Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Caution

Just when I was ready to hear about a “horrible accident” that had befallen Barry Zito so the Giants could get out of that contract (This just in! Streetcar crushes Giants hurler!), they send him to the bullpen. I was hoping they’d cut him loose completely in full on freakout mode. The joys of April baseball are in pressing the panic button as early as possible in a “sky is falling” manner. Most times this is completely unwarranted. For instance, I’ll bet Carlos Beltran will start hitting for the Mets. In some cases, a full on freakout may be completely justified. I present to you Travis Hafner…

From 2004-2006 Hafner was a beast. He hit 41, 42, and 31 home runs while averaging over 100 RBIs and batting over .300. The Indians signed him to a fat contract extension, and the guy immediately went into the shitter. Take a look at these numbers…

Hafner hit .338 (27-for-80) last April with five homers and 16 RBI. Since then he's hitting .243 (147-for-604). Those numbers include Hafner's horrific performance in the postseason last year when he hit .186 (8-for-43) with two homers and four RBI. Dude looked like he had never swung a bat before…
Now take a look at this, here’s Hafner's monthly batting averages: last May (.228), June (.218), July (.250), August (.253), September (.316) and October (.186). This April he’s hitting .219.

Despite these awful numbers, Hafner assures everyone he’s never felt better physically. That’s not good news. Scouts are saying he’s lost bat speed. Anyone even casually watching can see that he’s killing them in the middle of the lineup. The best part? He can’t play defense, so you’re paying him a kazillion dollars to go out there and exclusively hit like Chirs Magruder.

With the Indians window of opportunity to win the whole enchilada effectively closing this season with the expected exit of CC Sabathia, isn’t it time to see if Barry Bonds wants to pad his career stats for a year in the Progressive Field bandbox? Throw him in as a DH, and let him blast 35 home runs. Why even put him in the locker room? Just give him one of the empty luxury suites and let him shuffle down to take his cuts every couple innings.

It’s not like the Indians have an issue with Roids. Paul Byrd is still a swell guy and in the rotation despite testing positive (and admitting it). Their have been plenty of steroid guys through the doors here…Juan Gonzalez, Albert Bell, Jim Thome, David Seguii, and that spindly reliever that ratted everyone out in Arizona immediately come to mind.

C’mon, let’s do it! Let’s press the panic button! It’ll be great!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate The NBA

Last week I had the horrifying experience of attending an NBA Playoff game. The basketball itself was great, but all the accompanying bullshit was so overwhelming I felt like a caveman emerging from some kind of hibernation in Times Square. Is it possible a guy like myself can go to a basketball game and not have to sit through a bad Vegas show?

The Cavaliers, like every other NBA team, have a “dance team“, which is a collection of twenty four year old aerobics instructors in tight slutty outfits that are attempting to bang NBA players for fun and profit. In addition to that is “the Scream Team” which are local 18+ age kids providing sanitized “urban” dance routines (read: break dancing) and MTV “rap style” home team attitude. Quick side note…With the exception of each NBA game, does anyone anywhere participate in break dancing? Didn’t that go the way of the DeLorean, leg warmer, and That‘s Incredible? Where on earth would someone go to practice break dancing and not be mercilessly taunted by his/her peer group? Who are these break dancers ands where are they coming from? A time machine from 1985?

This whole enterprise is mc’d by some dude who yells out unintelligible things into a wireless microphone as the sound system blares horrible music at teeth rattling decibels. “ALL RIGHT CAVS FANS!!!! LET’S BLAH BRAHHHH BLAHHH BRAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” He was very insistent I should be participating in all kinds of activities guaranteed to give the home team the edge like waving around my “First Merit Rally Towel” when The Network came back from commercial break. I don’t know if it gives the home team the edge, but it does make that intro camera shot look good. First Merit probably likes it too.

The jumbotron is a four sided screen the size of a large building that shows a movie clip after every second of action. Delonte West hits an 18 foot jump shot? Better run a clip of one of the teenage boys in American Pie dancing. What hilarity! Wait around…Want to get psyched up? That Rocky clip is coming along. It’s going to be great. I also can’t wait until the “Kiss Cam” shows two members of the opposing team sitting next to each other. Ha! Those are men! On the other team! Look how foolish they look being expected to kiss each other. Home team 1, Visitor 0.

Also of note on the scoreboard is “The Diff”…This provides you the gap between the home team and the visitor. For example, if the Cavs are winning 83-77, “The Diff” helps you figure out they are winning by six. Side note: Have we sunk to the point in our society that it is acceptable to assume that the ticket holder is not capable of solving these mathematical equations? Any fucking retard that cannot do this simple math should not be allowed into the facility and beaten about the reproductive organs with bags of oranges.

It really reached a zenith when in the break between the 3rd and 4th quarter the Cavs Dance team were dancing, the Scream Team was spinning on their heads, Moondog the mascot was shooting hot dogs into the crowd with an air cannon, the MC was screaming for us to “GET UP AND BLAHH BLAHHH BLAHHHHHH!!!!!”, and a dance tune from about 10 years ago was playing so loud I wondered if this is what Hell was like. Yep, that’s basketball.

I was thinking that maybe it was an age thing. Maybe I’m just too old to appreciate how cool this presentation is. On reflection, I’m not buying that. I think it’s a taste thing, not an age thing. Being utilized like sheep to be extras in a television production should not be confused with being an active participant in an organic crowd that is genuinely excited. That crowd I was part of might have been loud, but it was nowhere near as intense as the crowd at a typical college basketball game, much less something like a Black Flag show. Maybe what the Cavs should do for future games is to break from the pack and knock all the bullshit off. No music, no dance team, no MC…Place people in their seats and let the event unfold. Let the opponents actually hear the crowd instead of the pre programmed multi media. Sometimes to be the loudest voice in the room, you have to whisper.

Side Notes: I watched Barry Zito pitch today, and that guy is a train wreck. He hangs every other curve ball at the letters, and guys are knocking it all over the park. To think the Giants have guaranteed him $100 million over 5 years is mind boggling. If I were them, I would hire a hit man to “take care of him”. It‘s the only way out…I see Rev Horton Heat is on tour again. Isn’t it time he ups the ante on his touring partners? How many tours has he done with Nashville Pussy now? Eight? How about some new talent that could really use the exposure to keep the scene he farms vibrant? I’d like to see him play with someone that would push him very night. I remember seeing him open for The Cramps early in his career. How about throwing someone a bone? Like those pesky Whiskey Daredevils!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Q&A

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I just dropped some jack betting on the Miss USA pageant tonight. I’ll tell you what, with a little research, this little adventure may pay off. The odds are between 10-1 and 40-1 for the girls I’m “on”, and that’s the kind of action everyone likes. Plus, I have an image of myself later tonight extremely intoxicated yelling at Miss Texas on the TV for screwing up her Q&A. “Goddammit!!!!! What do you want if you could have one wish come true???? World peace! World fucking peace! God damn you!!! Who wishes for a new Corvette and a Blackberry!!!????!!! You fucking whore!!!!! WHORE!!!!”. It will be an ugly and a horrible public spectacle.

I surfed around and discovered some blogs from people that appear to be very involved in the sick world of beauty pageants. The Rubes are on Miss Massachusetts at 8-1. That seems like the Kentucky Derby favorite that never comes in. Sure, she won a Miss Teen USA pageant in 2005, but what have you done for me lately? That’s like assuming Steve McNair will win the NFL MVP because he did when he was a Titan. Wise up…This little event is a southern thing. I think the people of The South are the ones that produce the winners of events like this. These girls aren’t using it as a spring board for something else. No sir. These girls are in it for the purity of the sport. That’s why I put down some scratch on Miss Texas, Miss Tennessee, Miss South Carolina, and Miss Arkansas. It feels good to participate in something so wholesome, and so American!

Side Note: The new REM record is really great. I thought it was all hype, but it’s really good. I find myself humming the tunes in my head all the time. I can’t believe these guys stepped up and made a record that sounds like Document Part 2. Their last few records have been dodgy (at best). I'm sure they lost quite a few of you along the way. I'm telling you though, this here is the goods. Congrats to those guys… I would also run out immediately and go get the new Raveonettes record. Oh yeah, and where the hell have I been? News flash! Willie Nelson has some really cool shit beyond the hits. I put on my pirate eye patch and downloaded some shit from the library…Get on the Twins tonight. Livan Hernandez is going off as a dog, and he’s been a witch so far…I’m 7-1 on baseball this season. Catch the wave Baby!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate March Madness? Hate March!

The worst part of the year in Northeast Ohio is February/March. It is truly a grim time to be here. On any given day it can be either a) 14 degrees with an ass biting wind whipping off Lake Erie b) some sort of horrible sideways sleet/rain mixture that crushes your soul or C) a shallow purple/gray sky tinged with a Kafka-esque sense of doom. The seemingly endless string of terrible days lay on top of each other like a bad dream you can’t wake up from.

The real whammy is this terrible malaise the nation (world?) seems to be in right now. The economy is awful. The housing market is down the toilet. The election coverage already has me disillusioned. Popular music might be the most awful it has been since the mid 1970s. Every movie at the theaters seems to be worse than the last. I haven’t found a good book in 60 days. The only sports to bet on that’s televised is either those shitbags from the NBA loafing up and down the court for 3 and a half quarters, or the anticlimactic NCAA Tournament that sent four #1 seeds to the Final Four.

Maybe it’s the hint of Spring in the air, but doesn’t it seem like things are about to change? Even the most brain dead Rube can see that the last eight years of the Bush administration have done nothing but made a few already really rich overfed old white guys even richer (while the rest of us will be left holding the bill for Iraq, Mortgage Collapse, Bank Failures, and $4.00 a gallon gas). It seems like maybe, just maybe, enough people have had enough of The Giant Shit Sandwich we have all been eating to participate in making a change. I’m not talking about some stupid election where the Corporate Puppet Masters have already hedged bets with all the players on the board. I’m talking about a sense of just enough people being sick and tired of the bullshit. Maybe just enough people can do something to make things interesting.

This has to be one of the most embarrassing times in our recent history. Every nation in the world hates us (but India, but that’s just because we outsourced them almost all of our jobs). Meanwhile everyday is a horrible collage of Dancing With the Stars/Brittany beaver shot photos/young men stuck in the desert losing their limbs/forgettable music by “artists” like Ray J and D4L/and speculating if Tom Cruise has that wife of his shackled to a radiator while playing her Scientology videos a la Clockwork Orange.

But perhaps there is hope…American Idol, the nation’s favorite karaoke contest, is slipping in ratings and water cooler buzz. President Bush was aggressively booed throwing out the first pitch (in Washington for God’s sake!). Is the nation finally ready to put Kim Kardashian’s head on a stake and say “Enough!”? I don’t know, but I sure hope so. Something’s got to change around here, and if that’s what it’s going to take get it started, I’m sure her Mom will sell someone the television rights. We’ll get some sponsors and get this thing started.

Quick Notes: I had a rough go of it in the tournament, but have rebounded nicely on baseball going 5-1 early. I am going to bet against Rich Hill of the Cubs and Barry Zito of the Giants until someone proves they can win. Also, I believe that Jake Westbrook of the Indians will offer a nice price for the next couple starts. He had a great second half last year, and a fabulous Spring…Everyday take a look at betting against the Yankees. They always have too high a price due to heavy homer fan betting volume. Even at their best, they’ll only win about 60% of the time. Pick your spots like when Gil Meche of the Royals, Joe Blanton of the As, or McGowan of Toronto is pitching against them. Those are guys that give you a chance to win every time they pitch, and their teams are not well regarded. Depending on who they match up with, they’ll be at +130 to +170. Nice.