The Gray Pages

Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Moments In The Second Person

Freeze! D.C. lawmen feud over Gonzo in today's Daily News:

FBI chief Robert Mueller nuked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in a congressional hearing last week, essentially calling the nation's top lawman a liar.

Since then, a distinctly cold air has settled between FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Ave. and the main Justice building directly across the street.

"You could open an ice rink between the buildings," one Mueller aide said.


I'm almost positive that I could do nothing of the sort. I don't even know where to begin explaining how difficult this would be for me. Hey, at least no one used the word "literally."

WETA on the Gnats

Marnie and dl004d might be interested in this. Other people who root for the Gnats might be interested, too. People other than me, for example.

Bring it on

... because sometimes, we get involved in elections.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Cal Ripken never should have broken Lou Gehrig's record. The right thing to do would have been to take a day off the game before breaking it.

It's not like Gehrig had a sprained ankle or something. He had ALS.

The classy thing to do would have been to let Gehrig keep the record. He was a great player. Deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame. But he's not entitled to that particular record.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dmitri (Sigh) Young. Part One.

ITEM: The Washington Nationals are on the verge of announcing a two-year contract extension for first baseman Dmitri Young believed to be worth $10 million over 2 years.

Where to begin?

First, I like Dmitri. It's hard to root against a guy who has come back from alcohol and substance abuse problems, though I'm not ready to look past his violence against women that often gets ignored in discussing his "troubled past." But it's fun to watch a fat guy, particularly one whose career seemed over, succeed. And he's had a fine year.

But he hasn't really had a great year. He made the All-Star team thanks to a silly rule (every team must have one player on the All Star team), and he has a high batting average. Neither of these impress me much. He's only good at one thing: hitting. And he's not great at it. He's good at it. Better than bad. Not great. Good.


There are 22 first basemen with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title (3.1 plate appearances per game). Dmitri Young has the 9th-highest OPS among them. His 59.6 runs created ranks him 12th. While he has been the bright spot to another dismal Bowden-scripted Nationals season, he's an average first baseman. Average. About half the first basemen in baseball are better than him, and about half are worse. Average.

He's also a terrible fielder. I don't fully trust most fielding stats, but he's got the worst fielding percentage among first basemen. He's also got the worst zone rating. He's got the 3rd-fewest putouts among first basemen. He's also terrible when I've watched him play. He's a terrible first baseman.

The Only Stat That Matters

Winning Percentage, Washington Nationals
2005: .500
2006: .438
2007: .426

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I can't figure out which is more ridiculous: shooting the messenger or the use of a scapegoat.

Either way, I think it's absolutely wonderful that people once did actually shoot messengers for bringing bad news and someone had to come up with the idea NOT to shoot the messenger.

And I wonder if anyone had any guilt over killing a perfectly innocent creature, in this case a goat, over one's sins. Or if they ever used a different animal and some village elder said, "It won't work. It has to be a goat, or the gods will still be angry."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I wonder what it's like to work with me

Co-worker: There's food in the kitchen.
Me: Any snacks?
C: I think there's grape leaves.
M: No, like cookies. Something sweet.
C: They got middle eastern food for lunch.
M: Then go buy me a cookie.
C: Don't you have an intern for that?
M: My intern buys my cigarettes for me, not food.

Let the Bible Belt Come and Save My Soul

David Vitter: Promoting Our Shared Louisiana Values. Just ask him. Not like John Kerry, who is out of touch with Louisiana Values. Vitter campaigned on Louisiana Values, you see.

He's focused on the needs of women and families.

Several of them, in fact. Just not necessarily his own.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

All-Star Break Predictions

At the start of the season, I made predictions for the Major and Minor Leagues. Second thoughts? Maybe.

- Will Ortiz, Manny, Lugo and Drew start hitting and make this team unbelievable?
- Or will Lowell, Youkilis, Pedroia, and Varitek fall back to lower level and make this team, uh, believable?
- Will NYY collapse like a house of cards, or make a run at the Wild Card? I'm guessing (a).

- Was I right about the White Sox, or what?

- Was I wrong about the Rangers, or what?

Wild Card:
- Or will it be Oakland?
- Can Seattle be a dark horse? I'm saying 'no.'

- What happened to Florida?
- And why do I consistently overrate the Mets?

NLC: CHC, MIL, and some other teams that no one cares about.
- Why the Cubs could overtake the Brewers: because I think the Brewers' offense has been playing over its head.
- Why the Brewers could hold on anyway: way better pitching, and a saner manager.

- Why the Padres will win: Grady Little is managing the other guys

Wild Card:

World Series:
BOS or DET defeats MIL
(What a cop-out)

Why my co-workers should go on vacation more often

So help me G-d, I love salt-water taffy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

At CNN, facts are up for a vote is currently running a poll, "Does your weather seem hotter than normal this summer?"

If only there were some sort of objective way that one could measure temperatures. Oh, well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

First of an ongoing series

I think a bad song for a wedding would be "I Need A Lover" by John Cougar Mellencamp.

"I need a lover that won't drive me crazy."


Monday, July 02, 2007

Dispatches from the Carolina League

On Saturday, the Joshes traveled to Frederick, Md., for a nice afternoon in the city (second-largest in Maryland, according to the local paper) and a home game for the Frederick Keys.

Trivia: What's third largest city in Maryland? Answer in the comments.

Keys is a strange (read: lousy) name for a team. I believe their name has something to do with Francis Scott Key, which really isn't a great reason for naming anything other than one of his descendants. The mascot is a dog named "Keyote," which is a pun (or something) on coyote. The kids near me called him "Coyote," (KI-odie, not KEY-odie) so it's not working. If there's some town pride at work, there are many items in the Star-Spangled Banner that work as team names. My high school's nickname was the Rockets. I'm just saying.

The Keys/Rockets were playing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. I don't know a thing about the Carolina League. I think it's considered High A, meaning that all the players are younger than my cousin Zac, who is now entering his junior year in college. The bat boys are 6. Toddlers run the concession stands. I tell ya, it's a very young place.

But like I said, I don't know anything about this league or its players. I asked the guy in front of me what franchise the Pelicans belong to. He didn't know, but he said that the guy in front of him was a scout, so I asked that guy.

I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone of a great scene in Airplane! (The exclamation mark is in the movie title. I'm not that excited to tell you about the scene.)
Elaine  : I'll see if I can find some Dramamine. (Goes to cockpit) Captain, one of the woman passengers is very sick.

Oever : Airsick?

Elaine : I think so, but I've never seen it so acute.

Oever : Find out if there's a doctor on board as quietly as you can ... Joey ... have you ever been in a, a Turkish prison?

Father : Ohhhhhhhhhh, I shouldn't have had that second cup of coffee. (He vomits)

Mother2 : (In echo voice) Jim never vomits at home.

Elaine : I'm sorry I had to wake you, I'm just looking for a doctor, there's nothing to worry about.

Woman3 : Stewardess, I think the man sitting next to me is a Doctor.

Elaine : Sir, excuse me sir, I am sorry I have to wake you, sir, are you adoctor?

At this moment, we see Leslie Neilson sitting in a lab coat with a stethoscope around his neck and one of those reflector-thingies over his forehead.

I think I could have been able to tell that the man sitting in front of me was a scout because of (a) his clipboard, (b) his stack of printed statistics (way more than I'd take to a game), (c) his stopwatch, and (d) his radar gun. This man worked for the Braves, who are the big-league club for the Pelicans. I asked him who I should be watching in that night's game, for example, any high draft picks. He told me that the shortstop, Elvis [!] Andrus is very good, and a lot of people like the third baseman, Eric Campbell, but he's not impressed. I was pretty amazed at his candor -- not like he was telling state secrets or anything, but still. Pretty cool.

I then asked if there was anyone on the Keys (affiliate of the Orioles) who I should be watching out for. Silence. Pause. "Well, last night's pitcher (
Brandon Erbe) is okay." Silence. "Pretty thin system?" I asked. "Yep," he said.