“Contest”

I’ve realized I haven’t done any drawings lately… school, work, home, school, work, home, lather, rinse, repeat… All my days “off” from work are days I’m at school, and all my days “off” from school are filled with me sandwiching in my insane amount of reading.  Goethe’s 8 book epic “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship”… there’s a reason there’s no good Wikipedia articles or crib notes on this work:  I’m convinced very few have made it through it… and then there’s the Journeyman Years, which I’m glad I don’t have to read.  half of the first 50 pages are a long, drawn out sequence of him telling his lady stories of himself over 8 chapters as she smiles politely, struggling to stay awake.  I imagine Cris Collinsworth was Wilhelm Meister in a past life…

But back to the point: I’m bored with this and want to draw again, but there’s a problem: I’m uninspired as to who to draw.  There’s so many great people to choose from in the Dodgers organization, I’ve got no clue where to go.  

So I have this idea:  I’ll have a “contest”.  Whoever wins will get to choose the Dodger I draw next.  It could be a player I’ve drawn before.  It could be one I haven’t.  It could be Clayton Kershaw, Zach Wheat, Raul Mondesi, Manny Ramirez, Don Demeter, Cookie Lavagetto, Wally Moon, James Loney, Roger Owens the Peanut Guy, Nancy Bea Hefley, Hilda, Happy Felton, and anyone else who has some connection to the organization that began as the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.  

How can you win?  Well, I’ll ask a question, and the first person to email me at drinkinmercury79@aol.com with the correct answer will get to choose [NOTE: Be sure to include 1.) your answer to the question, and 2.) your MLBlogs handle or whatever you want to be known by for when I announce the winner, as I'm sure people don't want to have their email's floating around publicly.  This one is an AOL email I almost never use, until now.  I'll email the winner back asking who'd they want, or you can put the requested drawing in the original email if you already know who you'd want].  I figured email would be the easiest way to hold it, since the Time Warp will make it tough to choose who was “first” if people are coming from different time stamps.  And I’m not going to sell any e-mails or anything underhanded like that, or else I’ll gladly attend a Dodgers game wearing a Giants Hat.

No promises on when it’d be completed, but I’m certain with a set goal in mind, I’ll be plenty determined to get this done within 3 days of the decision on who to draw.  

The question this time isn’t necessarily Dodger-related (can’t find any of my Dodger books at the moment, and have to head to work in an hour and 15 minutes), but it’s one that anyone with an internet connection can search for and find the answer.  Here goes:

I made a Beatles playlist recently with songs that had something in common.  When looking at a few songs from the playlist, can you guess what I had in mind when putting this playlist together? (it’s easier to find out than you’d probably think):

“I’ll Cry Instead”
“And Your Bird Can Sing”
“P.S. I Love You”
“Girl”
“Hold Me Tight”
“When I’m Sixty-Four”

Email your answers to drinkinmercury79@aol.com .  Happy Hunting!

Never Let Me Down Again

DSDepecheMode.jpg

I’m taking a ride with my best friend
I hope he never lets me down again
He knows where he’s taking me
Taking me where I want to be
I’m taking a ride with my best friend…”
- Depeche Mode, “Never Let Me Down”

So I know one thing from watching the Dodgers nearly come back from a 6-1 deficit against Bud’s Anointed Brewers last night: The Dodgers are NEVER out of a game.  Sure, the end result was disappointing, but I’d rather them lose an August game fighting the whole way, and learn from it, than to have this happen in the playoffs.

Of course, it’s tough to look at last night’s game and not notice that with 2 outs bases loaded, the bat was in Manny Ramirez’s hands.  Mr. Bobblebomb couldn’t produce this time, and I understand he’s human.  Still, tough seeing as how the Dodgers’ marketing is holding the man to an image he can’t live up to, a promise he can’t keep, and a standard seemingly impossible to hold for someone who took an involuntary 50 day vacation at the beginning of the season (and knew it was probably coming since being notified of the investigation during Spring Training).

And yeah, I know Orlando Hudson’s just as blameable, not running on contact during Rafael Furcal’s bunt single.  I also know that I’m sitting behind a keyboard, and am not a sharp enough baseball mind to be on any team’s payroll.  But this is the double edged sword of image, with it comes expectation, and with expectation comes disappointment.

And as the Dodgers falter a bit in most Power Rankings, I smile, just a little.  I know that the team with the most wins outright in baseball has only won once since the beginning of the Wild Card format in ’95, and that the best record in the league has only won twice (check http://www.baseball-reference.com if you don’t believe me).  Yet, numbers tell you whatever you want them to say, and I also happy spin my hopes knowing that 2 of those 3 times the trend was bucked, Joe Torre was at the helm of the Championship team.  Yet I wonder if those teams’ bullpens still had arms attatched (j/k Joe, can’t argue with results).

“See the stars, they’re shining bright
Everything’s alright tonight”

(Artwork is not mine, it’s Depeche Mode’s, with addition of Dodger Stadium’s speaker.  Please don’t sue me, will take down if asked)



Bobblebombed

I wish I could be happy to see that Manny Ramirez is getting a second Bobblehead night, and a poster to commemorate the first one (one of the most exciting nights in recent regular-season Dodger Stadium history for sure).  But I can’t be happy.  Not when the Dodgers’ good standing is due not to a guy who took a 50-day vacation at the beginning of the year, but to a team coming together.  The “kids”, Jacksonville 5 and others, finally growing to fruition.  The supposedly shoddy pitching staff and bullpen becoming one of the best of baseball (due to other teams’ staffs being shoddier, I guess).  Juan Pierre stopped sulking about his place on the team and came up big when we needed him to.

But my feelings on Manny are complicated.  I described them best in a post I meant to put up at the beginning of last month, but didn’t, saving it to the computer instead.  But since I feel I need to explain why I would feel conflicted about speaking ill of Manny, I’ll post it now.  Then off to work for me, and maybe something posted later.

—————————————————

It’s
been a long three months since I last posted. 
A whirlwind, actually, with the semester, commencement, and just the
usual stuff life throws at you from day to day (and quite a bit of unusual
stuff as well).  But, if one thing is
certain, it’s that I have a funny way of keeping a blog going, which is strung
with long periods of inactivity. 

 

So
what’s new?  Well, the Dodgers aren’t
playing like bums, and it’s weird to consistently see them on top of the
standings of not only the division, or the league, but all of baseball.  Being 7 years old the last time the Dodgers
won the World Series, this is definitely a welcome change of pace.  It’s not one person doing well, it’s the team
running on all cylinders, with slumps few and far between. 

 

Being
somewhat used to failure (if not expectant), I don’t know how to handle
this.  It’s good to be on top, and yet I
remember the 100-win ’04 Cardinals, and of course the 100-win ’88 A’s, knowing
that the regular season is just a prelude, and it seems the best teams during
the year burn themselves out by October, while the winning teams are the ones
that are playing to get into October at the end of September.  Plus, our pitching situation isn’t looking
really good at the moment, but then again, whose does?  Gotta give props to the Giants’ staff, but
their offense is terrible, reminding me of the ’05 Dodgers, one of the best
pitching staffs in history, but an anemic offense couldn’t get them to October.

 

Oh
yeah, and that other thing happened.  It
was devastating to me, because he had been one of my favorite outfielders this
decade.  I loved his attitude (well,
except for the sulky, Clubhouse-attendant-pushing antics last summer), the way
he was like water, and everything that came his way, criticism, jeers from fans
of other teams, anything.  He took to the
field in MP3 sunglasses, disappeared into the Green Monster between innings,
high-fived fans in the middle of game-busting plays, and was charismatic.  I knew if he had ever made it to L.A., the
fans would eat him up like 3-for-$2.70 Taco Nite at Del Taco.  The dude was so Hollywood, he’d be the
biggest thing to happen to L.A. since Shaq.

 

Well,
we know what happened, so not much for me to say except I support him as
wholeheartedly and knowingly as Yankees fans accept A-Rod, Phillies fans accept
J.C. Romero, Giants fans accepted Bonds, and whatever else.  Except for Romero, the thing Manny has on
most players connected with PED’s is that he has actually been punished for it
by baseball (and his body will be punished for it over time, if he used certain
PED’s).  And he still wears the jersey of
my team, so I’ll support him, just as I’m sure that any fan would support an
iconic player of their team once they’ve had 50 days to run the gamut of
emotions associated with that betrayal, a betrayal of the fans, of the sport,
and of the athlete themselves. 

 

Not
accusing anyone, but imagine what would happen if a player as iconic to their
team as Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols was connected to PED’s… wow.  It’d be tough to deal with.  It would be easier for a fan to leave the
game than to deal with it, and consider taking the player back (if the owner
gives them that option).  You’d look over
the course of that players’ tenure, and wonder how you should look at it
now.  For Red Sox fans, perhaps this is a
reality, since they’ve won their two recent “curse”-busting championships with
the slugger as a major part of it.  Sure,
he wasn’t caught then, but if the sport went out of their way to not test a
perceived jerk like Bonds, they weren’t going to touch the enigmatic star of
one of Baseball’s beloved franchises.

 

For
Dodgers fans, we look back at the Game Over era of Eric Gagne, and the
once-proclaimed “heart and soul” of the team, Paul Lo Duca, who we now know was
a PED ringleader since his AAA days.  You
look at the names in the Mitchell Report, you realize there’s a list of 104
names of players who did test positive (not just the top 10 power sluggers in
baseball), and see that it’s not a case of a few bullies picking on the game,
but a culture of cheating that threatens the pastoral sanctity people associate
with the National Pastime.

 

For
me, I’ll take this season with a grain of salt. 
It was a little easier dealing with this when we couldn’t be bothered
with considering why Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa looked like they could
double-team Superman and the Incredible Hulk… and win.  They said they were just lifting weights, but
I had been lifting weights for 5 years at that point, and I didn’t look
anything like that.  I’m sure it was
easier for Oakland to remember 1988-1990, before Canseco became the
Bulked-Up-Bouton of our era, and not think about where all that Bash-ing came
from.  It was easier to look back at the
1960′s era of the Pitcher, and not think about whether the baseballs were
scuffed or how many players were on greenies. 
And I’m sure it was easier for kids to love the Babe without wondering
how he could run in straight lines after hitting up Happy Hour before many a
gameday.  You look at the past, and with
all that tobacco they were chewing, and wonder what pills and supplements they
might’ve been hiding in there for that extra edge.

 

Baseball’s
survived worse, and will see better days once again (just ask Terrance
Mann).  For the time being, I’ll still be
watching, cheering and booing.  And if I
was at a game, I wouldn’t boo him, I’ve spent 50 days booing his decision in my
heart.  A decision I’m beyond certain
that he regrets.  He’s been punished, he
wants to move on, and I can feel that, since I wouldn’t want cameras and mics
in my face every time I screw up in life. 
Do I like having the advantage last year that the PED use gave us?  Well, I don’t like knowing about it.  Knowledge is sorrow, Ignorance is bliss.  Because once I know, I can’t condone it, and
last year became too good to be true. 

 

Perhaps
this year will be different, if we made it. 
A team with a known ex (I hope) user against teams that perhaps have
unknown users, players who feel invincible and above the rules. 

 

Perhaps
this year will be different, because we have a recognizance of the problem now
before us.  A recognizance that this
isn’t an epidemic exclusive to one team or player, but one that is rampant within
the sport (unless EVERYBODY stopped.  You
can laugh, it’s funny). 

 

 

Holy Schmidt!

SchmidtWeb.jpg

I did this one the night that Jason Schmidt had his stellar showing in Atlanta Friday night (as well as the next drawing I’ll post, which I worked on first, but figured I’d do this one first, since it was timely to the current situation).  I was glad to see Schmidt doing well in Blue, throwing 9 scoreless innings in three starts, though the other innings weren’t exactly the best, but I can look past that, especially if we see more of the Schmidt of Friday.

So I didn’t post anything yesterday, since they were losing.  I figured I’d post it today, and just as I put the pen to the paper to trace this drawing pre-scanning, Chad Billingsley hyperextends his knee, and the coaches and training staff surround the mound. 

Figuring I was due to jinx the team, I wanted to stop, but figured what’s wrong with inking a few lines and letting it go until tomorrow.  Bills gets out of the inning, I ink through the commercial, and when the game comes back on, I see the image of Jason Schmidt in the dugout, wearing a batting helmet.

I chuckled, thinking that Bills might talk Joe out of sitting out the game, or anything would happen to prevent Schmidt coming up (though he’s always been a decent hitting pitcher).  But, to my curious joy, Schmidt stepped up to the plate, and knocked a grounder through the second baseman and shortstop, scoring a single.  Later, he crossed the plate, collecting a run.  Not bad for someone who’s been on the shelf for two years, working his way through pain and setback after setback.

We all should hope to have the work ethic of Jason Schmidt in his attempt at a Major League comeback.  Time will tell whether we’ll see more good starts (or at bats) from him, but for now, I’m glad to have him in a Dodger uniform.  Anything helps at this point of the year, and I’m definitely not going to turn my nose up at someone who shuts out the Braves in Atlanta for 5 innings.

Now that they’ve streaked in a bad way…

I haven’t posted on this blog because I felt that after last season, when I posted my drawings after the Dodgers were in the middle of a losing streak, posting when the team has done so well might have the opposite effect.  I was waiting for another losing streak to start drawing anew… and… it happened. 

Though I’m a couple of days late, I’m making up for it with a couple of posts today.  With drawings.  Maybe three, who knows?  After stifling myself for half a season, I can’t help but feel the drawing bug coming again.

Though if they lose 4 again, I might go into hiding again, heheheh.

Thank you Jackie

JackieRobinsonDay.jpg

Without this man, America would be a far worse place.  Not just baseball.  Our entire way of life. 

He opened doors that were closed to many Americans.  If he faltered, if he lost his temper, if he did one thing “wrong”, it would’ve pushed integration back decades.

Yet he held firm, and today we’re all better for it.

This man is not just a number.  He is a legend, and the fact that like anyone else, he was just a human being, should give everybody pause as to what they can accomplish with their lives.

“A life is unimportant, except in the impact it has on others’ lives.” – Jack Roosevelt Robinson.

Baseball or Schoolwork? (Eenie, meenie, miney, moe…)

The beginning of April brings two certainties to this college student: Baseball and Midterms/Papers.  Today, I’m going to try to mesh the two of them together, with a rhetorical analysis due by gametime tomorrow.  That’ll be fun.

Looking forward to today’s game.  We’re starting Randy Wolf against his previous squad.  They’re starting Chris Young, who was good last year, but Andre Ethier has owned him regardless.  We’ll see if that holds true today.

From the past blog’s comments: Koufax1963, I noticed the change in excitement after LA got Manny.  I only made one game last year, the July 30th game against the Jints, and even though it was a Dodgers-Giants game, the crowd was dead.  Only coming alive to mercilessly boo Andruw Jones.  It was Chad Billingsley’s first ever CG shutout.  And the crowd, while applauding loudly, didn’t seem like they were watching a squad 1-2 games out of 1st place at the time.

Needless to say, bringing Manny has made all the difference.  I joke to my Giants fans friends “How’d we get here?  Now SF has the stellar rotation, and LA has the LF Offense machine the rest of the league loves to boo.”

I’ll see if I can’t knock out another drawing tonight. 

L.A. Happy Kemp-ers on Opening Day

Kemp040609.jpg

Good to get the season started on the right foot (or the left foot, depending on how you think), as the Los Angeles Dodgers get a win against San Diego, 4-1.  Great game by Hiroki Kuroda (黒戸ーさん), and Big Jon Broxton got the Save.  Loney was the catalyst, but the Dodgers got some bang for their buck by a booming straightaway centerfield HR (in Petco Park, nonetheless) by their star OFer… Matt “The Bison” Kemp! 

Kemp might be making it on Bristol’s Top 10 tonight, as he had a stellar catch in centerfield that helped seal the game for the Blue at a critical juncture.  I could tell it was a stellar catch, because Charley Steiner was yelling at the top of his lungs.  I’m a Steiner fan, definitely snaps me back in the game if I start getting distracted.  You know, by schoolwork, drawing, or anything else I should be ignoring on Opening Day.

Now a puzzling day off, then the SoCal chapter of Baseball’s Senior Circuit go at it again.  After this long offseason, though, I’m sure I can find it in me to make it though this oddly-placed day off.

(picture based on a photograph by the AP’s Lenny Ignelzi)

Through with Waiting

mannyst.jpg
We have a new toy, a drawing pad.  Trying to get better with it.  The two images are kinda similar, James Loney and Manny Ramirez leaning on the dugout rail.  That’s how I felt when I was drawing them… like leaning on a rail, waiting for what feels like forever.  Then when it starts up again, it feels like it was never gone in the first place.

Opening Day has finally come.  Good to hear Vin Scully’s voice again, the Dodgers finally breaking into the 2009 season against the Padres.  Peavy usually gives the team fits, but this is 2009, and he hasn’t done good against them this season.

It’s a good feeling getting to watch games that count again. 

Loney001.jpg

Classic World Baseball

It’s spring training, and being a Dodger fan, the excitement ramped up an extra notch once Manny decided to seal the deal.  And the Dodgers have a new home in Camelback Ranch, which looks beautiful, and from all I’ve heard from others who’ve been, sounds like a great place to take in a spring game. 

But this baseball fan is amped up for another reason.  I’m all-out excited about the World Baseball Classic going on now.  There have been some clunkers out there (like the blowouts of China by Korea and Japan), but there have been some really great games.  Russell J. Martin, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau and Matt Stairs of Canada almost toppled the US in Toronto, a great game I found it hard to pull myself away from (so I didn’t).  The Netherlands’ upset of the Dominican Republic was a shocker.  And Italy’s upset of Canada yesterday in Toronto was a surprise itself, all they’d have to do to get in is beat Venezuela, no small task, but Venezuela’s had their troubles so far.

It’s too bad that the WBC has to disrupt ST, causing many MLB managers to be wary of letting their players play for their countries.  But I have to say, now I have something to look forward to every 4 years.  Hopefully, if the sport is reinstated by the Olympic Committee, there’ll be some way for the MLB to take a break to let the best ballplayers represent their country in world play on the ultimate stage.  But for now, I’m happy to “settle” for the WBC.

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