Thursday, September 27, 2007

Droppin' Like Flies 2

Last night, a 17th team was eliminated from the playoffs, the Detroit Tigers. I eliminated them only 17 days ago, as my 22nd team.

The teams in the American League are set now: The Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the LA Angels and the New York Yankees. I've already expressed my opinion that neither the Red Sox or the Yankees will win this year. We'll see if either of the other teams can pull it out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Droppin' Like Flies

The Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated early in the morning on Wednesday, at least on the East Coast. They were the 15th official elimination, and they were my 21st elimination on September 5th.

I eliminated the Seattle Mariners way back on April 23rd. Some say I simply underestimated the team's capabilities of hitting and pitching. I call it tremendous foresight. They were my 4th team eliminated, but ended up being the 16th team eliminated overall.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Solitary Weekend Elimination

I eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals on August 6, as the 16th team eliminated. But they waited until Saturday, September 22 to get eliminated in reality, the 14th team to get eliminated.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh, It's Been a Long Year

And an emotional one at that. My trepidation and fear of the past has led me to keep the Yankees and Red Sox in the hunt. But now it is time. It is time to cast off the demons of the past and to let them fly away to infect someone else with their maudlin effects. I'm saying it here and I'm saying it now. Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees will win the World Series this year.


Now if only it will come to pass...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another Elimination

For those of you hoping to read more about my current writing, please be patient and stay tuned. We are in the heat of the pennant races and I have a lot to report on there. Plus, I will be doing a lot with the AMIA Conference here in Rochester next week. In the meantime...

The Cincinnati Reds were the 7th team I eliminated, on May 14. They ended up doing better than expected with a mid-summer surge, but still were in the first half of teams to be eliminated, #13.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Long Elimination Weekend

Saturday, September 15

The Texas Rangers were my 6th team eliminated, but actually came in 5th at the elimination races. I eliminated them on May 7.

I waited until July 24 to eliminate my 14th team, the Florida Marlins. They, however, tanked mid-season and were the 6th team eliminated.

Sunday, September 16

The Washington Nationals were my 3rd team eliminated, and I was sad to see them go at the time, April 16. But they picked it up a bit and were the 7th team actually eliminated.

San Francisco was another of those teams with a summer swoon. I held off until July 3 to eliminate them, but they ended up being the 8th team eliminated. They were my #12.

Monday, September 17

A busy Monday started off with the elimination of last year's AL Central division winners, the Minnesota Twins. I held hope for them and used my 17th pick on them just last month, August 13. But they ended up being the 9th team eliminated overall.

I also held hope for the Oakland A's, by not eliminating them until July 31, with my 15th pick. But they were right behind the Twins as the 10th team eliminated.

In the National League, two Central Division teams were eliminated from the Wild Card, but held on in the weak divisional race. The Houston Astros were my 9th pick on May 29 and were the 11th team eliminated.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were eliminated the previous week by me (May 21, with my 8th pick) and were the 12th team eliminated overall.

There is only one more elimination that is likely this week, but there may be a few more by Monday as the playoff picture clears up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Riskiest Day of the Year


Big Breath.

I knew this day was coming, but it's still not easy. This is the day I officially count the Yankees out. I've had this feeling in my gut all year long, but it's been such a poor proposition in the past that I've held out as long as I could.

I've looked at pitching stats, hitting stats, for the last 7 and 30 days. I've looked at the competition, and I have to say, I think now is the time to make the move. I almost eliminated another team this week, had been planning to for a while, but they have picked up their play recently. Their pitching has been great this last week, and they might be heading for a surprising postseason. But the Yankees are the subject. There has been steady improvement and momentum building all year, up to and including this weekend's series victory over division-leading Boston.

But the problem is not with the Yankees themselves. It is with their competition. There are 3 division leaders in the AL right now that can beat them in a 7-game series. And they will have to get past two of them, on the road, in order to get to the World Series. I just don't see that happening.

Ahhhhh.... That's a weight off my shoulders. Now I can relax for a little while. Then I'll get started on my big elimination post for tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Overdrive and Casino Royale

I just want to drop a note about a new way to listen to books.

The Monroe County Library System has recently added a service where you can download audiobooks, some to CD, have them for a 3-week period and have them returned for you automatically. I've downloaded probably a dozen of them since I found out. One of the titles I burned to CD was CASINO ROYALE by Ian Fleming. I'm not sure if this is the first James Bond adventure, but it seems fairly early in the series. The basic plot is remarkably close to the film that was released last year.

What I was surprised to discover was exactly how good an Fleming was as a writer. His ability to create suspense around something as simple as a card game is admirable and something I'm going to have to study. And the Bond character in this short novel is much more complex and philosophical than you ever see him on-screen. What a wonderful experience that might have gone undiscovered had it not been for audiobooks.

This may be another author for whom I'll have to get the books and actually read.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bosch/Haller and the Meaning of Understanding

I understand.

But do I? Do I really comprehend every facet, innuendo and implication of what you are saying? It's not likely. Yes, we speak the same language. We construct sentences in much the same way and use commands and interrogatives in generally the same way. But, ultimately, the words that we use do not mean the same things to every person that uses them.

Consider this: In 1977 or 1978, my Dad had a company car. It was a big white sedan that he liked to call "The Shark." At one point in time, I was leaning over the front bench seat and looking at the controls on the console. I saw the button that said "Rear Def.", pointed at it and asked my Dad if he was going to turn on the Rear Deflector. Countless screenings of Star Wars and Star Trek re-runs had already rotted my brain. After several attempts to get herself under control, my mother revealed to me that the "Def." actually stood for defroster, which Dad would use to melt the ice on the back window if he needed to. I was chagrined, but happy I learned something new.

The point is, when I talk about defrosters now, whether they be in cars, or freezers, or on the space shuttle, I remember that incident. Tied into it are feelings about big American cars, my parents, the wonder of youth and my decades-long relationship with Star Trek, Star Wars, and Sci-Fi in general, which really gets into warm fuzzies about my Dad.

All of this is contained in that one word for me. That is what I bring to it. So, even though you and I are using the same word, and getting the message across, the sentence has more meaning for me than it does for you. Or maybe just a different meaning. Maybe you have your own defroster story that you think of every time you hear the word. But whatever it is, you're bringing a different set of experiences to the word than I am. The true meaning is lost in translation between psyches.

So, do we really understand each other? Can we possibly? No, not fully. But we can enough to get along, to agree or disagree, to connect or admit that we simply don't see things that way.

And art is the same way. We all have our own levels of education, especially about the medium we're working with. We all have our own unique experiences to draw upon. All the images, sounds, words that we see have their own set of connotations and relationships exclusive to us embedded in them. It's what we bring to the table. Like any form of communication, art is imperfect in its ability to relay truth. But it is also more effective at relaying the sense of truth, the underlying message trying to be expressed, than any straight-forward exclamation can do.

This is what connects with people, the sense of truth, the idea that a common truth is at the root of our uncommon understandings. We like to attempt to look through other's eyes and be comforted that what we see is essentially the same as what we see.

All this to say, I listened to the audiobook of LINCOLN LAWYER sometime late last year or earlier this year. I didn't see what the big deal was. But what I didn't know was that Mickey Haller, the protagonist of LL, was Harry Bosch's half-brother. I guess it was explained off-handedly in the book somewhere, but it didn't mean anything to me at the time because, worse still, I didn't know who Harry Bosch was.

Then, later on, I decided to give Connelly another chance. I listened to THE NARROWS. This, I loved. I thought the mix of third-person and first-person was used effectively, unlike certain other authors I had seen use it. I liked the mixture of real-life and fiction, with the book and movie of BLOOD WORK mentioned. I liked that he brought together the threads of three different narratives that had already been explored in his previous books, at the same time opening Harry Bosch's world and acknowledging that they were all taking place in the same continuity.

I was hooked.

As I do with my new discoveries on CD, I went back to the beginning. I read BLACK ECHO and liked it. I moved on to BLACK ICE, and now I discover that Haller's back story was seeded all the way back here. Haller and Bosch share a father, but their experiences with him couldn't have been more different. Again, they have a common thread, but they don't understand in the same way.

But I think I understand something a little more now. Connelly's fans had followed Bosch for 11 books prior to LINCOLN LAWYER and had a familiarity and fellowship with him by then. There is a thing about family, especially fictional families, whom we seem to be able to accept with flaws much easier than our own. And people were not only ready for a Mickey Haller book, they were welcoming it and eager to embrace it.

With this in mind, and a future reading of the book (in book form, this time) on the horizon. I find myself anticipating it, as well. I look forward to the comparisons between Haller and Bosch. I wonder what Bosch might have been if he had known his father. And what he ended up being despite it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Real Life Eliminations

The Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles were eliminated virtually at the same time last night when the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays. I eliminated the Royals way back on April 9, just before I saw them beat the Blue Jays. They were team #2.

I waited until June 18 to eliminate the Orioles. They were team #11.

It is possible, though unlikely, that we will have 3 more eliminations before Friday. But it is also possible that there could be another 10 in between now and Monday!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Multiple Post Monday!!!

I try to keep it down to one post per day, so as to keep things nicely organized and give me space to spread out, but there's just so much going on today to keep to myself. I have a long post that is more philosophical in nature in the draft stage, another team has been eliminated from World Series contention, and now teams are starting to get eliminated FOR REAL! You can read those posts below, but first let me tell you about an exciting announcement.

Our good friend Dan Wagner over at THE HUNGRY DETECTIVE has been on the blog roll of THE RAP SHEET for a while now, but it wasn't until last Saturday that he got a direct mention from J. Kingston Pierce. Follow this link to THE RAP SHEET, which will take you to this post on THE HUNGRY DETECTIVE, which will take you to this video trailer for Rochester's own Charles Benoit's new book NOBLE LIES, officially launching at Bouchercon this month.

Huey Lewis was right. It's a Small World.

Small, small world.

And Then There Were Seven

Ah, I love the classic "D" for Detroit. I get warm fuzzies just sitting back and thinking about watching Magnum, PI. And Magnum probably had a lot of fun in the postseason last year, watching the Tigers get as far as they did. But that's not going to happen this year. In fact, they're not even going to make the playoffs. The arms are just not there like they were last year, and now comes word that they are going to shut down Jeremy Bonderman. I'm sorry, Thomas, but the Tigers are victim #22.

World Series Survivor Update!

For over 5 months I have been soothsaying the doomed fates of Major League ballclubs. 21 teams have fallen under my biting knife. But it was not until this weekend that these teams started to be mathematically eliminated from postseason play, making it altogether impossible for them to win the World Series. As the dominoes continue to fall, I will update you on their demise and tell you exactly in what order I myself eliminated them. It should be interesting. (If to no one else but me.)

9/8 - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They were the first team mathematically eliminated, and they were the first on my chopping block. I eliminated them on Opening Day, April 2.

9/9 - The Chicago White Sox. This team has fallen fast. They were the second team to be mathematically eliminated, but they were the 13th victim on my hit list. They made it nearly halfway through. I eliminated them two months earlier on July 9.

There won't be any new teams to add to the list today, but there could be deluge of teams to add in the next week, never mind the next two weeks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Insert Clever Title Here

It's that time again, to eliminate another team from postseason contention, which would preclude them altogether from winning the World Series. The Dodgers have hung in there all year. They have an intriguing team, with good young pitching and a potent lineup. But they have an uphill climb within their own division this year. They're already in third place, behind two clubs battling it out for the division title, the other the likely Wild Card candidate. Even if they do make it out of their division, they're going to either face better pitching (New York) or better hitting (Philadelphia, Chicago) which they will not be able to keep up with. Another team to look for next year, not this one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

This Edition of World Series Survivor Has Been Pre-Empted 2

I have just discovered that the Rochester area Launch Party for Charles Benoit's next book, NOBLE LIES, is scheduled for Friday, October 19 at 7pm at the Barnes and Nobles in Pittsford on Monroe Avenue.

Charles is a great speaker and has extremely animated book signings as well as animated signatures. You should all plan on attending as I will be getting as many of my folks to go as I can.

You can read all about NOBLE LIES and the rest of Charles' books here.