Emptying the Notebook

For once there is no real theme to my latest blog entry. Just some fun—and perhaps poignant—things brought to you by the letter ‘I’ and the Internet.

Wood Wonders Why . . .

. . . the National Hockey League doesn’t finally get rid of the shootout to decide regular season games? I’m not proposing awkward kissing-sister ties but instead something even more thrilling than the current overtime format. Keep the four-on-four for five minutes (often it is the most exciting part of the game!) But instead of then going directly to a shootout—where after 65 minutes of team-play individualism trumps all—how about another three minutes of three-on-three?

. . . it is taking the NHL so long to give their approval for their players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Its value to the sport—both here and abroad—cannot be overstated.

. . . the National Football League doesn’t make permanent the Green Bay Packers visit to Detroit every Thanksgiving? Since 2001 they have played five times on Turkey Day, while no other NFC North squad (the Bears and Vikings) have once had the honor. It’s a huge ratings boon for whatever network hosts the game and has all the ingredients of great TV: historic division rivals, Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson, and a whole throng of Cheeseheads invading Ford Field festooned in their only-from-Wisconsin garb. While they’re at it, I think making the Washington Redskins Dallas’ permanent Thanksgiving foe also a sage idea. The night game then could be parceled out amongst the rest of the 28 franchises, creating three marquee matchups every year.

Extra Bases

  • Whenever a player of some note (great talent, average production, missing letter in his name) retires, I’m always intrigued to see what sort of nest egg he has provided for himself and his family. Here is our first case: Conor Jackson. The man with the lone ‘N’ did well for himself, earning $10,489,500 in a seven year career in the bigs. That’s an average of $17,748.73 per hit; for every home run he knocked out of the park he earned a cool $201,721.15.
  • Actually the Brewers started off the 1987 season 13-0.
  • Not at all chivalrous.
  • And finally, as my wife can (begrudgingly?) confirm, my favorite baseball adage is this: ‘Each and every game you are likely to see something you have never seen before.’ To wit:
  1. The New York Yankees turn a 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play.
  2. Tampa Bay Devil Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings turns an unassisted double play.
  3. Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura both stole and got caught stealing second base . . . in the same inning!

Superfluous Quintessentials

Just so this blog is not too sports-centric, here is my first ever quote (but hopefully not the last) in a national magazine—whether or not it made the print edition I haven’t yet discerned:

Red!

I love the Washington Post but it seems to me something is missing from this news digest item. Anyone else wondering exactly how the driver got out of the car?

Picture of the Week

Reality or Illusion

Is this an actual photo or a screen capture of a video game with remarkable verisimilitude? Discuss.

Tweet(s) of the Week

In homage to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King . . . my first ever Tweet of the Week:

And one more for good measure with a similar theme:

On Literature

Reading Now: The Perfect Storm; The Great Gatsby (again); American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House; Barack Obama: The StoryDouble Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies; Several Short Sentences About Writing; Timeline of World History

Recently Finished: Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions; Francona: The Red Sox Years; Warm Bodies; and the Gillian Flynn trilogy: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl

Up Next: Into Thin Air; Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History; No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden; and The Art of Fielding

Three takeaways from Francona: The Red Sox Years:

  1. How much the Boston skipper, nicknamed Tito after his father (also a major leaguer), loves baseball. And how perfect of a game it is.
  2. How clearly the Red Sox lost their way. Even as a devout fan it is clear that they got too big, too out-of-control, and too reckless. And, in the disastrous season of 2012, they got exactly what was coming to them. Baseball has a way of doing that.
  3. How can you not love Dustin Pedroia? The self-professed star and emcee of ‘The Laser Show’—his now apt description of his penchants for hitting frozen ropes to all fields—is the ultimate gamer. And hell hath no fury than the Sox second baseman scorned: when a visiting clubhouse attendant in Colorado refused him entrance to the Boston locker room (thinking his diminutive frame precluded him from playing in The Show), he responded with these bon mots: ‘Ask Jeff Francis who the fuck I am!’ That would be the same Rockies pitcher who gave up this moon shot to him leading off Game 1 of the 2007 World Series:

Fitting, too, that I finished reading this excellent tome on Patriots’ Day, just as the Sox celebrated a walk-off win . . . with Dustin Pedroia scoring the game winning run.

Boston Strong

Unfortunately few will ever forget that what happened in Beantown just an hour after that Red Sox victory. For the most definitive account of the chase that led to the killing and capture of the suspects, please check out Kevin Cullen‘s excellent column in the Globe. Terrific, succinct writing about a complex and emotionally-charged situation.

Boston Strong! Always and forever!

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One Response to Emptying the Notebook

  1. I have the Andrew Jackson book too! Just haven’t gotten to it yet. Currently reading about his arch-nemesis Henry Clay. I don’t have a good recommendation on JFK assassination books, because I haven’t found one yet that I think is great, but for an excellent bio I suggest Robert Dallek’s An Unfinished Life.

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