Archive: June, 2024

Quotes of the week

A few notes from over the last week or so. I'd been meaning to post longer bits about each of these, but time got away from me and, you know, there was stuff to do. Anyway, a few things I heard/read that deserve some repetition:

  • "I don't care about you. I just want your vote."  This was former president Cheeto Hitler in a rare moment of honesty, talking to the crowd at his hate rally in Las Vegas. The man cares about nothing other than power for himself and becoming a U.S. incarnation of Kim Jong Un.
  • "If the hood fits..."  So said David Ferguson on The Bob Cesca Show last Thursday. David was referring to Supreme Court "Justice" Samuel Alito's outrage, outrage! at being called a bigot. "I just can't with these people," Ferguson went on. "They're like, 'how dare you accuse us of being prejudiced! We just hate black people and queers.' I want to Psycho-shower these people."
  • “He can’t stand for 90 minutes, but he’s 100% able to be President? Have fun explaining that.”  That was alleged Congressman Josh Hawley (MAGA-MO) criticizing President Biden, thinking that the format for next week's scheduled presidential debate will have the candidates seated at a table and that said format was demanded by the president. I seem to remember President Biden standing for a long address at the House of Representatives a couple months back without any trouble. And guess what—standing is not a requirement to be President of the United States. Franklin Roosevelt held the gig for 12+ years without standing at all.
  • "Time never applied to Willie Mays the way it applies to others. He is like a Kurt Vonnegut character, unstuck in time, everything, everywhere, all at once, simultaneously the Say Hey Kid playing stickball in the streets of New York and the wizard outrunning baseballs soaring toward the gap at Candlestick Park, and the slugger tearing into baseballs as if it is something personal, and the legend launching a million memories and making parents and grandparents feel like children."  That's Joe Posnanski, remembering the great Willie Mays, who died yesterday at age 93.
  • And this, from satirist Andy Borowitz:
    THE OCEAN DEEP (The Borowitz Report)—Calling his longstanding fear of being devoured by them “delusional thinking at its saddest,” the world’s sharks issued a statement on Tuesday disavowing “any interest whatsoever” in eating Donald J. Trump.
       “Given his constant intake of Diet Coke and hamburgers, there is nothing to indicate that Trump would be anything resembling a nutritious meal,” the sharks’ statement read. “The very thought of biting into him is nauseating.”

       The sharks said that Trump’s anxiety about being eaten by them demonstrates “an inflated sense of his appeal, to say the least.”
       “We thought the same thing when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed he was eaten by a worm,” the sharks wrote. “Why do these narcissists think they’re so delicious?”
       In perhaps their most withering comment, the sharks concluded, “We might consider eating Trump if the only other thing on the menu was Steve Bannon.”

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The Chicago way

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The critical play in Monday night's Mariner win, from future manager Luke Raley

Whenever my Mariners season ticket group gets together for the preseason ticket draft, I scan the schedule for a home series against the Chicago White Sox to make sure I get at least one of those dates. This is because my friend Dave is a Chicago transplant and a Sox fan and it's become a sort of tradition for us to take in an M's/Sox game every year. Well, the White Sox are in town this week for a series against the host Seattle Mariners and I had my tickets, so off Dave and I went to the ballpark by Elliott Bay on this fine, almost-summery Monday evening.

For those that are not baseball followers, the White Sox this year are historically bad. They recently snapped a 14-game losing streak and figure to challenge the Major League record for most losses in a season, a dubious honor now held by the expansion 1962 New York Mets, who tallied 120 defeats against 40 wins (and two rainouts). Dave, of course, knows this, but even a lifelong fan like Dave has been hard-pressed to follow the hapless flailing of this year's Sox. When I mentioned that I hadn't heard of more than two or three guys in the White Sox' lineup, he could only recognize one or two others.

Yet, he was aware of the various ways the White Sox had lost games both last year and this year—including one by balking in the winning run in the 9th inning, one on a bogus interference call on an otherwise routine infield popup, another after their first-base coach went missing during a rain delay—and how they had lost many games that they had at one point been winning (24 so far this season). So despite the fact that Chicago had managed to get into the late innings with a 4-0 lead, he knew not to count any metaphorical chickens. "Whenever I see the Sox here," Dave said (paraphrasing), "the Mariners end up staging a late comeback."

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The view from Section 327,  Josh Rojas at the plate

Sure enough, the Mariners, who had been utterly stymied by Chicago starting pitcher Erick Fedde (whom neither of us was familiar with), went to town on the Sox bullpen. Dominic Canzone, about whom I had earlier in the game said was going to have to pick things up if he didn't want to be optioned to Triple-A, led off the home 8th with a first-pitch laser-beam homer for the first Seattle run. That was the end of Fedde's night. Reliever Michael Kopech took over and promptly loaded the bases, but in tried and true Mariner fashion, the next two batters failed to score the easy RBI from 3rd by striking out. (The second of those batters, Cal Raleigh, objected strenuously to the strike three call—manager Scott Servais ran out of the dugout to keep Raleigh from doing anything to get ejected and was instead ejected himself—but it was a good pitch on the black according to MLB Gamecast.)

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Chicago White Sox fan, 2024 edition

I thought the Sox were going to get out of it. Dave knew better.

Mitch Haniger followed Raleigh's K with a single to plate two, and then Luke Raley came up and delivered the best part of the entire game: a two-out, expertly-placed bunt single to score Josh Rojas from third and tie the score. Just brilliant. It was the third time this year I'd seen Raley bunt for a hit, and each time it was not a play dictated by the bench but a sharp exploitation of the opposing defense; I continue to be impressed by his skill at a facet of the game that has largely been forgotten in the 21st century. It was a thrilling dose of "Harr-ball" in a homer-happy world. (If Luke Raley decides to become a manager after his playing days, I bet he'd be quite good.)

It remained tied at four into the 9th, when the M's decided to once again "panic with Stanek"; the Seattle reliever did his typical tightrope walk, going deep into counts with some not-remotely-close-to-the-zone pitches and serving up a couple of hits, but managed to strike out the side and take the tie into the home 9th.

This was when Dave made a prediction. Based on the way the season has gone for the White Sox thus far, Dave predicted that the game would end when the Mariners load the bases, the batter works the count to 3-and-something, and the Sox pitcher is called for a pitchclock violation. Not just a walkoff walk, but a walkoff three-ball walk. It would be only fitting for the 2024 Chicago White Sox.

Rookie Ryan Bliss led off the Seattle 9th with a groundout. Then J.P. Crawford drew a walk. Then Josh Rojas walked. Then Julio Rodríguez singled to short left. The bases were loaded. Then Cal Raleigh came up and took ball one. Hm. Then Raleigh took ball two. I glanced over at Dave and called him Nostradamus. Which, of course, jinxed Dave's prediction as Raleigh crushed the next pitch deep into the night for a game-winning grand slam home run.

"Sorry we didn't get your walkoff pitchclock violation," I said. "But a walkoff slam is also appropriate, right?"

"I guess," came the reply. But it was wistful. I get it. Walkoff grand slams are unusual and exciting—and fun for the home crowd!—but they don't reek of bizarre. And the ’24 Sox need to stumble into as many bizarre ways to lose as possible on their way to 121+.

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Navigating our digital world

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To those of you who receive email notifications when new posts arrive here aboard StarshipTim.com, two things: 1) Thank you; 2) I'm sorry.

Lately there has been an issue with one of the services that I utilize to generate those emails and in my sussing out the problem you may have received multiple copies of the same notification. Furthermore, depending on what email system you use, those duplicates may have tripped the spam filter and relegated all future notification emails to the spam folder. Or straight to oblivion if your filtering is hyper aggressive. So, I ask that you check your spam filter and tell gmail or whatever that those messages are not spam.

Of course, the best way to receive updates from this or any other site is to use the RSS feed, eliminating any potential trouble with a third-party intermediary service. Outlook and other similar email clients have RSS readers built right into them, items show up just like emails do (you add a feed to follow just like you'd add an email account). Browsers have extensions for RSS feeds that are super handy if you don't have or don't want to use an email client for them.

Relying on social media sites for web content is a losing proposition. The algorithms change all the time, and even if a notice does show up in your feed it can be buried under a hundred other posts. RSS feeds let you curate your own portal in one of these reader extensions:

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I've got a miniature version of this on the desktop version of this site, the feedbox at the top right, but your choice of feeds may differ, so use one of these extensions/email clients!

The RSS feed for StarshipTim.com is https://starshiptim.com/home/rss, link always available in the right column (on desktop; that column is removed on narrow phones).

OK, enough of this, I have work to do.

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Head games

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It's not been a good week for me in terms of The Black Hole. Nor has it been a terrible one. It was—and continues to be?—another of those stretches wherein I feel basically OK but I'm scatterbrained.

If I didn't have a long history of this as a manifestation of my clinical depression, I'd be worried about long COVID or something. But I do have that history, and, frankly, given the choice between a stretch of foggy brain and a severe Black Hole episode of despair, I'll take this in a heartbeat.

A friend of mine—whose birthday I forgot this week, apologies—has mentioned a couple of times over the years that she's observed my Black Hole symptoms are worse in the summertime. I don't know if that's true or not, but this has been a rather quick return for a foggy-head stretch, seems like I just got over one of those. Is it just brain chemistry? Added stress? Ennui? Too damn much sunlight? Who knows.

But here's a rundown of my last week or so:

  • Forgot I had Mariner tickets for June 1st, which turned out to be a great game and it would have been fun to be there. I did realize my error in time to sell the tickets pregame on StubHub, so at least I got my money back.
  • Forgot Nikki's birthday and have yet to rectify that. (Sorry, Nikki.) But she's on a road trip right now, so maybe it'll keep.
  • Screwed up during an umpire shift in a circumstance that required more from me. There was a collision at home plate, completely unwarranted, but also I believe not premeditated, more one of those things that happens fast and reaction time was slow. And then my reaction time was slow. Way too slow. I handled everything in a manner that kept the peace and let us proceed reasonably well, but had I been sharper that night I would have been far more assertive and timely in laying down the law and offering better/more obvious defense of the injured party, who happened to be one of my favorite players in the league. Nobody's holding a grudge (that I know of) or giving me any sort of hard time about it, but I know I fucked up and that it was a disservice to one of my faves makes it all the worse, at least in my head.
  • Was late to my own softball game this week because I had transposed the start times of games (6:30 and 7:45 became 6:45 and 7:30, which makes absolutely zero sense) and I missed the first inning.
  • Screwed up yesterday's umpire shift by not remembering that different parks mean different start times because of things like lights and permits. I know this, it's basic information. Yet, knowing I was going not to Capitol Hill but to Wedgwood, I still timed things to arrive at 7pm. On my way down, at about 6:20, I got a call asking if anything was wrong since I wasn't where I was supposed to be at 6:00. Shit. Then to compound matters when I did arrive I went to the wrong field first (#3, not #2), got confused by the lack of people around when I expected two teams of annoyed softballers, and took an extra five or ten minutes to get things straight. Then I became aware that another group had the permit for that field as soon as we were scheduled to be done, so there was no wiggle room for going over time and I just had to rush things and basically those two teams got screwed out of half their time. I'm lucky that they were all understanding and not actually that annoyed. Again, had I been sharper, there was an easy solution involving moving to one of the unoccupied fields instead which would have allowed us to play later, but that didn't occur to me in time to do any good (we did play the second game on another field despite the fact that the bases there weren't pegged in and basically sucked).
  • Today is my sister's birthday, and as my mind is functioning at the speed of someone trying to run a 100-yard dash under eight feet of water, I didn't realize that until I heard someone on a podcast say the date out loud. So I made a call as I was out on errands and added "buy belated b-day card" to my errand list.

Is this stretch of fogginess over? No, I can tell it's not. I still feel like it takes three times as long to think a thought than it should. But with any luck it'll pass soon. It's a problem.

I did watch the Mariners this afternoon, as they blew a big lead and decided to go to the ninth with reliever Ryne "Panic with" Stanek in for the save. Why did they do that? No one knows. It didn't go well. It felt like ol' Panic was similarly having trouble concentrating on what was in front of him as he walked the leadoff man, served up a base hit and a one-out game-tying triple, and then his doofus manager intentionally walked not just the next guy to set up a potential double-play, but the guy after that as well—a slumping (and slow) Salvador Pérez, who's seen his batting average drop 38 points the last couple of weeks—to load the bases, which even the announcers were a bit dumbfounded by. Result? A hot shot off the bat that only a superhuman effort by J.P. Crawford kept from being a hit but was still enough to score a run and end the game. But hey, those fans in Kansas City got their money's worth tonight, that would have been a heck of a game to be at to see your team give up seven runs before even coming to bat then claw their way back to a close score only to win it in exciting walk-off fashion. Enjoy our slow-witted, unthinking Seattle ways, Kansas City!

 

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