07 December 2004

Pixies Show, Vote Santo, Nomar Resigns...

"In Heaven"
"Wave of Mutilation"
"I Bleed"
"No. 13 Baby"
"Got Something Against You"
"Where Is My Mind?"
"Head On"
"Head On"
"Nimrod's Son"
"Wave of Mutilation"
"Crackity Jones"
"Mr. Grieves"
"Here Comes Your Man"
"La La Love You"
"Bone Machine"
"River Euphrates"
"Gouge Away"

This past Sunday, I finally got to see one of may all-time favorite rock bands: the Pixies. The Broseph and I travelled by car to Camden, NJ- two-and-a-half hours away. When we arrived at the Tweeter Center, we realized that not only was it a minor miracle we ever found our way there without incident, we were practically in Philadelphia. Camden was a lot farther away than we'd anticipated. Add to that the fact that I had to be in downtown Manhattan the next morning at 9 AM, and it was a little off-putting, though certainly worth it.

The seats, though in the back of the venue, were great. The Tweeter Center is concert-centric- stadium style seating with one of those lawns in the back for summer shows. While this was naturally closed off in 40 degree weather, we had a great view of the stage- the fucking PIXIES!- save for a light in our eyes obscuring Joey Santiago all night (I almost burned my eyes out trying to see him all night!, said the Broseph). We got there late, missing the opening acts, including the Datsuns, a great live band we'd seen open for the White Stripes a couple years ago.

Above is an approximation of the setlist. I may have forgotten a song or two, and the order is likely off a bit, but that's it in a nutshell. They sounded great- the guitars were a little hidden, but they were tight, loud, and playing every song I could have hoped for. In fact, in one three song span ("Gigantic," "River Euphrates," "Caribou"), they played probably my three favorite Pixies songs.

In addition, a lot of the songs that I'd liked- but that had never really stuck out per se- were revelatory, especially "No. 13 Baby" and "Hey." Conversely, even as great a song as "Debaser," done for the encore, can be mediocre at times. I especially enjoyed the band avoiding the tired rock band cliche of leaving the stage under false pretenses only to return for the encore. Instead, the band thanked and waved to fans before re-engaging their instruments for one more.

"David, you have a boo-boo though- are you sure you want to? What if you can't play tomorrow?" Frank Black wondered.

"Fuck it," Lovering laughed, and off they went into their final song.

You'll also note that both "Wave of Mutilation" and "Head On" were listed twice. "Wave" was played slow and acoustic near the start of the show, and inexplicably (but cooly) reread in a big rock version later. It's a terrific song, the Broseph's favorite Pixies tune.

The weird thing was "Head On," their Jesus and Mary Chain cover from Trompe Le Monde. They went through it once, and it sounded great. Between songs though, Black chastised Kim Deal for not playing the song in the right key- she was in "C", the song in "C sharp." He playfully added, "We're not moving on until we play this song right." It was never argumentative or confrontational, but it had a weird tension to it, especially given their history. But hell, I don't know Frank Black, and it's just as likely to be his odd sense of humor as it was a "fight."

Awesome show, and as if getting TO the show un-lost was amazing- getting home with no directions made us Magellan and Vespucci. To paraphrase Mad Dog Russo: "Good job by us, good job by us."


Smokey Joe Wood

The Veteran's Committee votes on a seperate ballot at the same time as the regular Hall of Fame balloting- and this year, some new names have been added to the (seriously flawed) vote. Among them are Sparky Lyle, Jim Kaat, Luis Tiant, and Smokey Joe Wood. Gil Hodges is a big candidate, though I personally wouldn't want him in the Hall. Here are some other notable names getting consideration:

Ron Santo, Hodges, Tony Oliva, Joe Torre, Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Maury Wills, Sparky Lyle, Jim Kaat, Luis Tiant, Smokey Joe Wood, Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso, Joe Gordon
The new guys in bold...

Anyway, there is one guy that simply HAS to be voted in.

Ron Santo.

Santo (career: .277/ .362/ .464/ 342 HR/ 125 OP+/ 5 GG/ Top Ten MVP 4 times) was easily one of the ten best 3B in history, a terrific human being, and arguably the single worst omission on the Hall of Fame's books. If Phil Rizzuto and Tony Perez are in there- how can Santo be left out? Hopefully he makes it.

Other than that, I'd put in Joe Wood and Minnie Minoso. Hodges shouldn't make it, Torre gets in as a manager someday- but not as a player- and Dick Allen was just too short-lived. Kaat and Tiant were great, but for different reasons, shouldn't. If Kaat gets in, it should be after Blyleven- in other words, if, as it appears, Blyleven isn't HoF material according to the voters... than no way Kaat should be in. Tiant was fun to watch, clutch as hell... but not dominant for any measure of time. I still love him, though.

Vote Santo!


Nomar Garciaparra signed a one year deal today with the Cubs worth $8 million. There is also a litany of bonuses tied to performance and plate appearances.

This is a very good signing for both ends- the Cubs get Garciaparra for under market value for another year and Nomar is able to play a full season completely healthy in order to prove his worth and truly cash in next offseason.

I actually think Nomar is going to have a really great, productive season this year, assuming his injury is neither chronic nor degenerative. He'll be in a hitter's park where he's growing comfortable, facing pitchers he will (like in his early AL career) likely figure out quicker than they figure him out. It's also easy to forget that pre-Achilles injury this past year, Nomar was actually a very accomplished fielder. He was a Jose Valentin type- tons of range allowing him to get to many, many ground balls, and thus raising his error total. He had a strong arm, though not always very accurate. He was fairly poor at turning the double play, but when healthy- Nomar was a plus defensively.

Even though as a person, he's always kind of weirded me out and made me uncomfortable ("thanks, beautiful")- he was the player that drew me back to baseball/ the Sox after the strike in 94. I find it pretty difficult to root against him (despite what Dirt Dogs tells me "the Nation" thinks). He was a good guy, played hard every day, and clearly loved the game. Don't believe everything you read.

What this does for the market is tough to say- it takes some leverage from Renteria and Cabrera, losing one team that very much needed a SS. That being said, the low price of 8 million shouldn't bear out on Cabrera and Renteria, given the circumstances.

In other MLB SS news, Larkin officially parts ways with the Reds after 19 years. I hope the Sox don't look to him as a one-year stopgap before the coming of Hanley... even though he's most certainly a HoFer.


Speaking of Boston Dirt Dogs/ Steve Silva, I'm officially sick of him and the routine. Between a borderline racist condemnation of Omar Minaya (offered, as usual, completely baselessly), his incessantly insulting treatment of Pedro (with Varitek's free-passes), his bizarre obsession (even weeks post-trade) with Nomar, his boorish behavior to nay-sayers, and his insistence on presenting his site as being representative of "the Nation," I can't even read his work any longer. I'll get the breaking news from other venues, thanks. Like an online Ben Affleck, he's decided to forego any sort of vote and simply speak for "us." Unfortunately, he's doing an awful job.

The cliched, whiney garbage after every loss, the lame photoshops with doom-and-gloom and logic-free proclamations give Sox fans (or, "the Nation") a bad name, and speak for very nearly none of the hardcore fanbase. No loyal Sox fan would have gone on the white-whale-like witch hunt BDD.com did on Nomar.

He does, in fact, have a lot of "scoops." Fine. He is deserving of the praise and attention that comes with it, though he DID get a super big one wrong, and still admits it "technically wasn't wrong."

So as a result of these very interesting "scoops" (Bellhorn is signing in Boston, right? Right?!), and because of publicity from Schilling/ Gammons, he gets a lot of traffic. Ridiculously though, he then extrapolates backwards and cherrypicks the reasoning- it's the obnoxious rhetoric, he'll say. Please.

The site COULD be a godsend- a wonderful place for Sox fans to go for "inside" info, breaking news, and some great interesting game photos. Instead, we get ridiculous right-wing political rhetoric, infantile photoshops, bullying treatment for nay-sayers in public forums, and hateful overtones towards many players on the team he covers. Also, he sold out to Boston.com.

So Dirt Dog, we get it. Nomar is a liar. Pedro is a diva. Francona's name shoulda been "Francoma" (har-har). The MLB World Series DVD "sucks." Bonds* is the devil incarnate. You support your troops. Congratulations. You have an opinion.

But it's yours. Not "ours."

ps... the song parodies are fucking retarded. Weird Al ain't callin'...


Oh, officer, my belt is unbuckled? Umm, I was just getting comfortable.


Finally, it appears the Red Sox have offered arbitration to the following players:

Pedro Martinez, RHP
Jason Varitek, C
Derek Lowe, RHP
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Pokey Reese, SS
Dave McCarty, 1B
Mike Myers, LHRP
Pedro Astacio, RHRP
Gabe Kapler, OF

This means that even if the top-tier free agents sign elsewhere, the Red Sox will receive compensation draft picks. Save for maybe Mike Myers, Reese and even Astacio, none of these players will likely accept. The following free agents were not offered arbitration, and would not have garnered the Sox a draft pick:

Terry Adams
Ellis Burks
Ricky Gutierrez
Curtis Leskanic
Ramiro Mendoza
Scott Williamson

This more or less ends their days as Red Sox, as they cannot negotiate with Boston again until May 1. I'll miss Curtis "Don't Panic, It's" Leskanic (aka "The Mechanic"). I will not miss Mendoza. Ellis Burks is retiring.

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