Monthly Archives: September 2011

Drawing Skulls and Editing Tombstone Photos, aka The Morbid Post

This time of year in baseball is precious.  Part of me hates it and misses those carefree spring games, but there’s also no feeling quite like watching clinching games, whether or not you like the teams.  It’s magical.  And it reminds me of the Giants last year.  And then I get sad all over again.

I’m actually really happy with how all the divisions have turned out.  In the AL, I like the Yankees, Tigers, and Rangers, and will be pretty happy with any outcome there, as long as whoever gets the Wildcard (Boston, Tampa Bay or Anaheim) gets eliminated in the first round.  Hey, I still think the Wildcard should be wild.  We need to get that on Bud Selig’s desk, don’t we?

In the National League, I can’t stand the Phillies or Diamondbacks but am super stoked for Milwaukee.  We shall, of course, have to see about that Wildcard.

Anyhow.  3-1 against the Diamondbacks feels like the story of this year.  It’s just a bit heartbreaking to watch, really, because the Giants do feel maddeningly close to being good, really good, but just not quite there.  It may be desperately preemptive, not to mention morbid, of me to say RIP 2011 Giants, but didn’t that feel an awful lot like The End, last night?  Or was it just me?

I was seriously up at 1:54 this morning, unable to sleep, drawing skulls.  So it may just be me.  Hopefully.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Moneyball-day-after-thoughts?  Billy Beane did so go to college.  You lied, movie.  You totally lied.

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My Moneyball Movie Review!

I love movies with a predictable twist.

Okay, not really.  I hate movies with a predictable twist, actually.  But you know what I hate even more?  Movies with no twist at all.

Enter Moneyball.

 I woke up with an incredible urging to see the movie now that it’s finally out and even tweeted “Happy #Moneyball Day!”, because, as I’ve said, I really wanted to love it.  But I just didn’t.  A few things in particular…

The Types Were All Wrong

The movie didn’t delve very deep into personalities, which is fine, but I think they got all the stereotypes wrong, too.  One could argue that since it’s a fictionalized account, the characters being realistic isn’t important, but I think in this case the types are integral to the story.  Billy Beane, in particular, came across like a glorified, grown-up jock who was in the right place at the right time and put faith in Peter Brand, who was the smart one.  Brand’s character was also odd to me because his type seemed like he should have been funny, a kind of a klutz, etc.  Instead, he was pretty much a total straight man.

No Big Three

This was a gripe I had with the book, as well, but even more so with the movie.  Where was Mulder?  Hudson?  Zito?   Speaking of which…

The 20th Straight Win

I think Hudson being on the mound was a big part of that game, against the Royals, where the A’s went for their 20th straight win.  More importantly, even, was the whole thing after Hudson was taken out.  Howe brought in someone for the lefty-on-lefty matchup, if I’m remembering correctly and they totally ommited that.  I guess it was cute for the whole “Beane-jinx” storyline for it to seem like the letting in 11 runs was a fluke, but it just felt random and meaningless then.

I think that was just one place out of many where they profoundly missed the original point of Moneyball.  Which is fine, but then they needed to make their own compelling point, you know?

Sabean Doesn’t Talk Like That!

‘Nuff said.  I’m glad they didn’t include Dombrowski’s voice too or I might have ended up being That Person who yells are the screen in the theatre.

The Corn          

Not the yummy, yellow, gets-stuck-in-your-teeth-kind.  The kind that makes you roll your eyes and drum your fingers.  I think Aaron Sorkin is a really great script writer so I don’t know quite where this went wrong, except maybe that they told the story totally straight.  It was weird, really.  And the daughter storyline was undeveloped and incongruous, as far as I could tell.

The Good!

Saving it for last, because I’m a downer like that.  I thought the Hatteberg storyline was absolutely great.  It felt real enough that it made sense, but it also had a nice Hollywood twist to it and worked in a movie format.  The acting was good and the whole thing was well done.  The guy who played Wash was pretty good too.

Overall…

I didn’t hate it as much as I may have implied so far.  It was fine, really.  Just a bit confused, a bit boring and very, very flat.  Not up to its potential, neither a baseball movie or an Oscar movie or even a business movie.  One of the best movies of the year, Rolling Stone?  Eh, nope. 

Diamond Girl

p.s.  I think the Dodgers read my blog post from yesterday and were all, “Scoring eight runs is rad!  We should do it, too!”  Which was not my intent.

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Eight Meanings of… Eight

When they’re not being shut out by Kershaw, doesn’t it seem like the Giants score eight runs just about every game, lately?  Not complaining, or anything.  I really dig it.  Just noting.

So I, being the mystic that I am, starting sleuthing around about what the number eight means.

  • The Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.’s number was 8 as was the New York Yankees, for Hall of Famer’s Yogi Berra.
  • Eight is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture because it sounds like the word meaning to generate wealth (發(T) 发(S); Pinyin: fā). Property with the number 8 may be valued greatly by Chinese. For example, a Hong Kong number plate with the number 8 was sold for $640,000. The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing started at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm (local time) on 8 August 2008.
  • In human adult dentition there are eight teeth in each quadrant. The eighth tooth is the so-called wisdom tooth.
  • In the Middle Ages, 8 was the number of “unmoving” stars in the sky, and symbolized the perfectioning of incoming planetary energy.
  • 8 Mile is a (Diamond Girl note: artsy, slow, emo) 2002 film directed by Curtis Hanson
  • The 8-track cartridge is a musical recording format
  • “Section 8″ is common U.S. slang for “crazy”, based on the U.S. military’s Section 8 discharge for mentally unfit personnel
  • In numerology, 8 is the number of building, and in some theories, also the number of destruction.
  • The Dharmacakra, a Buddhist symbol, has eight spokes. The Buddha’s principal teaching—the Four Noble Truths — ramifies as the Noble Eightfold Path. In Mahayana Buddhism, the branches of the Eightfold Path are embodied by the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (Manjusri, Vajrapani, Avalokiteśvara, Maitreya, Ksitigarbha, Nivaranavishkambhi, Akasagarbha, and Samantabhadra). Similarly, Buddha’s birthday falls on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar.
  • 8 apparitions appear to Macbeth in Act 4 scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as representations of the 8 descendants of Banquo
  • A stop sign has eight sides.

So, yeah.  I think the eight runs thing has a big meaning.  I just can’t quite figure out what it is, but… I’m sure it’s there.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  Wikipedia rocks.

 

 

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An Open Letter to Clayton Kershaw + Poll!

First!  I have discovered WordPress polls (late to the game?  Yes.) and have my very first here.  Spill your secrets, people!

Dear Clayton,

Look.  I’m not accustomed to saying this about Dodgers, but you are a pretty darn amazing pitcher.  This, we know.  And I respect good pitchers, even if they pitch under the watchful eye of that silly “THINK BLUE” sign.  I think it’s very sweet that you have 20 wins and are the frontrunner for the Cy Young Award and are being compared to Sandy Koufax now.

This is all to say, I have no problem with you personally.  Even professionally, when you’re facing the Diamondbacks or the Phillies or something.  But when you’re facing the Giants?  Yes.  Yes, I most certainly have a problem with you.

I mean, this is justified.  You seem to take immense pleasure in emotionally crushing me so of course I have distaste for your brilliance.  You’ve allowed five earned runs over 42 innings against the Giants this year.  Do you know how many hours that means I’ve sat next to my radio, listening to you shut down my team?  I’m not real strong at math but that’s a lot, Clayton.  A whole lot.

I guess I just don’t understand the psychology of a player on an eliminated team who crushes the playoff hopes of a barely-above-water team.  And then says, “it’s a shame” afterwards.   I mean, that seriously, seriously stings, you know? 

Anyhow.  We aren’t facing you again this year, which is good news and I hope that this offseason you have a revelation and go to Mongolia and live with the yaks or something nice like that.  Or, eh, how many years until you become a free agent and head off to the American League?  Not that I’m counting or anything.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  If there’s anything I’ve learned about Cy Young awards over the years, it’s that you should try and be in a place with good cell phone reception during the day they came the winner.  Just a word of advice.

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My Complicated Relationship

…with baseball movies.   The last baseball movie I liked was, well, never.

There.  I said it.

I’ve tried to avoid this fact for much of my life (minor exaggeration, but still), but I can no longer avoid it.  Every so often, for whatever reason, everyone starts talking about their favorite baseball movies on the internet and those are some of the only times in my life that I am quiet.  Because I have nothing to contribute.

I’ve tried, really, I have.  I watched Field of Dreams with a tissue box by my side, sure I would be as affected by it as everyone else but I was snickering at the dramatic/heart-wrenching moment.  I snored through Eight Men Out.   And I absolutely hated Sandlot.

Which is why I’m worried about the Moneyball movie, which opens this Friday.   I loved the book and have a bit of a Billy-Beane-is-a-rockstar thing going on, so I want to like it with all my heart.  It’s just that my track record isn’t promising.

I think what I don’t like about baseball movies, actually, is what I don’t like about most “genre” movies.  I don’t like horror or romance, although I often enjoy movies with horror or romance elements.  I feel like so often baseball movies are too much about the baseball and not primarily a good film.  Good cinematography, good acting, good script- that all seems to go by the wayside.

So my fingers are solidly crossed about the Moneyball movie. 

And may I also just comment on what an absolutely bizarre looking cover this is?

Diamond Girl

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