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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Up way early this morning, so let's get to it --

Scott Boras Is A Soka For Conditioning

Here's a Sporting News article about Scott Boras' offseason conditioning program for his clients, which he maintains at a Soka University facility. Listen to the eight kinds of tedious hell Jered Weaver is putting himself through this winter:
Weaver bounds over hurdles to increase flexibility in his hips. He heaves a medicine ball to gain power. He sprints while strapped to a high-tech contraption called a Vertimax that builds explosiveness in his legs. He does eight sets of crunches for his core. He does one-legged knee bends while standing on a box to improve his balance. He lifts weights to strengthen his back and upper body. He does yoga. Later, after a lunch break, he gets around to actually throwing a baseball.

A year on this program has Weaver in "by far" the best shape of his life. He has gone from 190 to 220 pounds without adding a hint of fat. He once walked with his shoulders slouched, but the 6-7 righthander says he feels and looks taller because of his workouts. By the time he reports to spring training, he figures his right arm will be about 90 percent ready for the season, his conditioning "100 percent."

Well, good to know that Boras is doing something to keep his clients from turning into the next Mike Hampton, Chan Ho Park, or -- perhaps more accurately -- Ryan Mills.

Devil Rays Not So Devilish?

The Tampa Bay major league baseball team -- if you can call it that -- is considering changing their nickname as part of their offseason campaign to improve their image. This is not unlike getting a legal name change in hopes of evading creditors. Generally, it doesn't work, and the "you can call us Rays" line got tired back in the 80's.

Roster Notes

Arte Moreno, Comedian

In yesterday's proceedings:
In 90 minutes of testimony, the Angel owner sparred repeatedly with Anaheim attorney Andy Guilford and cracked several jokes, including one when Guilford asked him to explain why the Dodgers might have sold a cap with the inscription, "Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles."

"Maybe they're changing their name," Moreno said, as the courtroom erupted in laughter.


Nonetheless, [Anaheim city attorney Andy] Guilford displayed for the jury a variety of memorabilia on which Anaheim no longer appears. At one point, he showed Moreno an Anaheim Angels license-plate frame and asked where fans might get one now.

"Maybe from you," Moreno said, drawing laughs.

Guilford also displayed a T-shirt available on the team website in October, with the team logo above what he said was the Los Angeles skyline. When Guilford asked whether he approved of the shirt, Moreno said with a chuckle, "I guess, if it's selling."

The city may rest its case as early as Tuesday or Wednesday without calling mayor Curt Pringle.

OT: More Galactica Raves

I've already sounded the klaxon in favor of Battlestar Galactica, the new version that has everything the old 70's show didn't: good writing, solid acting performances, and actual storylines and characters you give a damn about. But because I'm lazy, I postponed watching the shows up through episode 212, "Resurrection Ship: Part 2". I can only wonder how people managed to do that in real time (the show was on a little production vacation between parts 1 and 2 -- in between seasons?) without gnawing their toes off. As it was, Helen's been chomping at the bit all this time to talk to me about the most recent episodes; at this point, I'm only two or three shows behind real time. Really, really good stuff, and even better on DVD.

Arte came off a little smug in the proceedings. Wonder if that will hurt him in the long run?
They asked that in the article. Frankly, I sort of doubt it will hurt him. He's pretty good at knowing how to sell himself.
Ken Rosenthal has this take on Angels SS prospect Erick Aybar in his most recent foxsports.com article:

'A pair of switch-hitting middle-infield prospects — the Angels' Erick Aybar and Mets' Anderson Hernandez — made a strong impression while playing for Licey, champion of the Dominican winter league.

'"They're both live-bodied guys," one scout says. "The more you watch them play, the more you see all the things they can do. Both have a chance to be pretty good big-league players."

'Aybar, however, could be traded; the Angels are even higher on shortstop Brandon Wood and second baseman Howie Kendrick. ...'
I downloaded an episode of Galactica from Apple.

I really couldn't stand it. It appeared to me to be an over-acted, over-written potboiler without any humor other than anachronistic references. The action was patently unbelivable (nobody has grenades in this world? Nobody calls in airstrikes? Nobody has RPG's? Nobody can track their enemy? A bunch of troops with high ground can pin down 3 guys behind a rock, but they can run and get away by shooting back into a blind?), and the plot seemed completely and totally limited to "You're a cylon!" "No I'm not, YOU'RE a Cylon!" "Don't believe him!" "You remember that secret you told me when we were both children? Would a Cylon know that?, SHOOT HER!!!!!"

It seemed to me to be one of the worst pieces of Sci-Fi I'd ever seen. And this was an episode recommended to me by a friend as a great one to watch to get the idea.

Oh, and it was stupidly bloody and violent for the meager quality of everything but the effects. Okay, we get it, Saving Private Ryan was a good movie. We understand.
To each his own, I guess. Richard likes Lost...
Yeah, I can't get into lost either.
Oh, those anonymouses are me.

Actually, I have to agree with Bruce about BG. I started watching because a friend told me to, so I caught up with the miniseries and watched the first season reruns as they came up on SciFi. I have to say that I like the directing and some of the ideas (the ships having small thrusters on each side to make them more manueverable in space and things like that), but the storyline has been getting worse as time goes on (the first episode in season 1 was great). I am kinda just latching on to the show until the end of season 2 to see if it will get any better by then.

The two Stargates have been getting worse this season, as well. Seasons 7 and 8 of SG-1 were pretty fantastic still, while Season 1 of Atlantis had some interesting society ideas. Now, without Richard Dean Anderson SG-1 is just not as good and Atlantis already pulled a "jump the shark" move by adding a "cool alien loner who likes to kill bad guys."

Lost IS completely awesome, though. I have gotten a lot of people hooked by telling them to watch the first four episodes. My feeling is that you should have the context of the first three to know how truly awesome the 4th is, and if you aren't hooked there, you never will be.

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