Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sports: Maddux goes 1-2, 1 hit, 1 sac and 2 RBI

Maddux led the way in a 7-3 win over the Reds. He did a little bit of everything from pitching to hitting to fielding.

On the pitching dimension, he put in 7 strong innings giving up only 2 runs. Of 77 pitches, 54 were strikes.

On the hitting front, he singled in a run in his first at bat to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the sixth, with Betemit at third, Manager Grady Little called for Maddux to put down the squeeze bunt. It was text book, Betemit broke for home as the pitcher delivered and Maddux laid down the bunt toward the first base as the run scored all the Reds could do was go to first for the out. This gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead.

Additionally, we got to see Maddux the Gold Glove fielder in action. On two occasions he initiated double plays by snagging grounders and throwing to second where the DP was then completed at first. In the top of the 7th, the Reds were threatening and Valentin hit a smash to the right of Garciaparra. Nomar managed to get a glove on it to knock it down. All the while, Maddux moved swiftly to first and once Nomar recovered, Nomar underhanded the ball to Maddux and the out was recorded and the Dodgers escaped the inning.

Go Dodgers!

Sports: It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame

"It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame ... " by Jon Weisman
It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame,
for a ballgame, today.
The fans are out to get a ticket or two
From Walla Walla, Washington to Kalamazoo

It's a beautiful day for a home run
But even a triple's okay
We're gonna cheer
And boo
And raise a hallabaloo
At the ballgame, today!
Tonight, I'm off to Dodger's stadium. Bought the tickets many weeks ago. Scheduled to pitch tonight is Greg Maddux.

I've blogged previously when he was with the Cubs and set the Dodgers down and then in his first game as a Dodger.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Travel: this Hobbit has returned

In the background is Vogelsang Lake. We continued on and hiked up to Vogelsang Pass.

By the way, the entire area is above 10,000 feet!

As a city kid, I have never hiked at that altitude before! It was tough but worth it.

It is truly God's beautiful country up there.

One can think of God as an amazing artist and artists enjoy their handiwork and take joy when some people come and take a look and are moved as well.

I would guess on a busy summer day, there might be at most 100 people up here enjoying the view.

I'm thankful that at this point in my life, I still have the physical ability to do this.

What was also amazing to me was how many of the other backpackers I saw were clearly senior citizens! I hope I'm that energetic at that age! They were leaving me behind in a trail of dust. author Phil Hawkins described where I went as "Vogelsang! This is where the angels spend their summers ... "

Monday, August 14, 2006

Travel: Going on Vacation

Am going here!

Will be doing some backpacking ...

Hopefully, won't be looking this wiped out at the end?

Sports: Big bats, little bats

Dear Stat-hound Tin Canners:

Baseball is probably the sport most steeped in stats.

I thought I'd go play with some stats and see what comes up.

Is there a web page that measures how dependent a team is on the home run to win games?

Two of this blog's beloved teams occupy the bottom of the stats in terms of hitting home runs.

I suppose the best measure would be to find out how many RBI result from home runs and then divide that by total runs. The more dependent a team is on HRs the higher the percentage.

But since Yahoo! Sports MLB Stat page doesn't have that option, what can I use?

I suppose I could take total runs divided by home runs?

Thus, the higher the number the less dependent that team is on the home run.

How does that play out?

The White Sox have hit the most home runs with 174 and not surprisingly they have scored the most runs with 658 runs. Therefore, their R/HR ratio is 3.78.

The Royals who have hit the least home runs have an R/HR ratio of 6.28. Interestingly, they are not at the bottom of the list in terms of runs scored in the season.

My Dodgers have hit the second least amount of home runs and their R/HR ratio is 5.85. In terms of total runs, they are in the lower part of the upper half of all teams.

The team with the second most home runs is the Reds. Their R/HR ratio is 3.45! Oddly enough, they have scored only a few more runs than the Dodgers.

Thus, can we say that the Royals and Dodgers play little ball while the White Sox and Reds play long ball?


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sports: La Vida Loca of the Dodgers!

The song is definitely not about baseball. But after tonight's dramatic finish the Dodger fans were going as crazy about Russell Martin as they would for Ricky Martin after the rookie catcher hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th to give the Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Giants.

Who would win a popularity contest among Dodger fans?

Speaking of the crazy life, has Greg Maddux been drinking from the fountain of youth?

8 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 68 pitches, 50 for strikes.

Go Dodgers!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sports: Hope Lives at .352

The Royals have been as lowly as lowly can get for the last couple years, but despite a .352 winning percentage so far in 2006, there is new reason for hope.

Earlier this season, the Royals were criticized not only for playing poorly, but also for playing poorly with old players. At one point, the lineup in spots 2 through 6 averaged 35 years old. The promised youth movement was exposed as a myth.

Then, in June, a new GM was hired out of the Atlanta Braves organization. Dayton Moore, a Wichita native, promised to bring some of the “Braves Way” magic back to Kansas City. I say “back,” because Braves GM John Schuerholz came from the Royals back when there was a Royals Way that didn’t involve losing 100 games.

The Braves Way means stockpiling arms, growing talent from within, and capitalizing on a comparative advantage in scouting and development. It’s not really the antithesis of Moneyball, as Schuerholz contends, but it is back to basics. For the Royals, any systematic approach is an improvement.

Moore has been hard at work adding arms via trades, acquiring prospects such as Tyler Lumsden and former Dodger farmhand Blake Johnson. They added a discontented Odalis Perez, whom Moore knew from his days in the Braves organization, and five or six other pitchers. The only position players of consequence added so far are Ryan Shealy, a big, 26-year-old first baseman who had been sitting on the shelf behind Todd Helton in the Rockies organization, and speedy center fielder Joey Gathright, 25. Moore gave up some pitchers (including former closer Mike MacDougal) to get others back, but the team got younger with each trade.

Then, yesterday, the Royals signed the first pick in this year’s draft, a name familiar to Dodger fans, Luke Hochevar. In his last start, former first-rounder Zack Greinke, 22, continued his return from psychological issues by throwing six shutout innings for AA Wichita. His Wrangler teammates 22-year-old Alex Gordon (last year’s first-round pick) and 20-year-old Billy Butler (from 2004) are minor league player of the year candidates. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Mark Teahen was just named AL Player of the Week, and 26-year-old David DeJesus is one of the best leadoff hitters in the AL.

All of a sudden, youth has returned to the youth movement. The Royals may still lose more than 100 games this year, but hope has returned.

LA Scene: $140 parking tickets

In my monthly budget, I have a line item for parking tickets.

I really try not to get them but over the course of 12 months, I usually wind up getting a few.

Well, the price has gone up on parking tickets on certain congested rush hour streets.

The part of Los Angeles where I live is on a razor's edge to gridlock.

I live a mere 3 miles from work and once it took me almost one hour to get home!

The streets are filled to capacity and all it takes is one or two accidents and the whole area turns into a parking lot.

Sports: Maddux goes 6 innings, 3 BB, 3 K, 0 hits!

Even at age 40 Greg Maddux can still deliver. In his first start with the Dodgers, he no hit the Cincy Reds for six innings!

Fans in LA were really in the dumps after the dreadful stretch after the All-Star break.

The buzz is back!