Friday, October 2, 2015

BEST. NIGHT. EVER.  With MLB's regular season ending with 15 simultaneous games Sunday at 3:05pm, we recall September 28, 2011.  As Joe Posnanski wrote, "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn’t. And that’s what makes it great."

[Our thread, in the wee hours of the morning, is here, and Nate Silver did the math here: "Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way."]

added: Suppose -- purely hypothetically -- that you were trying to explain the narratives and highlights of this season to someone who barely paid attention this year because the Phillies sucked and my dad died and it's been really hard to get back into things -- such that the reader would be prepared for the playoffs.  What should he know?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

SWING MAN: Sad to see Jeremy Affeldt retire, but he's had an absolutely stunning career as a middle relief guy and has one of the best post-season ERAs of any pitcher ever.  He did have a few parting words for baseball during his retirement presser of the five things he would not miss about baseball. Most notably, for this crowd:

The City of "Brotherly Love"

"Hang on, I know what you're thinking: Jeremy, do you have any idea how dangerous it is to insult the entire city of Philadelphia?! And yes, I know. I know all too well.

So first, let me be clear. Philly is a great sports town, with passionate fans and a palpable energy. The problem, though, is that the city, more than any other I've played in, seems to condone and almost revel in its fans crossing the line. Nowhere else in this country—again, based on my experience as a 14-year major leaguer and the conversations I've had with other players—is the opposition treated in such a repeatedly vile and borderline threatening manner.

We are out here to play a game, and even though we are paid handsomely to do so, professional athletes should not be subject to vulgarity, personal attacks or epithets. Sadly, in Philadelphia, this kind of fan conduct is far too typical. The irony is, while Phillies fans succeed in making many players dread traveling there, they also (not surprisingly) impact the decision-making process of those same players in free agency.

Sure, it's great to play for a rabid fan base, but after experiencing firsthand how powerful that fervor can be when it is channeling extreme negativity, it really makes you think twice about where all that collective anger comes from, and whether you want to subject yourself and your family to that all the time."


He also has unkind things to say about Wrigley Field. Well, mostly the player's locker rooms which sound about as adequate as a 40 year old high school.

IT'S DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON!  A not necessarily complete list of "pumpkin" scent variants currently available at Bath and Body Works:

  • Pumpkin Apple
  • Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Cupcake
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake
  • Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow
  • Caramel Pumpkin Swirl
  • Pumpkin Pecan Waffles
  • Cranberry Pumpkin
  • Apple Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Coconut
  • Heirloom Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte
How are you celebrating?  (Also, my neighborhood Target already has multiple rows of holiday decor and wrapping paper ready to go, if you're planning ahead.)
BUT I LOVE IT:  This week's return of Black Simon & Garfunkel (& Garfunkel), plus this winning bit of Matt Damon acting out all his roles with James Corden (yes, including The Adjustment Bureau), plus all the new hosts out there invites a check-in post: what late night shows are you watching?

Right now, while I'm DVR-ing Colbert nightly, I'm only really watching the bits which get buzz. (I'm surprised that this Colbert persona is so close to the Comedy Central version; I was expecting more sincerity, less artifice.)  I'm trying to watch Trevor Noah's opening segment each night, and ... needs work, but the writing is strong. And I'm still DVRing and watching @Midnight pretty much every day, because that's a joke machine which always, always works. Even without Funches.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BEST BUY HAS NOT YET SIGNED A PRODUCT INTEGRATION DEAL:  Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21/22 Jump Street, Last Man On Earth) have optioned rights to develop a fictional series set behind the scenes of Serial as they investigate a case.
IT'S THE WAY WE ARE FEELING:  Fox's Grease! Live!  is plainly going to be using the movie as the template for things, as it will open with Jessie J doing "Grease," and Carly Rae Jepsen will play Frenchy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MARILYN VOS SAVANT, DENIED AGAIN:  The winners of the 2015 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and twenty-two other people who have never been in my kitchen.

added: Coates discusses the burdens of genius with Jeffrey Goldberg:
Jeffrey Goldberg: Congratulations on your new job at the Apple Genius Bar. Maybe you could help me with something: I can’t seem to back up my contacts to the Cloud. I went to Settings > iCloud > Backup but I couldn’t get anything to work. 
Ta-Nehisi Coates: I don’t think that’s what they meant, Jeff. By the way, the MacArthur Foundation discourages linking the fellowship I was awarded with the word “genius.” Having said that, I would not object to you referring to me as “Genius Coates,” “Sir Genius,” or if that feels too stuffy, “He Who Holds Knowledge Of All Things In All Realms At All Times.” Seems about right.