Friday, March 28, 2014
i dunno. there's like this gateway to my heart and soul. few are those who walk that path, and little is that which sinks into my core... but when the doors open, my entire being embraces them.
i heard bruno mars song "locked out of heaven," today and thought about the first time i heard it and how i was stressing the ending of the Sharks season last year and worried about the playoffs. and it hit me. i was the girl totally immersed in baseball. what was happening to me with regard to this thing known as hockey?
and i realized. baseball is ...oh my god, i love it. but...hockey is heaven. it is. and all these years of loving baseball have been groovy...but hockey...oh my...there was something so much deeper in me that just loved it even more.
and i...i had been locked out of heaven...for too long.
like being in love. you wake up and the one you love is the first one on your mind. all day long you think of your moments together...you obsess over them...one thought after another. and people around you can see how fulfilled you are because of this...
and...i had truly fallen deeply in love with hockey.
this year, it's my all. every single Sharks game, i have seen. every single morning when i woke up, i smiled and wondered about them...and i missed seeing them and couldn't wait to see them again...
and anyone who did them wrong, i wanted to see suffer.
and in my heart, i know the end is coming. i know, even if they were to win it all, the season will end. but that's not right now.
and i am enjoying laying my heart and hopes on the line for these boys i have spent the last couple of years with...hands over eyes, jumping off the couch in screams of joy...calling friends and talking hockey...seeing a sea of Sharks fans last night...draped in their jerseys...coming to see the boys i love...the team i love...the team that thrills me..
and sometimes i wonder if its normal to feel this much passion about a game...a team...
but you know, ive been fairly abnormal most of my life, and damnit, i can love what i want to love.
and tomorrow i will wake up and check the standings. and i will be on my knees praying. and i will be amazed when they do something phenomenal...eyes wide open, smiling, laughing. i will drink from this cup of love deeply...
for...just like the passion we share with the one we love...none of it seems to make sense at the time...but the joy...the moments...the fulfillment...the pure bliss...it's why you put everything in it.
me? hockey? consider me all in.
Thursday, August 01, 2013
"I'm not going to name names," Conte said, "but I've talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they're doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball."
Conte's comments, of course, stem from this present Biogenesis scandal -- Needless to say, MLB disagrees with Conte's estimates.
"There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that," MLB vice president Rob Manfred said. "He's just making that up. It's a guess. We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.''
Let’s put these numbers into perspective. There are probably 1,000 baseball players. The contract that Major League Baseball has says that they can test up to 375 players a year during the off-season. That would be 37.5% of 1,000 players, right?
If you look at the actual numbers that they tested in 2008, 2009 and 2010, it’s about an average of 60 players. So if you’ve got the right and the ability, and you’re serious about drug testing and reducing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, why would you not test 37.5% of the players? Why are you only testing 6%?
Conte said that testosterone has become the PED of choice, as designer or stealth steroids are now detectable and have fallen out of use.
"(The players have gone) old-school, (and have gone) back (to using) fast-acting testosterone, like your body produces. The only way to (detect synthetic testosterone) is using this CIR testing, for $400 bucks a pop. And they’re (just routine urine testing) these guys, on the average in baseball, twice a year. Here’s what my understanding is: They test in Spring Training, then shortly after training camp, early in May.
Damn! These high-profile players get tested again, and in most cases, what does that mean? Green light, open season, “I’ve had both tests!”
Conte affirms the only way of truly nabbing a doper is to bypass the simple urine test, and target samples with Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry analysis test instead. The Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry analysis (CIR test) will only take place if a specimen varies substantially from a player's baseline testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. The CIR test actually confirms what percent of elevated testosterone is actually synthetic.
"They need to implement the Carbon Isotope Ratio test for testosterone randomly," Conte said. "Currently a player can go home or to the hotel after a game, use a testosterone cream, gel or patch, and it will be undetectable by the time he goes to the ballpark the next day. The CIR test can detect it for up to two weeks.
"I think these guys are using testosterone every single day of the week."
Conte knows Biogenesis relied heavily upon the sale and distribution of "Troches."
"Troches are like Life Savers, and they have 30 different flavors. You want raspberry, you want bubblegum, you want cinnamon...typically these have 75 milligrams of testosterone, and somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of it gets absorbed. It’s my understanding that the guys were popping a couple of these per day. And what that means is, say you absorb on average 10 percent, well that’s a total of 150 milligrams (total), so you would absorb about 15 milligrams per day. A healthy male produces about eight milligrams per day, so you can double and even triple your testosterone level."
"But it’s the timing. . .When you take this stuff, it peaks at about four hours, and by six hours after you take it, you’re back down below the (allowable) 4-to-1 T-E ratio. So all they gotta do is, after a game, even if they finish at 10 o’clock, they take it, and by the time they wake up they already have a normal T-E ratio."
The CIR test costs about $450, roughly the same as the blood test for HGH.
"The blood test is a waste because HGH doesn't enhance performance nearly as much as testosterone," Conte said. "Take the same $400 and do CIR testing. Why spend money on HGH when testosterone is the real problem? They are plugging the wrong hole."
"The players know that the testing is inept. You have to be dumber than dumb to get caught (by test) using testosterone."
"The second problem, and probably even a bigger loophole, is off-season testing. They can test up to 375 players, or about 30 percent of MLB, and they only test about 5o players, or less than 5 percent. If you’ve got a genuine interest in busting people, you put your hook and line in the pond when you know the fish are biting. They’re not doing that. So a lot of this, I believe, is propaganda. They’re out there promoting, “We’re doing this and we’re doing that, the toughest testing in American sports,” but I believe it’s all a joke."
"If they’re going to give you that (loophole), and you know other guys are doing (steroids), you calculate the risk-to-return. What (punishment) are you going to get, 50 games? The incentive is too great and the consequences too minimal."
"What’s the biggest lie of all? It’s Bud Selig saying, 'The steroid era is over.'”
Major League Baseball and Bud Selig may be attempting to make a statement over this whole Biogenesis scandal -- targeting players like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, specifically; in addition to Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, and Jhonny Peralta.
But the statement that they are making isn't exactly how much they are "cleaning up," the Game; Rather, the statement is how completely inept MLB PED testing is. And how, without the help from outside sources like Victor Conte or Anthony Bosch, we may have never known that PED use is happy and healthy in Major League Baseball.
For, this assault upon the Game wasn't due to a series of failed tests. It was due to criminals coming forward and leaking the truth to the Press. What truth? That our Commissioner and MLB's stellar testing is a facade, which not only turns a blind eye to PED use within the Game, but refuses to address it's rampant proliferation. Hell, had Porter Fischer never come forward, we would only be left with a season of baseball -- one where 20+ alleged PED users prevailed, and one where 20+ MLB PED tests never detected one damned thing...
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Alex Rodriguez could face suspension for violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement rules in addition to MLB's Joint Drug Agreement.
While use of PED's falls under the MLB's Joint Drug Agreement, MLB may argue other alleged violations are also applicable toward A-Rod under the CBA Basic Agreement's Article XII B, which states: “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.”
The real question isn't whether or not Selig will attempt to invoke this clause, it's what the reaction of the Major League Baseball Players' Association will be. Remember, A-Rod has never been disciplined for a drug offense, and a first offender under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement is entitled to an automatic stay if the MLBPA files a grievance — meaning the penalty is put on hold until after an arbitrator rules.
Example: Ryan Braun’s 65-game suspension last week, MLB cited violations of both the Collective Bargaining Agreement AND the Joint Drug Agreement. As well, there is no automatic stay for violations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If suspended under the CBA Basic Agreement, A-Rod would serve his penalty while a grievance is litigated before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz — unless MLBPA asks for a stay and the arbitrator grants one, which would be unusual under the grievance procedure. And Selig could always try to punish A-Rod on Joint Drug Agreement violations later.
If Selig pulls this shit, MLB will lose their Anti-Trust exemption. Where is DUE PROCESS in all of this? HOW legal would it be for SELIG to be JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER? If Selig thinks A-Rod is just going to confess his "mistakes," (using Braun's words), or just walk away quietly, then he is sadly mistaken.
I could easily see A-Rod dragging them ALL into court. He could open up a can of PED worms — who in MLB knew WHAT and WHEN — and not even Selig could survive the wrath of such a whistle-blowing tsunami.
The amazing thing in all of this is this: it's BUD SELIG. The King Usher of Steroids, who is now attempting to castigate players for doing the VERY THING which lined his (and his cohort lackey TEAM OWNER friend's) pockets with MILLIONS of dollars for YEARS. "Coming down hard," on specific players is Selig's way of deflecting attention away from the storm he created, and making it appear as though HE, ALONE is "Cleaning up the Game."
I truly hope one thing: that A-Rod blows this wide open. If he knows he isn't going into the Hall of Fame, if his entire future is at stake, if he knows he may be banned for life, etc, etc, then do THIS A-Rod: SUE THEM. Whether you doped or not, SUE THEM! IN FEDERAL COURT. Let the names come out. Let those who have committed acts that are "materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the BEST INTERESTS OF BASEBALL," be on the receiving end of this judgement, starting with BUD SELIG.
BUD SELIG who knew damned good and well what was going on waaay back when Sosa and McGuire were making a mockery out of the home run record, who was sitting back and allowing Barry Bonds to destroy the credibility of the Game. Let the calculated destruction by the Commissioner on the Game, itself, be examined. For, if Selig can suspend A-Rod under a random clause of the CBA, and the MLBPA doesn’t care -- then when the next CBA is up for negotiation, what’s to stop SELIG (or WHOMEVER) from banning whomever they want? Or, maybe SELIG and MLB WANT to be examined by Congress and sued into oblivion by the A-Rod. Maybe baseball WANTS another strike. Maybe the Constitutional Rights of Due Process don't belong in baseball. Or maybe it's time the world finds out just how HIGH, DEEP, FAR AND WIDE this little issue of CORRUPTION, INJUSTICE, GREED, and PED use truly IS within the Game.
It is the MLBPA's job, first and foremost, to represent the players' interests. This would include fighting for A-Rod's RIGHTS under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. If the MLBPA does NOT fight against SELIG's UNILATERAL suspension, then A-Rod should SUE. Either with the NLRB or FEDS. The damages which the MLBPA could be liable for could run into the GAZILLIONS.
For America's Pasttime, the Commissioner has single-handedly led the assault upon the very bedrock from which America was built.
"No person shall be held to answer for a(n) ... infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury... nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."
Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution (1789)
March 4, 1789
Friday, June 08, 2012
"I hate losing more than I love winning."
saw Moneyball again the other night. didn't really think much of it would permeate my mind any more than it had been permeated the first time i watched it. i was wrong. somewhere around monday i awoke with these exact words repeating in my mind. wondering where this concept entered, i went on the balcony with my coffee and recalled the scene from the movie and felt content to have an origin.
minutes later, i found my thoughts returning to these words. and then i realized where my mind was taking me. that damned game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. that final loss by my new found favorite hockey team: the New Jersey Devils.
i mean, the first loss in overtime was like a MAFIA HIT. took me completely off guard and made both my jaw and my heart drop.
the second loss. ah hell. it was deja vu all over again. in OVERTIME, YOU FOOLS?? but yes. another loss in overtime. i literally got chills the moment Los Angeles sunk that puck.
hope diminished rapidly that night. and the dark cloud was still lingering some time sunday night, before i awoke with these words filling my mind.
and i wondered. defeat. loss. wasn't i from the mold that screamed from the rooftops that defeat is never a possibility until it becomes a reality? why should i let stats and probability enter my thoughts? after all, what about the Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Colorado Rockies factor?
and then it hit me. the Rockies woke up and realized they were in the world series one day. they realized they were in Fenway. they realized they were on the top rung of the ladder and to fall was going to hurt...
"We lost because we told ourselves we lost." ~Tolstoy
i spent a good portion of the day comparing the two. the emotional impact...the dynamics that precipitate each...every possible way of Rubic's Cubing the matter of winning and losing was engaged in my mind...forward, backward, sideways, intellectual, emotional, spiritual...
and i thought about Bruce Lee's quotes, i thought about Sun Tzu's strategic, yet common sense approach...i thought of examples and memories and i grew exhausted.
finally, by monday evening, when the New Jersey Devils went out on the ice to get the snot beat out of them, i had already come to a place where i could accept watching this team who i have enjoyed watching a full two months now, fall to the only other team i had enjoyed watching a full two months. i could smile and be happy for their achievements and get back to baseball.
i was wrong. the concept of winning and losing has become a continual muse of successive thoughts as those damned Devils opted to return in game 4 and win the bastard.
do i hate losing more than i love to win? i mean, what kind of a person would that make me? ungrateful? entitled? everyone loses, it's part of the game, right? and if you can't take your lumps and stand tall, then don't godamned play, right? who the hell would HATE losing MORE than they love to WIN? isn't WINNING all that matters?
and what i realized was...oddly...this quote...it was uttered by Jimmy Conners, originally; not Billy Beane.
and, having discovered that from Googling it, i discovered another quote; from Billie Jean King, of all people. she said, "Victory is fleeting, losing is forever."
and that's when i discovered the truth. yes, winning feels great. but it's always temporary. the moment you win the game, it's over. and yes, you may be the winner today, but tomorrow always comes. and there will always be another tomorrow after that and someone other than you will have the opportunity to take your place and make their mark.
but still. maybe somewhere there might be a plaque or a statue of what you've done that will stand through time, right?
sure. but let's look at the opposite. games 4, 5, 6, 7 of the 2004 ALCS, for instance. the year the Red Sox marched right in to Yankee stadium, having been 0-3, they had to return for 4 nights in a DO OR DIE scenario. when i think about the guts it takes to show up, knowing one inning, one play, one wrong pitch could be your instant end...and to do this FOUR TIMES...knowing any moment, the very reasons you TRY could amount to nothing but loss...
i dunno. what does it take to reach deep inside the human will and force the matter? to toe up to the line and refuse to go quietly? is it something in a person or does it have to be in the whole team? do you have to have more than a "nothing left to lose," mentality when the pendulum swing in the direction of fate opening a door to you possibly WINNING, after all??
i think of David Freese in the 2011 world series, game 6. 1 strike away from watching the very team he was opposing slap each other in exhilaration and jubilance, seizing their trophy in YOUR STADIUM...knowing the whole time you were the final out...
what does it take to step into that batters box and not only try...but believe by trying you might actually WIN?
and what i realize is...i DO love winning, but LOSING is something that brings with it a plethora of emotion that seems to remain for a VERY LONG TIME. forever, really.
and what i realize is...losing will happen to half the guys on any given day in any given sport during any given game.
and what i realize is...life is a series of wins and losses. it's not so much about fearing failure as much as it is accepting defeat, but using that wisdom gained from defeat to stand firm when faced with it...and to try.
go out in a blaze of glory, whoever you are. you have nothing to lose but the conviction that, by trying, you might win...
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
if you’ve been a fan of sports long enough, you know that feeling you sometimes get just before an important series. that reality that churns in your gut...reaching all the way down to the center of your being. it almost seems like insight...like clairvoyance...it can manifest itself as anxiety, other times, it feels like peace. it’s almost a tingly kind of feeling that permeates your brain and brings with it moments of confusion and resolution, as well as confidence and panic. and...because the first game hasn't even been played yet, you’re not entirely sure what to make of it, as you wait.
skip ahead, the final moment of said important series comes and goes and, instantly you find yourself saying to yourself “i saw that coming! i knew it, all along.” welp, i have that feeling right now. i don't know how, or when, what, who, or why...but i know. the Stanley Cup will be won by the New Jersey Devils. believe what you want. hope and cheer, wish and bargain with God...the Cup is theirs. and that's that. i could be wrong, but, my life experiences have taught me to never discount or resign that gut feeling. and that's all i gots to says about thats.
*UPDATE...yeah. they didn't win. there's alot i could say about 5-minute major penalties in elimination games and drop some names like Jarret Stoll and Gionta...Bernier and Scuderi. but i won't. an evil little team from the Los Angeles area was handed the Cup and the Devils have struggled ever since. nonetheless, i still recall much joy from this post-season. until Game 6 that is. life goes on...and gut feelings can sometimes be misleading. either way...GOD BLESS HOCKEY. :)
Friday, April 27, 2012
As I took a few more steps, I wondered why I would ask this question to myself.
Perhaps having seen the last few minutes of Moneyball right when I woke up...perhaps pondering Billy Beane and sabermetrics and being passionate about baseball...and it being 6 o'clock in the morning had influenced me internally. I figured I'd go with it. I figured I'd check later and see how close I was to being right. Therefore, my answer to myself was straight and simple, "Derek Jeter."
And here we are. nearly 6 hours later and I have finally taken a moment or two to reflect upon this morning's muse. Having dealt with more pressing work-related matters, I opted to take a moment or two to crunch some stats and see if, indeed, I was right.
Now, inasmuch as we've got Matt Kemp leading the league with his batting average at .449, and David Ortiz in second place (with stats of which I refuse to waste time considering), I discovered Jeter in third for the league with a .420 average. This all being the case, one might wonder how I can emphatically conclude Derek Jeter to be the most valuable player in the league today...
Allow me to retort. First off, Ortiz (and whatever he has accomplished) is a DH. This means he contributes ZERO to defense, he rests between at-bats, and basically would be considered an asset at-bat. However, if pitched around, his only value becomes a non-consideration and therefore amounts to not much. Judging by the last few consecutive months of Red Sox baseball, I'd say his contribution is moot at best.
Now we skip ahead to the two main contributors of defense, as well as hitting. Inasmuch as Kemp is batting .449 with 31 hits in 19 games, 4 2B, 10HR, 23 RBI, 10BB, and 1 stolen base...Jeter, in 18 games has MORE HITS (34), MORE DOUBLES (6), and has as many stolen bases as Kemp.
What about RBI and HOMERS, you ask? Well, yes. Jeter does have LESS RBI than Kemp, (13), that is 10 less RBI. However, Kemp, for all of 2012 thus far, has bat THIRD in each game with his evil Dodgers. Jeter, conversely, never bats third, and is generally in a lead-off batting order which means there generally aren't men on base to bat in. For Jeter to be a mere 10 RBI behind Kemp is quite impressive, given that disadvantage.
Let's also talk about the value of each players defense. Inasmuch as I love a good outfielder, I would say a MULTI GOLD GLOVE WINNING SHORTSTOP is far more crucial with regard to executing a double play or a laid-down bunt...simply put: there aren't too many good defenders at Short, who can also BAT. Nothing against outfielders, but, it's not unusual for "those who can hit," to be placed way out in the field cause perhaps "they can't field." (jus sayin.) It is a known fact that most Shortstops don't hit for power. Again, in my opinion, to have a player at Short who is a career .314 batter, that's quite impressive.
That is, Matt Kemp, 27 years old, on his 7th season in the majors, with a career .297 batting average, is indeed NOT AS VALUABLE AS Derek Jeter, 38 years old, on his 18th season of major league baseball, with a career .314 batting average, who is presently batting .420 for 2012 and engaged in a 15-game hitting streak. Sue me if you disagree...but these are my reasons, my facts, and my musings. And I'm right.
"How can you not be passionate about baseball...?" ~Billy Beane
Sunday, February 26, 2012
By May 7th, I was fairly certain I had arrived at a conclusion:
It is better to wait without baseball, than to have baseball and continue to
Something about one day turning into another day, turning into a week, turning into a month, didn't seem as evil and depressing and annoying and perplexing, as when one has nothing but days and weeks and months without baseball. However, days and weeks and months of continual loss is just pure unadulterated shite and one must ask themselves, "Why am I allowing myself to be a victim of this stupid game when I could spend a nice day in the park on the swings, kicking over sand castles and throwing sticks at nearby joggers?"
On May 7th, I was already aware of the Pythagorean projection for the 2009 New York Yankees; Slated to win 95 games, slated to lose the Division despite having acquired Teixeira, Burnett, and Sabathia. Slated for, at most 3rd place, within the American League East, behind the evil Boston Red Sox and equally annoying Tampon Bay Rays.
By May 7th, after having lost 5 games (out of 5 games) to the evil Red Sox...and after having lost a myriad of other games to the evil Tampon Bay Rays, Toronto, Baltimore...ah hell, you name the team, we were losing to them...rolling over and handing them wins.
In fact, by May 7th, we had a total of 13 wins. Uh huh. 13 whole wins...and 15 big fat losses...
AND...we had just accomplished another rare milestone for most baseball teams*: we had just completed yet another losing streak: this time of 5 straight games...(and, as irony would dictate with all the "5's," involved)...yes...we were 5.5 games back for the division.
(* except for the Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Mets, and all them other sucky teams.)
The season had just begun. And we couldn't hit, we couldn't field, we couldn't pitch, we couldn't run...but DAMN! did we did have that whole WALKING THE BASES LOADED and STRIKING OUT WITH MEN ON BASE thing down pat.
I remember that morning of May 7th...
I sat down...and there on the tv...an interview with Jeter...the Captain...
after yet another Yankees / Red Sox loss.
And there he is...answering the usual non-applicable questions encountered by interviewers after losses...asked by some nameless / faceless person who generally has no concept as to what the game of baseball involves...but relishes the idea that they are talking with the LOSER who MAY OR MAY NOT just break into tears and beg for a hug...
as if we're the Mets or something...
but the question...
I'll never forget it. A clearly fatigued (and seemingly annoyed NON-CRYING) Jeter, was enduring question after question about Boston's dominance and what the hell is wrong with the Yankees and so on and so forth, was asked: "Do you have any concerns for this 2009 Yankees Team?"
(Which I thought was a repetitious question and just filler for detaining Jeter just a little bit longer for possible post-interview huggage...)
And then he turned his head, looked straight into the camera and uttered a single word: "Nope."
His lips pursed, his gaze still straight at the camera...a cold silence filled the room...and those eternal 5 seconds of Jeter looking straight into the camera...at the viewer...at ME, basically...that determination...that confidence...
I walked out onto the balcony and thought to myself: he's delusional.
And then the questions rolled into my head: "How can he be so emphatic? Why did he say he has no concerns? Did he just want to end the stupid interview? No concerns? Is it the money? Does he have no concerns cause he just doesn't care?"
But then the answers rolled in. "He cares. He's a professional. He knows how to play the game. They all know how to play the game. Something is missing that I haven't seen yet, but he knows this 2009 Yankees team has what it takes and will do what they need to do. He knows something. And, if HE has no concerns, and he REALLY CLEARLY DOES NOT, then I will have no concerns, either. I will wait. I will wait and see if I can discover what he knows about this team.... I will wait, and I will see..."
By May 23rd, 2009, the Yankees were able to amass a 9 game winning streak and come within 1 game of the Division.
Ah, yes...throughout the 2009 season, the Yankees had a losing record to teams like the evil PHILLIES...and almost got swept by both the CLUELESS FLORIDA MARLINS and the equally inept WASHINGTON NATIONALS...
They lost 9 to the evil Red Sox...and the world of Yankee fans were beginning to believe the end of the world was at hand...sackcloth and ashes were going up in stock on Wall Street...
but then the 2009 Yankees TOOK the evil Red Sox for 9.
And...in the end, that whole projection of 95 wins was somewhat misconfigured, as the New York Yankees finished the regular season with 103 wins...went on to the World Series, and went on to become World Champions.
And, after the end of the 2009 season, I came to a "Derek Jeter Emphatic Delusional," conclusion: "Tis better to have played and lost...Than to have never played at all."