22 April 2005

BOS 1, BAL 0

WP- Matt Clement (2-0)
LP- Rodrigo Lopez (2-1)
SV- Keith Foulke (3)

Great game. Not exciting from an offensive perspective- the strike zone from Tim Welke last night was so wide, so low, and so erratic, it made it close to impossible for rallies to mount, especially with two really good starting pitchers on the mound. All we got offensively was an RBI groundout from Ramon Vazquez- an unearned run for Rodrigo Lopez. So the question becomes- in that real nice 2-game sweep in Baltimore, in which the Orioles didn't score a single run- what was the better pitching performance, Wells or Clement?

Well, stuff-wise, it was probably Wells. He was a mortal lock the entire game. Clement, as great as he looked, battled a little here and there, if only in comparison to Wells. That being said, I'd pick Clement's mostly because he was, the entire game, protecting a one-run lead, something Buster Olney told us all winter he didn't think Clement had the cojones to do. Buster took a class in amateur psychology I think, and deduced that he couldn't hack it in a big city... other than Chicago.

Blah blah blah... anyway, exciting. Jim Palmer seemed pretty convinced that Rafael Palmeiro was out on that relay throw from Nixon to Millar to Varitek, but it wasn't so clear cut from what I could see, with the various camera angles they had available. Plus, you gotta figure Welke had the best view. In any event, I'll take it, especially considering the 3+ strikeouts looking that were absolutely ridiculous (I'm thinking specifically of two- Ortiz and Bellhorn, both strike threes WAY low and outside).

Really impressive shutting down a team like this in their park after they've been gangbusters all season. We slowed down Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada and crept into first place, all alone, in the process. No runs in the entire series for the O's. Nice work.

Anyway, Matt had some help from the strike zone, but he was pounding the (real) strike zone early, getting ahead all night, and I noticed two other things-
a) MUCH improved velocity, which is good to see, given how worrisome the early season drop was
b) less reliance on the slider as an "out" pitch, which I'm guessing was in the interest of improving his control. Of course, he may also not have had a good feel for the pitch last night.

Nicey nice game. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

For some reason, I've always been really fascinated not just with American history, but with American Presidential history- that is, recounting of the Presidencies of some of the more interesting figures- Kennedy, Roosevelt, Jackson, Nixon, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Lincoln. In that vein (and I have no idea what spurned it), I've decided to make this summer a "Get all the Presidential Biographies I've Ever Wanted to Read Out of the Way." I started by reading David McCullough's Truman, a titanic 1,000 page bio where the index/ bibliography is 125 pages long. Here are the biographies I plan on knocking out in the near future (if possible):

  • Andrew Jackson
    The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V Remini

  • Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson by R.B. Burnstein

  • James K Polk
    James K Polk: 1845-1849 by John Seigenthaler and Arthur M Schlesinger

  • Abraham Lincoln
    Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
    Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years by Carl Sandburg

  • Theodore Roosevelt
    The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
    Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
    Thoedore Roosevelt: A Life by Nathan Morris

  • Woodrow Wilson
    Woodrow Wilson: Profiles in Power by J.A. Thompson

  • Lyndon Baines Johnson
    Master of Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A Caro

  • Since I've already read a ton about Kennedy and FDR, I figured I could live without another run through those tales, interesting though they may be. A couple points too, of course- the Caro books on LBJ are supposed to be fantastic- he has three thus far, detailing his life up until the Presidency. I'm not real sure when the next one is to come out, but inasmuch as I don't want to waste my time when there is a clear "best" (Caro is incredible), I can live with waiting and living with the equally interesting Senate years. That book on the years of his Presidency is going to be amazing.

    I'm really most excited about reading the Theodore Roosevelt books. I know all the basic stuff about him, but I'm looking forward to really getting to know all these specific things about him and his time in office in detail. I probably won't read all the books listed, but the multiples under one guy are more in the interest of giving me something to pick from, I guess. I fully plan on reading two Lincoln books though- one of the ones listed (probably Lincoln by DHD) and The Day Lincoln Was Shot by Jim Bishop.

    The other night too, I was thinking about who I would rank as the 10 Greatest Presidents in US History. The best list I could muster was...

    1. Abraham Lincoln

    2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    3. George Washington

    4. Harry S Truman

    5. Theodore Roosevelt

    6. Thomas Jefferson

    7. Andrew Jackson

    8. James Madison

    9. Woodrow Wilson

    10. James K Polk

    No explanations. Just fun speculation. Here are some links on Presidential rankings:
  • OpinionJournal (Wall Street Journal) Pres. Rankings

  • CSpan; Broken Down by Criteria

  • Siena Research Institute

  • A Look at Presidential Job Approval Ratings

  • But for now, I should probably focus on getting through Truman which, thus far, is really incredibly good.

    I'm going to sexually molest your dog as if it was an apple pie!

    For whatever it's worth, I saw Natasha Lyonne walking around NYC once, and this is not at all surprising. She is most definitely batshit insane.

    Also, one more thing- durrrrrr. Updated, post death!

    A prestigious award!

    So Sheffield gets not even a token fine from former-Yankee employee Bob Watson for hitting a fan, but because some umpire decided to try to read lips and threw out Ron Jackson for literally nothing, and he argued it, Jackson gets a one game suspension?! You wanna talk about fucked up priorities...

    UPDATE, 1:10 PM
    Apparently, Peter Gammons agrees with me...

    Let me get this right: Gary Sheffield reached into the stands and wasn't disciplined, but Ron Jackson was suspended because umpire Greg Gibson thought he could read his lips. Good. Gibson is the one who should be suspended for incompetence and a loss of control that set off the crowd and led to the Sheffield incident. What a joke.

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