Baseball Thinking

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BooYah Sverige

Ramblings on the blog are usually dedicated to the great sport of baseball. But since it's early in spring training and nothing unusual is going on (Manny showing up late isn't unusual), I want to take a couple minutes to share my Olympic experience.
No, I have never participated (when will they introduce Olympic remote-controlling?), but I am a big fan of the Olympics, the only time when the world stops to take it all in. I wish we could capture the Olympic spirit on a daily basis. And I wish the North American hockey teams captured it as well. These Olympics have proven to the world that the continent which invented the sport is no longer among the best. The highly touted teams from both genders have mostly failed in their attempt at Olympic glory. The Canadien women are exempt, as they had an easy time beating Sweden for the gold, albeit without facing the US women. The US men could only win one game out of six, while the Canadian team was shut out in 3 games, including the clincher against Russia. Nary a North American citizen will compete for any medals in hockey. How could this happen?
Pride. Passion. Determination. These three common components were displayed by each team that beat up team NA. Russia lost their first game, but have been unbeatable since. Slovakia has been amazing. Even the Swiss team won more games than team USA. I'll give you a kudo if you can name 3 players from the Swiss team, no googling allowed. While the European teams seem to play great team defense, they also play an offense the way an offense is supposed to be played. As team NA continued their tradition of dump and chase hockey, team Europe carried the puck over the blue line, setting up many scoring chances. While team NA counted of their physicality, team Europe evaded that strategy by beating them to the puck. While team Europe remained composed during critical times of the game, team NA fell apart by commiting penalities, breaking down defensively, and losing their cool. These games were exciting. If you weren't a hockey fan before the Olympics, you should be now. The bad news is that each player soon returns to the watered down NHL, with dump and chase hockey back in the forefront. My wife will not miss my chants for the Swedish teams. BooYah Svayyah (Sverige) has been echoing in my house each time the Swedes made a goal or won a game. I like to tell people that I am Swedish, but only third generation. That provides me with a backup team when the hyped up US teams/individuals fail. It's been working for twenty years and I have no intention of changing.
So what does this mean for hockey on the world stage? Only time will tell. But if team NA wants to make an impact in Vancouver in 2010, then a new approach must be taken. Bring on the WBC.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Red Sox get a Kix out of their Cocoa Crisps

The Red Sox are fruity for their Fruit Loops. Er, Count Chocula. Or was that Cocoa Crisp? Either way, they love the sugary sweet guy from Cleveland they acquired in January. Don’t be confused with Crispix from Cincy, Cream of Wheat from Toledo or the cousin to the first, Crispix w/Wheat & Rasins. The Red Sox were 100% Bran sure they’d get him by dangling the Product 19’s of their farm system, Triples Andy Marte, and Kelly Shoppach, and possibly, Manny DelCarmen. Guillermo Mota convinced Cleveland that his arm was nothing more than Shredded Wheat (spoon size), but took him anyway. What a Kix in the crotch that was to the Sox when Cleveland first rejected him. Captain Crunch, also known as general manager Mark Shapiro, wanted to Frosted Flake the deal with more inticing Corn Pops. I was 100% Natural Bran against sending DelCarman. I thought the deal was Just Right Crunchy Nuggets with the proposed Sweeties already on the table. Holy Great Grains & Pecan! Cleveland without Cocoa Crisp is like Cornflakes without the milk. The accepted deal was Just Right Fruit & Nutty! Manny DelCarmen shouldn't be the second coming of Special K, but he’s got the Smacks to deliver. And while Cocoa Crisp is a Basic 4 tool player, giving up DelCarman would come back to haunt them. Imagine Cleveland facing the Sox in August and DelCarmen throwing so hard the ball looks like Fruity Pebbles. Here's hoping that Crisp can help win it all by hitting Apple Jacks in Clusters. Cheerios to the Indians post season dreams. That’s Life. The Sox go on to win the series and once again adorn a Wheaties Box. So while I watch the Sox this summer with my Honey Comb, when she’s not turning Trix, we will be going Fruit Loopy over Golden Crisp, Oatmeal Raisin Crisp, Rice Krispy, or whatever his name is. That's if the season doesn't quickly turn to Maypo.
The Total Whole Grain Flake,
Tommy Donovan from Hooksett

Virtual Reality?

Acquiring tickets for the Boston Red Sox has developed into a chore as of late, especially for the average Joe like me. It wasn't that long ago that I could easily attain these now prized ducats. But lately, that is simply not the case.
Have you tried gettin' them recently? It's a task that usually requires several pc's, phones and friends. Not to long ago I could purchase my tickets via telephone, relatively easy I might add. Pick up the phone, speak with an operator, and I was set for the season. Opening day tickets are the toughest in town, but with work, they were attainable. Along with the dawn of the information highway, online ticket sales became the way of life. And with the Internet were new perks, such as ticket packages for an entire season, ranging from 4 games to the entire schedule. Being the savvy Internet veteran that I am, purchasing what I needed was a piece of cake. I always got the packages I desired, as well as the seating locations I wished for. As it got a little more difficult, I threw a couple more pc's into the mix.
"Welcome to the Java Virtual Waiting Room". That is the lovely greeting online fans have come to memorize while waiting in a virtual line. (For some reason, that guy who was in front of me kept ignoring me!) What the hell is a virtual waiting room and how does it work? I know that there is way too much cutting of lines in this room. I was online right at 10Am during the last rush of sales and finally got through at 4PM!! Five computers constantly refreshing every 30 seconds and that was the best I could do!! My friend went out for the day, logged on at 7:30PM and got the tickets she wanted!! Yes, I eventually got through and received 4 games, all standing room only. My friend got actual seats! And it took her 4 minutes! I didn't grant her cut-sies.  Did you? The online purchasing for MLB ticket sales needs a facelift.  While I have learned to be patient with the wait, I usually end up at the back of the line.  I missed Opening Day last year for the first time in many years.  Mucho years.  I know, it's not fair.  Since the Red Sox have been taking my name and info for many years, you'd figure they would offer me the opportunity to purchase a few games before the general public gets their stab at it.  Send out a letter, an email, something .. something.  In the meantime, I'm starting to work out again in preparation for next years' sales.  No one is going to cut the line on me again.