30 August 2010

The Battle of Los Angeles

What a photo.

Today is the first day of Jamie v. Frank..., or is it Frank v. Jamie? For the sake of consistency, I'm going to call it Shithead v. Shithead.

For all your Shithead v. Shithead coverage, make sure you follow www.DodgerDivorce.com. The site's author, Joshua Fisher, has a background in law and has been covering the story for months now on his blog. He's appeared on ESPN Radio, among other places, to discuss the trial. He's also talked to me on Twitter before. Because I'm awesome. Or as awesome as a Twitterer can be...

Regardless - Manny's gone, season's over, and the team looks flat once again after an glimmer of life in Milwaukee.

Aside from Shithead v. Shithead, the other big matchup to look forward to is Mattingly vs. Wallach - as Donnie Baseball and Tim Wallach both appear to be in solid positions to jump into the captain's seat next season.

Be it here resolved that Curse of the Piazza officially endorses Tim Wallach for manager.

And Donnie Baseball for bat boy.

And Jonathan Broxton for Taiwan.

29 August 2010

Loaves and Fishes

Here's something different.

My fraternity volunteered at the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen in Santa Ana yesterday. It was a wonderful time and I hope we go back again soon. We did crafts and played games with the dozens of kids there. I must admit that I expected a sort of two-bit operation (it's run out of an Elementary School), but the whole thing was a gigantic event run by a lot of very motivated people dedicated to feeding hundreds of underprivileged families.

I was proud to be a part of it. Here's a link to the photos I took. Check them out.

28 August 2010

The Left Field Pavilion: Beard leads the way

The Left Field Pavilion: Beard leads the way

M.Brown says all there needs to be said.

This was the first game I've watched in a while - partly because I've decided against making myself sick, partly because I no longer have cable in my apartment (really - I don't watch enough to pay that much per month).

But the Dodgers have put together a nice little string of wins and gained ground in the race.

I'm calling it now - a false hope rally to trump all false hope rallies.

23 August 2010

Ain't seen nothing Yhency


Here's some news on a guy I figured would simply remain a staple of DodgerBlues.com's "Random Dodger" array of stiffs... from MLB Trade Rumors:

The Mets signed former big league reliever Yhency Brazoban out of the Mexican League, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The 30-year-old right-hander enjoyed some success out of the Dodgers' 'pen in 2004-05, but hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008.

Only Omar Minaya.

22 August 2010

Vin Scully to Return in 2011!

Vin Scully:
“I’m just honored and humbled to continue my association with the Dodgers, which has been a major part of my life."


He's coming back!

Wonderful news. He's going to do all home games and NL West road games - same deal as this year and year before.

Awesome. Just Awesome.

Here's to Year 62 in the booth, Vin!



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The Dodgers, in their efforts to dampen this great announcement, claimed fatboy Rod Barajas today from the Mets. He's not good. At all. But he's better than Ellis and Ausmus at this point.

Vin Scully to Make Decision on Future Today

Make sure you tune in before the game today, as Vin Scully intends to make an announcement regarding his future, according to the Times' T.J. Simers.

"I know what I am going to do and I would imagine the Dodgers will arrange things so an announcement can be made before [Sunday's] game," said Scully, who will be 83 before the start of next season. "I'd like to do that so everyone hears it at the same time. It's the proper way to do it."


The way the situation is handled leads me to believe that, after over 60 years, this is it.

If it is - thank you, Vin.

21 August 2010

Slow Week


My apathy for that miserable ballclub has made this a rather slow week around Curse of the Piazza headquarters. Last night they lost another game where they scored only one run... on a squeeze no less. As much as I love hearing Vin, I can't subject myself to such agony. There's only one word that can adequately describe the 2010 LA Dodgers season.



Seriously - two straight years of being only 3 games away from the World Series and this is the 2010 Dodgers? You can call me "fairweather" or what you will, but there's one thing I'm not and that's a chump. And you'd have to be a chump to continue lapping up this rotten milk.

So instead of lamenting this abortion of a season, find something else to do. I've been active trying to set up some new organizational changes for my fraternity. I've also been listening to a lot of Righteous Brothers... take that as you will.

I can think of at least two dozen terrible things I'd rather do that go to the Ravine, where the level of my game enjoyment, already dwindling year to year, has freefalled in 2010.

Miserable parking.
Miserable concessions.
Miserable stupid fans.
Miserable scoreboard antics.
Miserable singers butchering God Bless America when all I really want to do is stretch.
Miserable, miserable Dodgers.

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My sister, as some of you know, is a hell of a singer.
Check out these two videos:
Meghan Montenegro sings "I Ain't Got You"
Meghan Montenegro sings "Hurt"

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I built a new website for my chapter of ADG. It is here: ADGLambda.com

17 August 2010

Final Thoughts on KC

I was pleasantly surprised with Kansas City as a town - there's a lot more to it than barbecue (though that's not to say the barbecue isn't to die for, because it most certainly is).

KC is cheap, the people are friendly, and the nightlife is kickin'. There is plenty to do and see when it comes to sports, museums, and bars. My biggest regret was missing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (despite the fact I repeatedly posted here that I was heading to see it on any number of days). I did, though, catch the National World War I Memorial and Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, both with some amazing displays and atmospheres.

Despite the sweltering heat, I managed to get in a 5K run, Ultimate Frisbee competition, and my own little jog to Kansas the state, the border between it and Missouri located only a mile and a half west of the hotel. I think that's the only time I've ever crossed state line on foot, though the border between California and Nevada in Primm might go through the outlet mall there and could have been my real first. It's too close to call though.

The hotel was probably one of the best I've ever stayed at - a fact reinforced by its high-profile guests during my time there: The New York Yankees. When they weren't pounding the Royals, the Bronx Bombers were attracting hordes of fans, shutting down the elevators, and plain moseying around the lobby with a 7-ft behemoth of a security guard keeping watchful eye.

Throughout the week I spotted Joe Girardi, Mariano Rivera (and his 11 kids), Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte in one form or another. The hotel was very strict about its "no privacy invasions" policy so I never offered more than a nice polite smile. The entire week there were tons of Yankee fans, often in father and son combos, itching for a stray photo or autograph. I never saw anyone fortunate enough to come away with anything.

Overall, despite the fact I sweat enough to fill the Missouri River basin, I really enjoyed Kansas City. It's the closest to the South I've ever spent an extended period of time and I definitely felt the trickles of the famous Southern Hospitality wherever I was. The fellows at ADG Zeta chapter did a great job at making us all feel at home and I look forward to going back and seeing all I didn't get to see the first time.

Photos

National World War I Museum




Freak T-Storm amidst 103 degree weather


Kansas City - City of Fountains


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The Dodgers did the unthinkable yesterday. Yes - they did implode in the 9th again but that's come to be expected. The unthinkable thing is that they signed their previously unsignable first-rounder, Zach Lee. His picture below shows him doing what most people figured he'd be doing this fall - throwing the football.


Lee spurned LSU at the last minute and agreed to his contract shortly before the deadline yesterday evening. The Dodgers shelling out $5 million for a draft pick seems completely absurd considering their recent tight-pocketed antics. Naturally, the $5 million is spread out over five years, a signature McCourt move - why pay now when you can try and pay later? This is the guy who bought the team on credit and has since lost most of his collateral.

Still, the Lee signing serves as a small glimmer of hope for Dodger fans, who were treated to another bullpen implosion last night against the Braves, this time thanks to Hong-Chih Kuo (first time I've had to use his name negatively in a long while) and Octavio Dotel. The biggest mistake was by Joe Torre, trying to stretch his new closer to get a two-inning save. The man is completely inept at the helm of this team.

Meanwhile James McDonald pitched 6 innings of 1-run ball. There has been talk around the Pirates organization that they cannot believe what the Dodgers staff were making McDonald do in his development. Considering the fact that the Torre/Little/Honeycutt era of on-field management has only been able to develop two starters - Billingsley and Kershaw - while completely whiffing on guys like McDonald, Elbert, and Ely - reinforces so many common criticisms.

The biggest problem I have is that young pitchers are completely shelved at the first sign of trouble. Ely had a miraculous run earlier this year and, instead of giving him the chance to make adjustments when the league began to figure him out, Colletti shipped him back to the hell hole in Albuquerque.

Their treatment of young talent is stupefying, especially since they've been willing to keep players with "veteran presence" on the roster for days, weeks, and sometimes months longer than they should have.

This season has been a laugher - and as TheLFP.com perfectly puts it, the Zach Lee signing is just like putting sprinkles on a giant turd.

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Meanwhile, the Dodgers have been paying themselves a ridiculous amount of rent to play in the stadium they own.

Deadspin and Dodger Divorce address this issue - just another in a long line of McCourt douchebaggery.

16 August 2010

Kauffman Stadium Review

I got back yesterday from the ADG Convention in Kansas City. There are plenty of photos of beautiful Kauffman Stadium at the end of this post.

I was completely struck at how different Kauffman is compared to every other Major League ballpark I've ever visited. Perhaps the Royals play like a Triple-A team not because they are the Royals, but because everything about the Kansas City baseball experience bleeds minor leagues. The fans at Kauffman (which was about 70% Yankees fans - not a hyperbole) make up the whitest, most comatose crowd of fans in all of baseball. They make the Orange County metrosexuals behind the Angels dugout look like the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium.

The place is definitely built upon the foundation of Mid-Western family values. One of the guys in my large group was threatened by an usher for using the word "sucks." Jumbotron shenanigans included the Hi-Five Cam, the Jump Cam, and the John Deere tractor race.

They had a Garth Brooks sing-a-long in the 5th inning. Garth fucking Brooks.

And while the Dodgers were blowing an 8-run 8th inning lead in Philadelphia, I was sweating balls in the 100 degree Missouri humidor.

This is not to say that Kauffman Stadium is not a wonderful venue. Fresh off a $250 million renovation a couple years ago, the place is a beautiful and unique ballpark. The famous fountain works in the outfield are now accessible to fans (and lit up during the night, a nice touch). Fountain seats are available where the mist from the between-inning water shows keeps fans cool in the scorching sun. Since the Royals are absolute garbage, I was able to sit in these seats for an inning and must say it is a definite recommendation for an August game.

The stadium seems small and, compared to behemoths like Miller Park and Dodger Stadium, it is. Still it seats 39,000 (less than before the renovation), many of those seats near the field of play. You can walk all the way around the lower concourse behind the fountains, allowing for some interesting sight lines and good photo opportunities. From up above, the highway beyond the outfield is a huge eyesore (not to mention signs for Denny's and Taco Bell in the distance).

While the atmosphere seems minor league, I was surprised to see the concessions and prices were all very, very major league. It seems insulting that the Royals can charge $20 for a seat in the left field upper deck to see the likes of Jason Kendall and Willie Bloomquist. Beer is no cheaper than $7 for a small. Food, while the selection is impressive, is priced just about as heinously as Dodger Stadium. My soft-serve ice cream in a mini KC helmet cost me $6.

Still, despite its flaws (the biggest being the Royals), Kauffman Stadium was a fun experience. Tailgating before the game is a definite (something I wish we could do in LA). Buy a cheap ticket and then sit wherever you like. Even when the Yanks were in town, the stadium was half-empty.

Kauffman Stadium as it looked before the renovation:

Now:


Photos
Arrowhead Stadium right next door.


Kauffman


First Base Gate


View from Concourse


View from empty first base line seats










Behind Right Field






My Buddy Jim and the famous KC Fountain


George Brett


Loving the mist


Behind scoreboard


Left field










Upper Concourse









Garth




Concourse