Daily Archives: January 28, 2007

January 28, 2007

The Southside Got Brandon Phillips??

Good thing I wasn't paying closer attention to the scheduled attendees to the south leg of the Reds Caravan, or else I might have gone into the event a tad more enraged.

All the love in the world to Todd Coffey, but they got Homer Bailey AND Brandon Phillips!

There is no justice in this world.

See what Shawn has to say about it here, here, and here.

January 28, 2007

Tales of dysmal Bowling and Some Lessons Learned (BRM)

I feel like Karma bit me in the ass recently, and seeing how things are so dead around here I thought I'd share my tribulations on the bowling lanes as sort of an object lesson about the nature of competitive streakiness, at least from my perspective.

First off, I despise losing which is probably why I always idolized Pete Rose despite his personality flaws. I can recall in little league pulling a knife on a kid because he was hurting the team at third base. I think I was 11 or 12 at the time. I broke down and cried when I made the last out in an all-star game and my dad, horribly embarrassed, had to pretty much drag me away. In a college softball game I completely lost it and started swearing constantly at the opposition until the game degenerated into a mediocre brawl. The things that came out of my mouth shocked me more than it did them, I am guessing.

So now I find myself pretty much in the same boat after having a again degenerated into diabolical cussing against my foes. I was convinced they sandbagged their averages in the first half of the season in order to set themselves up for this the second half. This is a handicapped league, so you add points to your final score, depending on your current average. My team won the first half, but we have been struggling mightily ever since then.

Well, basically what happened is I went from being “in the zone” to being in the “anti-zone”. Where I could do no wrong I now could do nothing right. What seemed easy and effortless was now a mind-boggling perplexing situation that had become a psychological issue, though it probably started as a purely physical one.

So what I am getting at here, is that I think I understand better how it is for a player to suddenly lose it or to go from hot to cold back to hot and back to cold again. It sort of defies logic and can really drive you mad. Clearly what the Reds did last year, especially the fatalistic conclusion, was a puzzling type of curse that we all witnessed and began assigning blame to guys like Narron, Dunn, LaRue, Weathers, Franklin etc. That's what fans typically do: we scapegoat players for the shortcomings of our team. And the manager typically defends his guys, perhaps understanding the idiosyncracies of streakiness better than us common folk do. He knows his guys will just get more psychologically entangled if blame is assigned and ill-will is harbored for a critical miscue.

Every game is a new game and every day is a new day yet the energy all too often carries over from one segment of time to the next one.
How do you break the curse? Do you sacrifice a chicken? Do you break up your routine? Do you practice more often, until your fingers are bleeding? Do you refuse to believe it is anything more than just random bad luck and perservere with your identical routine? Those are the questions that all competitors must face when things go bad, and ultimately it is all of those things and none of those things that matter. It is what it is. I call it negative energy, and no matter how much I rage, cuss, or beat myself up it won't help. Sometimes stopping to care altogether helps, but that might be a short term solution.

I am still exploring this phenomena and I am quitting my bowling leagues because I've pretty much made a complete ass out of myself despite both my teams winning the first half. I have lost the joy and I am looking forward to baseball and watching other people deal with the agony of defeat and the thrill of the win. I need a beak.

But one thing I do pledge and one lesson I have learned: I am going to ease up on my criticism. Things always look easy from the outside. These guys are in the major leagues for a reason: they paid their dues and proved themselves worthy of a shot. Some of them will get sent down and the roster will shuffle into place, but yesterday's hero can easily be tomorrow's goat and vice versa. I am throwing all logic out the window this season. I think its all about the energy and just riding out the highs and lows while maintaining serenity and sanity even at the most gut-wrenching moments. No more will I be ridiculing or namecalling or calling for heads to roll or thinking I would be a better manager than Jerry. I have been humbled, and while I don't think my behavior or my writing has any impact on the team, I need to do what I think is right from here on out, which means easing up on my scathing rants when the wheel comes off the wagon. Maybe if we all try and do that it will have a collective impact and create some good vibes. It can't hurt, that is for sure.


January 28, 2007

Reds Caravan, Muncie Edition

The Reds caravan stopped in Damon's in Muncie from 3:30-5:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Actually, I think it turned out to last quite a bit longer than that, for reasons I'll get to shortly. It seemed like a good place, in that it could supply beer, though it turned out that I wasn't able to get much of that.

First, I should set the stage. When you walk into the Damon's in Muncie, you can veer right to enter the clubhouse area with the T.V.'s or you can veer left into the banquet room. The Crack Technical Staff and I had both imagined that they would hold the Caravan in the dining room, probably move out all the tables and line up the chairs in rows, similar to how it was done at Pinheads last year.

Apparently, they did not anticipate the crowd that showed up and thought that it would be OK to, instead, take up most of the clubhouse with the tables where the caravaners would be sitting and hope that everyone else could fit into the other half of the clubhouse. When I arrived at 2:50 p.m., they told me that there hadn't been a table available in the clubhouse since 11:30 a.m.

They should have known better, though, because they had WLBC, the single-most powerful broadcasting entity in all of east-central Indiana, behind the event. This is a station that convinces a few thousand people to go out to “Muncie Gras,” a freezing-cold street party where the town's watering holes set up temporary shop in the abandoned storefronts downtown and sell you $8 Hurricanes, every February.

Speaking of, I talked to vice-president, station manager, and morning show host, Steve Lindell, about the event. He said that he'd been asking the Reds to come to town for 15 years. Since at least a couple hundred people showed up to stand in line in the cold (they couldn't close the front doors because of all the people, so even inside it was freezing), hopefully they'll be back next year. Ideally at a bigger venue. Muncie has a convention center, people.

Anyway, when the CTS and I got there, we took a seat in the dining room to have some nachos before the show began. The waiter (“Dano”) seemed to think that we'd be able to hear the radio show over the speakers, but when it began, we could not, so we got up to stand in the lobby and try to hear something. We couldn't hear much of anything there, either, so basically we were just standing in the lobby. Whatever we did manage to catch on the recorder we'll include in the podcast tomorrow, so you can look forward to that.

After the show was done, they finally started people going through the autograph line. It was 5:25 when I got up to the table, but they'd already announced that they were staying late to get through more of the line. The conversations I had with the people there will probably show up in the podcast, but I'll sum up for you:

  • Tom Browning remembered me interviewing him about his book. I was super-psyched about that.
  • Chris Dickerson acknowledged that he probably will not make the big league team out of spring training, but he seemed pretty positive about it. Good attitude on that kid. Cute, too.
  • Jerry Narron remembered me from the caravan stop last year, but said he never received the cross stitch I sent him. I guess that explains why I didn't get a thank-you card.
  • I asked Todd Coffey if he minded that his brother goes around to website advertising his relationship to a celebrity (actually, I think the phrase I used was “sponging off your fame”, but I didn't mean it to sound that mean, Coffeybro. I was on the spot). He just said that he loves his brother. Awwww.
  • Phil Castellini asked if I was the one who nicknamed Chris Denorfia last year and made me blush before I had a chance to demand to know why he hadn't returned any of my phone calls.

Was that worth the standing in the lobby for two hours? I'm not sure. But I'll be looking forward to next year anyway. I'll have to bring my own beer.