Saturday, July 19, 2008

CHANGE! Obama is behind this post.

Admittedly, I don't get the bumper sticker thing. I just don't have anything that I feel so strongly about that a little two inch by six inch sticker on my crapmobile is the best way to communicate my love to the masses. I mean, I am the only individual in the world boasting a trendy 2004 Source 95.1 orange window cling, but I use that to find my car in a parking lot as much as I use it to advertise my beloved college radio station that no one in Minnesota is within 500 miles to hear.

That being said, can we please retire the 2004 political bumper stickers? None of the four men featured on these displays of election fanaticism are running for office this time around. Let's move on.

Get a nice new Obama "Change" sticker or a McCain "Experience" sticker, or whatever buzzword best sums up a lifetime of work and their future of rule. While I never ever would put a political bumper sticker on my own vehicle, can I least get the United States behind me so that I can at least view fresh new material? What happens when these folks so far behind the times still haven't changed over come November? Then they'll be two elections behind and nothing says uncool like that.

Do your part, change over your bumper sticker today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

RIP: 2008 Cleveland Indians

I take a little extended Fourth of July holiday with very little access to the outside world (Missouri will do that to you) and even less yet of the sports sphere. Much to my surprise, I return to find the underachieving Cleveland Indians a shadow of their former selves. Joe Blows and CC No Periods are off the team. Woo! The team gave up halfway through 2008 and just like that we're done. I suppose things are back to normal. Man, one game away from the World Series seems like such a long time ago.

So the question definitely turns to what the hell happened?

The only thing keeping me from answering "everything" is Grady Sizemore. The man is marvelous and he's better this year than last. Unfortunately, he's the only thing that has improved has nearly every other position has seen a decrease in performance. You'll have to double the 2008 numbers to get a semi accurate comparison as we are now halfway through the the season. Around the horn:

Catcher, Victor Martinez:
2007: .374 OBP, 25 HRs, 114 RBIs
2008: .332 OBP, 0 HR, 21 RBIs, and DLed (198 at bats)

First Base, Ryan Garko:
2007: .359 OBP, 21 HRs, 61 RBIs
2008: .324 OBP, 6 HRs, 40 RBIs

Second Base, Asdrubal Cabrera*:
2007: .354 OBP, 30 runs, 3 HRs, 22 RBIs
2008: .282 OBP, 16 runs, 1 HR, 14 RBIs
*Asdrubal came up to the majors halfway through the season last year and managed 159 at bats before the season ended. This year, he had 158 at bats before heading back to the minors to stop sucking. The at bats are almost exactly perfect for our comparison.

Shortstop, Jhonny Peralta*:
2007: .341 OBP, 21 HRs, 72 RBIs
2008: .298 OBP, 13 HRs, 38 RBIs
*Jhonny's power numbers are about on par from last year which while unspectacular are seemingly immune from the Cleveland suckfest. Unfortunately, the .50 drop in OBP (sub .300!) was not.

Third Base, Casey Blake*:
2007: .339 OBP, 16 HRs, 78 RBIs
2008: .355 OBP, 8 HRs, 47 RBIs
*Casey ever the average third baseman has seen a tad bit of improvement. The problem being that most of the improvement came in the last 30 days when Cleveland was already playing catch up. As late as June 6th, his OBP was .315.

Right Field, Franklin Gutierrez:
2007: .318 OBP, 13 HRs, 36 RBIs
2008: .269 OBP, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs
*Franklin, like Asdrubal, was a midseason call-up last year. He had 271 at bats last season and has already had 202 this year. Oh yes, he's also hitless in his last 28 at bats.

Left Field, Who Knows:
Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Ed Schillinger, Jason Michaels, and David Dellucci all occupied space here in 2007. This year, Lofton and Nixon were not resigned, Michaels was released midseason, and Dellucci is batting .223 having given way to Ben Franscisco.

Starting Pitcher, Paul Byrd:
2007: 15-8, 4.59 ERA, 27 HRs allowed
2008: 3-10, 5.53 ERA, 23 HRs allowed

Relief Pitcher, Rafael Betancourt:
2007: 1.47 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 4 HRs allowed, .183 Opponent's batting average
2008: 5.67 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 7 HRs allowed, .293 Opponent's batting average

Not to say anything of Fausto Carmona's injury and Joe Borowski's release. I have no idea what caused this cataclysmic decline in the entire team, but I'm going to speak in hyperbole and say that it is in fact the greatest collapse of any single team from one year to the next in the history of the world. The numbers are not close. They are all horrible. Cleveland sucks.

The good news is the last time we traded an overweight pitcher for prospects, Cleveland ended up with Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee - the only two players worth a damn on this roster. Oh, and Joe Borowski will never pitch again for the Indians. Begin the Jeff Weaver era!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A quick political lesson

One of the joys at working retail is that I do get to work with a lot of very cool youngsters just entering the real world. These folk are graduating high school, deciding whether or not to go to college, making choices regarding careers, and occasionally no showing for their shift. Many of them also are learning about the political world with this being the first Presidential election they have the opportunity to cast a vote. It was against this backdrop that I had a conversation recently at work with one such youngster.

Photo Tech: "Drew, this sucks!"

Drew: "What?"

Photo Tech: "Look at my paycheck. Taxes always eat a huge hole in what I take home."

Drew: "Vote Republican."

Photo Tech: "What? Why?"

Drew: "Generally speaking, Democrats love to share. They want everyone to have every opportunity to be equal. The problem of course is that someone has to pay for it, which is why you have a huge amount taken out of your paycheck. They are nice people, but they are expensive people. On the other hand, Republicans don't play well with others. They want people to keep what they earn and want individual accountability to reign. The problem of course, is a separation of wealthy and poor not improving, and they are thought of 'protectors of the rich' because they don't want to tax everyone, instead letting people keep what they earn. They are nice people, they just don't want to spread wealth everywhere."

Photo Tech: "Oh."

Drew: "Make sense?"

Photo Tech: "I'm feeling Republican today."

Photo from