and common sense -- that I seem to know more about baseball than the General Manager does. Stuff like park effects -- specifically that it's easier to score runs in Colorado's thin air than in RFK's relatively enormous dimensions. So it's not even a little surprising to me when Preston Wilson strikes out or Vinnie Castilla pops out. Again.

On the other hand, I really love the sport itself.

SKB, Graham, XTine, and I went to an Angels-Mariners game at Safeco Field (kudos to the company for not being "SafeCo") (which, surely, they would have been named if they were a newer company) (if my prospective interviewer is still reading, s/he is now learning of my penchant to digress) (and use parentheticals to do so) (and s/he got to wonder if I'm making a joke here after so many in succession) (and yet, at this point, it is getting pretty funny) (Am I allowed to call my own jokes funny? Would you hire a man who wrote this paragraph?) and it was just perfect. Safeco is the best ballpark that I've ever seen. Here are the ballparks that I've seen:

- Fenway Park
- McCoy Stadium (Pawtucket, RI)
- Frontier Field (Rochester, NY)
- Wherever the Potomac Cannons play
- Camden Yards
- Veterans Stadium (Is there an apostrophe in there?)
- RFK Stadium
- Tiger Stadium
- QualComm Stadium (or whatever San Diego was calling Jack Murphy in its last year)
- and now Safeco.

I can't imagine anywhere I'd rather be than at a game, keeping score, and watching the story of a game unfold, pitch by pitch. I got great pleasure, of course, from the company of my old friend, her future husband, and my wife. But there was a great moment in the 8th inning when the Mariners, who are a BAD team, gave up a leadoff walk to the Angels, who are a GOOD team. And everything I know about baseball unfolded: the leadoff walk killed the Mariners and the Angels blew the game open. And, for me, that's fun.