Saturday, May 11. 2013 | Comments (4)
The new Ballpark video for 2013:
This video debuted the week before we went to a game, and generated quite a bit of buzz. Obviously, the video was put together after Josh Hamilton's "not a baseball town" comments. If you're a Rangers fan, the video is truly epic.
A couple of nice touches: 1) The music during the 2010-2011 highlights is rather sweet and sad; very appropriate. 2) The "population" of Baseball Town, 3,460,280, is the home attendance of last year's season. Also, I think all of the highlights at the end of the video were taken from the first two-three weeks of play.
It's the kind of thing that really only impresses you if you're a fan. By fan, of course, I mean The Rangers are my team. I'm not as bad as some people (I know a few who still get choked up about Game Six) but I do automatically frown whenever someone mentions the Cardinals. I never cared about them before 2011. I still don't care about the Giants, but I despise AT&T Park. By fan I mean that Rusty Greer is one of the best outfielders of all time, in my opinion; it's a shame his career was so short. Hell, I'll even defend Pete Incaviglia. (By which I mean Inky made homeruns more fun than they already are, because he hit them so hard and far. Other than that, Pete was indefensible. Putting him in outfield cost you runs. Letting him hit cost you runs. He made 10 career WAR thanks to a couple of good seasons, but most of the time he was below league average.)
Our experience at the Ballpark was mixed. The game was great, of course; probably Derek Holland's best outing this year. The Ballpark has good sightlines, so you can see the action pretty well from most places in the stadium. But the seats were a lot smaller than I remembered. (Of course, I'm a bit bigger than the last time I was there, as well.) The last time I visited The Ballpark was, I think, 2000.
I had previously been to several games in 1994, including the opening game of the brand new Ballpark in Arlington, and a few more games from 1995-1997. (I had been to Arlington Stadium dozens of times over the years.) The Ballpark has been renovated a couple of times since 1994. The first renovation was done in 2004, if I remember correctly, and finally fixed the horrible sound system that had plagued the Ballpark since opening day (it had been upgraded and repaired, but was never very good). The latest work completely redid the bullpens, batters' eye (Greens Hill) and the plaza above. I'm not a big fan of the changes. One of the biggest problems is that the Ballpark's small bleacher sections are effectively gone now (they had been reduced in size previously); the plaza and bleachers used to be cheap family seats. Outfield seats right above the field are prized possessions now, which has been taken advantage of in the newer ballparks such as Minute Maid and Target. The Rangers are just trying to keep up, I guess. The Ballpark was originally conceived as an homage to the Jewel Box stadiums of the early 20th century, and was largely successful with that aesthetic. Subsequent upgrades have left a much more sterile, commercial feel about the place; and now it's just cramped and impersonal. The biggest problems; however, were that most of the food was gone by the bottom of the 7th inning; especially all of the new premium items that get constant advertising at the stadium and during broadcasts. Also, the under-stadium area, which used to be arranged around wide avenues that were easy to navigate, are now crowded with dozens more more and souvenir shops. While there were hundreds of employees in evidence, all were way to busy and moving too fast to provide assistance or directions. The younger employees were often grouped together around the ramps and would close ranks whenever a stadium-goer started making toward them with any look of purpose. And finally, the parking is abysmal. Considering how much parking is available around the stadium, it was WAY more complex than it should have been, requiring a handful of policemen and stadium employees working lines of barricades at each of the four corners of the Ballpark. And it was $20 to park on top of that.
The Ballpark in Arlington was one of the retro-parks built during the 1990s, and while it was certainly good for the Rangers, I can't help but wonder what we would have got if the team would have had to wait a few more years. The new generation of stadiums are more attractive, more functional, and designed better that the previous generation. I'll have to make a trip to Houston to see if they're more comfortable, too.
Thursday, May 9. 2013 | Comments (0)
A.L. West, May 8th 2013
(sung to the tune of "Raisins" by Barenaked Ladies
Texas in first place.
L.A.'s in a race,
to out-play a last place team.
Oakland might win; though,
they haven't too much dough.
The A's trust in Billy Beane.
I don't want to burst your bubble,
but Seattle still won't win...
Bo Porter: A last place team? That's all you can say?
Eric Wedge: Won't win? Let's talk pitching...
Mike Scioscia: F***
Darvish is an Ace.
He fools with time and space;
He might be an alien.
King Felix mows bats down,
Unless he's feeling down.
Dutch Holland can sympathize.
Eric Wedge: Just Hernandez?
Bob Melvin: Hey!
Bo Porter: Norris!!!
Mike Scioscia: (clears throat)
Iwakima's number two.
The A's have two two's, too...
Bud Norris may be 1.5.
But Weaver's lost his arm,
and Wilson's lost his charm
I think I'll just leave it there.
I don't want to be a bother but
the offense ain't so hot...
Jerry Dipoto: Is that a Hamilton joke?
John Daniels: How's that working out, Jerry?
Jerry Dipoto: Stuff it, Daniels.
John Daniels: Hey, let's talk about financial restraint!
Billy Beane: You rang?
Jerry Dipoto: Stay out of this, Moneyball.
Billy Beane: I can't believe either of you paid for him.
John Daniels: There's a big difference between spending your money wisely and spending your only quarter on whatever's left and getting lucky.
Billy Beane: Beat you, didn't it?
John Daniels: Oh, that's it. You just wait till the trade deadline, buddy boy.
Billy Beane: Yeah, I guess I will. Bring it.
Sunday, May 5. 2013 | Comments (3)
Back from a short trip to Arlington to see the Rangers play (Friday night's game). I'll add more later; the game was great but the overall stadium visit wasn't so hot. Also went to the Dallas Zoo. I have three videos and some pictures from the game and a lot more videos from the Zoo. The videos from the game are on Facebook:
1) Mike Napoli's first at bat back in Texas. He got a tremendous cheer, a lot of people stood up, and you can hear a decent chant of "Na-Po-Lee!" I guess it makes a difference if you talk about how great it was playing for your former team, as opposed to trashing the organization and town that spent five years acting as a "Big Brother" for your broken ass.
2) Leonys Martin gets a hit; Ian Kinsler's walk-up music. The guy in the red Beltre shirt at the end of the video was something else. He ate two two-foot-long hotdogs (which is why we didn't get any later, I'm sure...) and jumped and cheered and danced throughout the game. A security person finally came and asked him to settle down, probably at the request of the people behind him.
3) I had another video and several pictures of the big scoreboard, which was across the field from us. You can't really see anything in any of them, though.
I'm uploading the Dallas Zoo videos to YouTube to see if the quality is any better.
Friday, May 3. 2013 | Comment (1)
UPDATE 4: Both akismet and typepad are turned off, and all comments tagged as spam are set to moderate. Unfortunately, some spam still gets through unmoderated.
UPDATE 3: Digging through my log files, found that my blog directory was showing about 10 million errors, all related to the mobile formatting. This may have something to do with some of the errors described, so mobile formatting is now removed. We'll see what happens.
UPDATE 2: Auto-reject turned back on.
UPDATE: 70+ spam comments since last night. Captchas on, but auto-reject is off.
Been having some problems with the site, including security errors preventing the style sheet from loading to comments (and indeed most back-end stuff) being disabled.
I can't guarantee everything is working now, but I can't find anything else to fix at the moment. Until something happens to generate a new error.
Let me know if you find any problems. The shoutbox in the right column should work if comments don't, or you can email me at midnitetease /at/ hotmail/./com.
Friday, April 26. 2013 | (0)
George Jones was born in 1931 in Saratoga, Texas. He had an immediately identifiable voice, and an unbelievably long career.
If you don't know the J. Reed song, just listen. Same deal with the Barbara Mandrell song:
Thursday, April 25. 2013 | Comments (0)
Yu Darvish strikes out Albert Pujols five times. (Sort of)...
Incidentally, the guy who created this has (allegedly) been given a contract with Fangraphs.
The fundamental problem with Tinkerbell
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: Either you first heard of this recently, or you will hear about it again soon. No joke.
Pictures of abandoned power stations @ i09
Helicopter drone video of Niagara Falls
Top 25 anime character designers
Otaku musician busted for Junior-High sex (and for not looking anything like his artists' renderings)
Christianity in anime. I think there's an aweful lot that can be written about Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But I want to watch the series again with my wife first.
Share and enjoy: Sad Josh Hamilton
Last night the home plate umpire at the Angels/Rangers game took a foul-tip in the worst possible place, which brought up mentions of The Nutty Buddy.
Friday, April 19. 2013 | Comments (4)
I probably should save this for a weekly post, but everyone needs a little bluesy funk every now and then...
Saturday, April 13. 2013 | Comments (0)
This is hard. So bear with me. Those of you that have followed my blog for a while probably know that my sister posted comments here occasionally. Mainly regarding posts about the Texas Rangers; we were both life-long fans along with my Dad. We would txt each other during games, and I know it's going to be another shock when I don't get an expected txt message when Yu Darvish strikes out someone on a nasty pitch or Pierzynski (who seemed to be an emerging favorite of hers) gets a good hit. I didn't listen to the end of the game yesterday, so tonight will be my first attempt to listen to a game without her. The shock is starting to wear off, which means that I'm just starting to ache on the inside. I have received a tremendous amount of love and support, and I'm sharing that with my parents, so thank you all. Very, very much.
Jeff Bezos recovers some rocket engines from the floor of the ocean. We once used those to send men to space.
The last great worldwide sailing expedition.
Rob Delaney explains March Madness. I would watch his version.
View from the top of the great pyramid.
A little-remembered monument used as a prop on a reality television show sparks outrage. (the monument is wreckage of a B-52 in Vietnam. What it represents is a lot more than "there was a war there")
And now from Japan:
Teacher punches thirteen-year-old girl in the face; administration promises discipline (short of firing, arrest, etc.)
Teacher hits pupil fifty-three times for eating sweets, receives 10% pay cut.
Japanese schoolgirls perform superhuman energy attacks (with a camera, and timing)
Zero no Tsukaima (Familiar of Zero) author dies. Noboru Yamaguchi had previously come close to death while struggling with cancer.
And now for something completely different: Girls of the Israeli Defense Force.
Friday, April 12. 2013 | Comments (3)
What the hell happened?
That's how I've been feeling for the past few hours. A little after six, my dad called to tell me that my brother-in-law was taking my sister into the hospital, because she was having trouble breathing. Something about a new food allergy that she had mentioned a couple of days ago.
By the time I got to the hospital, she was gone.
I never could have imagined how hard it was to write that sentence. My sister is five years younger than me; 34. She certainly had her health issues, but this is so far out of left field that I can't make it make sense. And they still aren't sure what actually caused the problem.
Four hours ago my life changed instantly, fundamentally, and I was aware of it.
What the hell happened?
Thursday, April 11. 2013 | Comments (0)
Interesting theory, which I think has a lot of merit...