Cub Fans, Go Have A Martini
Well after this last week of 2009 Cubs baseball, a week that included a double-header sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field the day after the Cubs were eliminated from even sniffing the playoffs, there's really only one thing to do.
Go have a giant martini.
Go out for it, to someplace worthy.
Don't have it on the rocks.
Don't have it silly.
"Apple", "Cran", "Dirty"...none of these modifiers should be used when ordering the martini I'm talking about.
Never order off a "martini" menu.
You can order "vodka shaken with ice and served up in a martini glass", but that's all it is and that's how you should order it.
A martini is made with gin.
My favorite is the original Bombay in the clear bottle with that weird woman on the label.
If you like, you can add dry vermouth, and maybe a twist (which would be lemon), or an olive.
But that's where it stops.
There should be no toying, at all, with this drink.
One time I was lucky enough to have one at the bar in the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.
The bar, the paneling, the tables, everything, I was told, was made from a single giant redwood tree (of course that would have been a looong time ago when such a thing wasn't so politically incorrect).
You don't want to be a dope in here.
The bartender was very distinguished and older - a man of the world.
I asked for a Bombay up with an olive.
He shook it with dignity and reserved panache, he poured it in the properly chilled glass, he set it down in front of me and turned his back.
When he turned around, he put another napkin on the bar.
Then he put the an olive on the napkin.
Now, I set myself up earlier in this post - you already know I'm the dope.
I said, "Hey, what's with the olive on the napkin?"
He crinkled his eyes.
"The oil from the olive. Kind of spoils the whole thing, doesn't it."
Now, you might take that as a put-down.
I took it seriously.
I have ever since.
And you should, too.
A toast to the 2009 Cubs season.
And then lets be done with it.
This illustration is a watercolor done from a "live" subject which was consumed after a re-shaking.
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.