Purgatory Online

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A play in one act
By Anonymous

Dramatis Personae
RALLY - An Aetherial Being

Here we find a stalwart group
Assembled for one purpose
Let us reveal their honest fates
And from them lessons take

A band of men, as men alone
Seek naturally salvation
Praise and honor, and perchance
An occasional standing ovation.


In this late hour, our enemies
Would seem to have things well in hand
Two tallies up, upon us they close
With fire and nasty breaking stuff

'Twould seem that only the supernatural
Could deliverance secure us
But soft! An alabaster invitation
Recalls me to my purpose!
[he swings, as a crack of thunder is heard. As the thunderclap subsides, a ghostly moaning is heard off-stage]

But what is this? Does memory mock
Or have I heard this sound before?
Upon the tip of my mind it sits
There will be an answer! There must!

Though all the spectral choir howl
I will not shirk to bring them here
I name them not, only summon by
Immolation of this pearly sphere!

[GARRETES swings; another crack of thunder is heard, and the ghostly moan grows louder]

This ghostly being that strives for form
I pray is beneficial
For a baneful touch I certainly know
I could ne'er hope to outrun

But brothers! O! I think I know
The source of yon commotion
Let me advance its incarnation
Despite my locomotion!

[MOLINEUS swings; yet a third crack of thunder is heard. The moaning grows still louder as RALLY, dressed in flowing multicolored robes, enters and moves to center stage]

Blessings to them who summon me!
I, once a thought, a whisper, a dream
Upon the winds; thy skill and thy heart
Have given me form. Command my might!

[he beats RALLY to death with a bat]

Wha'hoppen? [*dies*]


Aye, Finelaeus, perchance linksmanship is in thy future
A mere score or so such bodies and I swear
It will be; test me not, or you will find the proof is in the putting.

Alas, poor Rally! Gone too soon
Now slain upon the well-trimm'd field
Learn from us, ye mighty and wise
Lest unto Lethe thy seasons yield


Friday, August 12, 2005

You know, watching games via MLB's Gameday (or CBS's Sportsline, which I'm slowly coming to prefer) can be pretty nerve-wracking. You're squinting at a screen, waiting interminable seconds for the red circle, or the green circle or the loved/dreaded blue circle to appear in the oh-so-crisp, oh-so-irrelevant perfectly rectangular strike zone they've drawn next to the batter-doppelganger. It's much more nerve-wracking than actually watching a game; there's no rhythm to it, just instantaneous relief or pain. It's not baseball, in any meaningful sense of the word. And so I covet with nuclear intensity the Slingbox, a device that supposedly allows you to access your home cable programming and/or programs stored on your DVR from any broadband-connected PC on the planet.

But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I didn't see yesterday afternoon's game-ending play live; just a notation that Frankie Rodriguez had made an error allowing the runner to score from third. Since the ball hadn't been put into play, I assumed it was a wild pitch. Not particularly caring to see the highlights, I blew off SportsCenter last night, and only this morning read the accounts of how Rodriguez, disgusted by not getting a borderline strike call, flubbed the throw back to him by Jose Molina. I don't believe I've ever seen a game end that way at the professional level before; I may never have seen a run score that way at the professional level before. So I hit the Angels web site to watch for myself.

And then?

And then, I laughed. My. Ass. Off.

Because, come on, that's funny. Some kid gets all pissy about a strike call and pulls a little drama queen number on the mound, and forgets the most fundamental thing of all in the middle of a tight, important series. It's as if Kendall had fallen for the hidden-ball trick. Funny. And so I laughed.

Do I want to see it again? No, of course not. But neither do I have any intention of letting myself turn into the kind of person who lets a game on August 11 send him into despair. Baseball isn't life, folks, and if you're getting your philosphy from your clothes you need serious help. It's a great, great game, and sometimes you need to be able to appreciate when goofy shit goes down in a game, even when it goes against you.

As for whose fault these past couple of games have been...geez, hindsight is pretty good around the Halosphere lately. Shields comes in and blows a game in the seventh, and I read all about how that's supposed to be Donnelly's inning. Donnelly comes in the very next day and blows a game in the seventh, and I read all about how Donnelly has no business in a tight game. I keep expecting to see a "free Steve Solis" banner somewhere. The fact of the matter is the guys who get the blame for this are the guys who were throwing the ball (and failing to catch it). There's no Weapon X out there that Scioscia is failing to deploy; he's playing the cards he's been dealt. If they blow it, it's on them. Donnelly and Shields and Rodriguez have been around long enough to know that, and long enough to be given the benefit of the doubt over a couple of crappy performances.

Keep the faith, gang.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Okay, not so much with the Garret Anderson, then. Apparently, GA was held out with patellar tendonitis, which was unfortunate because of his previously-noted affinity for Barry Zito's pitching.

Three costly mistakes in the field, all capably explained by the ESPN crew: DaVanon's throw to third, allowing an insurance run to go to second (eventually to score), Finley and Guerrero's impromptu soccer game that turned a double into a triple, and Cabrera's mush-handing of a fairly routine grounder. Put them all in the same inning plus a wild pitch, and the A's get three runs and the ballgame.

Today the Angels are up against noted Thalidomide casualty Joe Blanton, who looks like Corky's understudy from "Life Goes On." Seriously, between him and Kielty, the A's have got to be the most physically repellant club since the Nixon/Blauser Braves of the early '90's.

Tomorrow, the club gets Washburn back.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Last night's A's-whippin' was nice, but let's not kid ourselves - there's a lot more work to be done. I seem to recall taking the first game of the last series, only to lose the next two.

Tonight, the Angels will need Santana to keep his cool, not get freaked out by Bobby Kielty's ugly mug, and keep the ball down, down, down. Meanwhile, the offense will have to build around Garret Anderson and his lifetime .352/.393/.556 line against Zito. I'd guess this might be a DH start for Molina with Kotchman coming off the bench against a righty.

Suggested lineup:
Figgins, 2b
Cabrera, ss
Anderson, lf
Guerrero, rf
B. Molina, dh
DaVanon, cf
Erstad, 1b
J. Molina, c
Izturis, 3b

Realistically, though, Scioscia will probably go Erstad-Guerrero-Anderson in 3-4-5, which isn't that bad.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Hail Messiah!
I'm not the Messiah!
I say You are, Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

-- Monty Python's Life of Brian

Chronicles of the Lads has it dead-on when he notes that Casey Kotchman's two walks on Sunday were nearly as gratifying as his two home runs. If it had been possible to reach through the television and throttle Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc, both of whom were acting as if Kotchman's recent power surge could be the cure to the Angels' hitting woes, the Angels would currently be looking for new broadcasters. One of the reasons Kotchman's had so little success at the big-league level is that he's been putting pressure on himself to make an immediate impact in that area. The last thing he needs now is to be hailed as the much-prophesied DH that will lead the Angels to the promised land; if everyone expects him to clobber the ball every single time there's a danger he'll fall right back into the same old trap.

Tonight, of course, the Angels start a three-game series with the co-division-leading green team up in Oakland. Tonight's game may actually be the most intriguing pitching matchup of the series. John Lackey looks like he's finally pitching up to his potential this year, having a breakout season made all the more remarkable by the fact that it's not his damn walk year. Rich Harden is a nice power pitcher in the Bartolo Colon "stronger as he goes along" mold who has more or less dominated the Angels in his two starts against them this year. Kotchman will almost certainly get a start - probably at DH, though possibly at first if Erstad needs another day off.