30 April 2011

Summer Reading List

Here's my list of things I've read this year. Included are two titles I split between 2010 and 2011.

The Boy of Summer by Roger Kahn
Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Play it as it Lies by Joan Didion
Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger Jr.
Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Female Marine by "Lucy Brewer" (Nathaniel Hill Wright)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Holy Land by D.J. Waldie
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboksy
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Heroic Slave by Frederick Douglass
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin
McTeague by Frank Norris
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

My goal at the beginning of the year was to read 30 books. I've upped that to 56, a book a week.

Here's what I plan on reading this summer (and beyond). I include books I've already started:

The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella
A Scientific Romance by Ronald Wright
The Oxygen Man by Steve Yarbrough
The Good Brother by Chris Offutt
Ned Kelly by Robert Drewe
Winter Journey by Isabel Colegate
The Visitor by Maeve Brennan
Germania by Brendan McNally
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (re-read)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (re-read)
The Sun of Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Candide by Voltaire
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer
The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey by Cynthia Garvey

29 April 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry for the lack of posts. I graduate college in 9 days and prepping for that has taken up most of my time. I've managed to catch enough Dodgers to hold me over. I can't tell you how excited I am now that Frank is out making a fool of himself and digging himself deeper into his own grave.

The two Kemp walk-offs last week were a lot of fun too. I was at the Sunday game where Bills pitched a gem only to have Broxton blow it and then Andre and the Bison bail him out.

Up until the series against the Cubs, the Dodgers had only played teams that had won 85 or more games in 2010. Considering the fact that no one expected this team to be anything special, the sparks we've seen against a very tough slew of opponents have been a pleasant surprise. If they can continue to compete against the Giants and Rockies, we may very well have ourselves a pennant race. The Dodgers haven't even played the D'Backs, the NL West punching bag. I'm a cynic and I like some of our chances.

Jerry Sands has had some tough breaks but his power and plate discipline will hopefully keep him on the club long enough for everything else to even out. I'm hoping he'll be playing first base against lefties while Lame James Loney collects splinters. Hopefully Uribe's groin is nice and rested (and he hasn't gained 50 pounds since the last time he played) and he can make an appearance this series.

The loss of Casey Blake is tough, especially since he was hot when he went down. This is an opportunity for Russ Mitchell to show what he can do. Let's hope its better than his September 2010 debutant ball. Any sort of kick would be nice. The offense came alive at Wrigley this week but I'm still not convinced that anyone not named Andre or Matt is dependable. Those two are on fire and even though Kemp has slowed down, they're the entire reason we're not in the National League cellar.

Finally, I'm impressed with Mattingly. A few weeks ago when Kershaw was on the cusp of shutting down the Braves for a complete game, he went out and could have brought in Broxton. Instead, he stuck with the kid and, even though the gamble didn't work out, it was the right move and showed Donnie Baseball has manager balls. I was sold there.

20 April 2011

Just a quick note

I've spent hours celebrating today's news.

April 20, often associated with some shifty things throughout history, shall now be known primarily (to me, at least) as Dodger Fan Independence Day.


18 April 2011

Showtime for Sands

Big surprise that the Dodgers called up Jerry Sands today. He'll be batting 7th and playing left field.

He's already the third or fourth best hitter in our lineup.

Sands will wear #47 and hit 7 homers tonight.

11 April 2011

Our Offense is Offensive

I don't quite know how but the Dodgers have a winning record heading into San Francisco tonight for the first of three games against the defending chumps.

A few players are hitting the cover off the ball:
Matt Kemp: .438/.514/.656
Andre Ethier:.353/.436/.441
Tony Gwynn Jr. (!): .350/.381/.450
Jamey Carroll: .348/.423/.478
Xavier Paul and Casey Blake are also hitting above .350, albeit in very small sample sizes. But after that comes a HUGE drop off:
Juan Uribe: .111/.172/.148
Aaron Miles: .143/.200/.143
James Loney: .143/.184/.257
Rod Barajas: .222/.250/.333
That's pitiful.

Uribe, our big free agent signing, is the worst hitting position player on the team. Miles doesn't even belong on this team. Barajas' stats are ugly but are actually not very far from his career norms (scary). Not mentioned are Marcus Thames (.182) and Rafael Furcal (.208), also starting slow this season.

And Loney... well, don't get me started on Loney, whom, during what are supposed to be his peak years, has plummeted from being a below-average first-baseman to a straight up bad baseball player.

I knew the offense was going to be bad but this is just heinous. The sterling starts of Kemp, Ethier, and especially Gwynn have been a real pleasure and godsend for the Dodgers, but the rest of the bats are really bringing this team down. The Dodgers are 11th out of 16 in AVG and OBP, 13th in walks 14th in slugging, and tied for last in doubles and home runs.

The way they're hitting, there's no way Donnie Baseball's team can keep their heads above .500 for much longer.