Tag:Jackson Browne
Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:07 am
 

Padres sweep Dodgers, Giant showdown next

SAN DIEGO -- Following a victory over German troops in Egypt during World War II in 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

And as they were saying in the San Diego clubhouse after sweeping the Dodgers with a 4-0 whitewashing on Wednesday night to regain traction following that vicious 10-game losing streak. ...

"The baseball season is long and there are ebbs and flows," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our season, up until that point, was pretty steady. I think it's a tribute to our guys. We hit a bump in the road, and I thought our guys showed resolve. We pitched well, played sound defense and executed."

Their breath back, the first-place Padres now head into a colossal four-game, showdown series with San Francisco beginning on Thursday evening, a season hanging in the balance.

With the Giants losing in Arizona on Wednesday, the Padres pushed their NL West lead -- six games as recently as 12 days ago -- back up to two games.

The Padres have beaten San Francisco in nine of 11 games this season, but the Giants have undergone significant changes from what the Padres saw in April and May (Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Madison Bumgarner).

The exclamation mark for the four-game series comes at the end, when aces Mat Latos and Tim Lincecum oppose each other on Sunday.

Latos, signed by Padres scout Joe Bochy, brother of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tuesday set a major-league record by working his 15th consecutive start in which he worked at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed.

With the Giants on deck and a two-game lead in their grasp, it turns out that 10-game losing streak was not the end for the Padres. Given their sweep of the Dodgers, it probably was not even the beginning of the end.

But it clearly was the end of a beginning that saw them join the Yankees as the only teams in the game not to lose more than three in a row, the end of a beginning that was almost too smooth to believe.

Now, in whipping the Dodgers, the Padres looked like themselves again.

They won Wednesday's game behind six shutout innings from rookie Cory Luebke, 25, who was making just the second big-league start of his career. Just fill in the blanks by day, the pitching has been excellent. Black said Luebke will get the ball again for another start five days hence in Colorado.

The three-run sixth against Chad Billingsley was as good an indicator as anything that the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-th
eir-parts Padres were back: Lefty Will Venable dropped an opposite-field blooper down the left-field line for a single, speedster Everth Cabrera bunted for a hit and pinch-hitter David Eckstein beat out a bunt attempt when Billingsley threw late to third.

Bases loaded, speedy leadoff man Luis Durango dropped a two-run single into left. Then, slugger Adrian Gonzalez cracked a sacrifice fly.

"We're getting back to the way we play," Eckstein said.

"These are the things we've worked on because we knew we needed to do them," Black said. "When they go our way, it doesn't surprise us. We've worked on these things as far back as February."

Gonzalez, in a conversation before the game, said that the first several games of the losing streak was simply business as usual for the Padres -- they were playing sound ball but were simply losing. Toward the end of the streak, though, Gonzalez said he could see some of the players pressing. That eased immensely, he said, with the first two wins over the Dodgers.

So ... a new beginning for the Padres?

"We hope so," Eckstein said. "We're not going to answer that question until we clinch or don't clinch, because we'll hear about it the rest of our lives if we don't. We just have to focus on playing our game."

Likes: Trevor Hoffman earning career save No. 600. Congratulations to a man who has had a very difficult season but remains pure class. ... Former Cincinnati ace Gary Nolan visiting with the Reds in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. ... Intense scoreboard watching every night now. ... The portable iPod players. It's given yet another new life to my iTouch. Reds manager Dusty Baker has one that travels with him -- it's usually queued up in the manager's office -- and he jokes that it's his "roommate." ... The Arcade Fire's new disc, The Suburbs. ... Digging this season of Mad Men. ... Ah, back to school. A young lady was wearing this T-shirt in the St. Louis airport the other day: "We didn't come to college to find our husbands. We came to find our bridesmaids."

Dislikes: The Dodgers are playing like they've quit. Totally disinterested. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson being stung by a scorpion at his Arizona home this week. Among the only things more disgusting than scorpions are tarantulas. ... Human beings continue to get larger and larger with each generation. Airplane aisles continue to get smaller and smaller. The future of air travel? I don't even want to know. Let's just say that the larger people and smaller aisles are going to clash pretty badly here in a few years.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Everyone I know
"Everywhere I go
"People need some reason to believe"

-- Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

 

Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:14 pm
 

Olde English D suits Damon well

SAN FRANCISCO -- Just when you think they're all mercenaries who only care about the next whopping contract, along comes Johnny Damon thumbing his nose at Boston.

We already knew Damon to be an exciting, if aging, ballplayer. We already knew him to be one of the game's extraordinarily nice guys.

Now we know he's not a phony.

Nothing against the Red Sox, who are doing a marvelous job of hanging in there despite losing players to the disabled list so frequently this summer that Terry Francona has been reduced to playing guys who are unrecognizable even to their own mothers.

But Damon has been there, done that, and it did not end pleasantly.

Looking for work this spring, he and his agent, Scott Boras, suddenly did more for Detroit's image than the Renaissance Center ever did. Damon professed his love for the Red Wings and all things Detroit. Boras rhapsodized about how much Damon always has loved Detroit.

It would have been sickening -- if it weren't true.

How do I know? Well, I couldn't resist. I sat down with Damon in Lakeland, Fla., this spring and administered a quiz covering all things Detroit and Michigan. Not only did he good-naturedly play along, he did quite well.

Anyway, seven months later, Damon told the Tigers he wouldn't accept a deal to Boston because Detroit is where he wants to be. He individually talked to all of his teammates first to make sure they still wanted him around. He said he hopes to play again in Detroit in 2011, and he said he knows that if manager Jim Leyland reduces his playing time down the stretch, it could cost him money on the free agent market this winter.

Didn't matter. Damon didn't want to change his stripes. (And his chances of stepping into a pennant race in Boston wasn't exactly guaranteed, either).

Next time you become disenchanted with the modern athlete for whatever reason, remember Damon. Maybe you hated him when he was with Boston, maybe you hated him when he was with the Yankees. Perhaps you never liked him with long hair, or maybe you were angry when he chopped his locks.

Whatever. Bottom line is, Damon showed this week he is a man of principle.

Likes: Ah, San Francisco. Gorgeous summer day today. Hot. It actually reached 100. And that brought the crazies out (even more than usual). Walking between the Rasputin music store and Border's books, I passed a raggedy-looking man on the street grinning and holding up a homemade sign fashioned from a cardboard box reading, "Ass watching is a sport." When I walked back 30 minutes later, he was still at his post proudly displaying his sign. Meantime, John Fay, Reds beat man for the Cincinnati Enquirer, saw two older men walking down the street completely naked protesting, as Fay said, something. ... If the White Sox do get Manny Ramirez on waivers, he and Ozzie Guillen will be quite a combo. And Guillen always thought Frank Thomas was a handful. ... Great run along the Embarcadero on Tuesday morning down to AT&T Park. Love the atmosphere around empty ballparks early in the day before they come to life at night.

Dislikes: Still haven't caught up to the final three Friday Night Lights episodes from this summer. Looking forward to carving out some time to see them. ... School starting again. I know lots of parents eagerly anticipate the kids going back. Not me. I like having mine around.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When that last guitar's been packed away
"You know that I still want to play
"So just make sure you got it all set to go
"Before you come for my piano
"But the band's on the bus
"And they're waiting to go
"We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
"or Detroit, I don't know
"We do so many shows in a row
"And these towns all look the same
"We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
"And wander 'round backstage
"Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
"And we remember why we came"

-- Jackson Brown, The Load Out

Posted on: April 25, 2010 8:58 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 8:59 pm
 

Yankees take it to the house -- the White House

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Forget that whole champions "I'm going to Disney World" thing.

When the New York Yankees wrapped up their series here Sunday, roughly one mile from Disneyland, they were headed to the White House for an appointment on Monday.

Now, I immediately figured the obvious, that President Obama had summoned the Yanks as part of his efforts to rein in the financial industry.

What Commissioner Bud Selig hasn't been able to do -- level the playing field between the Yankees and their $200 million payroll and, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their $35 million payroll -- I figured was being taken up by Obama somewhere between Goldman Sachs and AIG.

Turns out, false alarm.

"No," Mark Teixeira helpfully informed me. "It's because we're champions."

And so it is that the Yankees will spend an off day before Tuesday's series-opener in Baltimore visiting the Walter Reed Medical Center, lunching in the U.S. Senate Dining Room with the World Series trophy, Senators and wounded warriors and, yes, being welcomed on the South Portico (East Room if it rains) by President Obama.

"It's going to be exciting," Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

For Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, this will be the third different sitting president that will welcome them as World Series champions to the White House -- Bill Clinton, the second George Bush and now Barack Obama.

"I don't know if it says they're old or presidents don't have long stays," Yankees manager Joe Girardi quipped. "I don't know what it is, but it's fairly remarkable."

Giarardi has visited the White House before as a player and said it's an awesome experience.

"You're in awe of the physical structure, the building, when you walk in," he said. "But I just think meeting a president ... I don't think any of us can fathom what that life is like. Just imagine what comes across his desk every day."

Sabathia says he'll stick to baseball, that he will bring no advice whatsoever for the president.

"I've got nothing," Sabathia said, grinning.

Likes: Loved Yankees manager Joe Girardi manning up and admitting a strategical mistake in Sunday's game. ... There is no love lost between these Yankees and Angels, who get after it pretty good. Three batters were hit with pitches Sunday: The Yankees' Robinson Cano by Scott Kazmir (who drilled a homer two plate appearances later) and the Angels' Juan Rivera (Javier Vazquez) and Torii Hunter (Damaso Marte). Nobody charged the mound, they all just kept playing -- hard. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia was insistent that he thinks the play in which Mark Teixeira mowed over catcher Bobby Wilson at the plate Friday night, knocking Wilson into next week, was hard but clean. Teixeira still hadn't spoken with Wilson as of Sunday but had three different people deliver messages of well-wishes and had been assured the messages were received. Wilson, who suffered a concussion and a left ankle strain and was placed on the disabled list, was at Angel Stadium for the first time since the incident on Sunday. "He was playing baseball," Wilson said. "He was playing hard. I know he got hit a few pitches earlier. ... There's no hard feelings towards Tex. I know he wasn't trying to hurt me. Just playing baseball. People can say what they want whether they think it was a clean play or they think it was a dirty play. That's baseball. I know next time around, I'm telling you, I won't back down."

Dislikes: Hate to see the weekend end. Yankees-Angels has developed into one of the better rivalries in the game.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Caught between the longing for love
"And the struggle for the legal tender
"Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
"And the junk man pounds his fender
"Where the veterans dream of the fight
"Fast asleep at the traffic light
"And the children solemnly wait
"For the ice cream vendor
"Out into the cool of the evening
"Strolls the Pretender
"He knows that all his hopes and dreams
"Begin and end there"

-- Jackson Browne, The Pretender

Posted on: February 27, 2008 6:56 pm
 

No outrage? You're not paying attention

TAMPA, Fla. -- So Tribune Company CEO Sam Zell lets drop that he'll sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field in a heartbeat if that can make him some extra money, and all you ivy-covered Chicago Cubs fans hit the roof.

Hey, I feel your pain.

And the best thing that can happen is this: Somebody gets the Cubs out of Mr. Zell's evil clutches as soon as humanly possible.

Now I realize all baseball fans probably aren't schooled in the world of journalism, and there's no reason you need to be. But in case you hadn't heard of a couple of recent highlights on the Sam Zell 2008 Offend the World Tour, allow me to fill you in.

He visited one of the Tribune Company's papers, the Orlando Sentinal, earlier this month to speak to the staff and address questions about his philosophies -- which can be summed up in one sentence: Find ways to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible.

So during a staff question and answer session, a woman photographer asks him how the paper will balance his need to make money with the paper's need for resources to cover the news. He essentially said, making money comes first, even if that means squeezing resources to hurt the product.

OK, whatever, he's the boss. But he finished an answer to one of the woman's follow-up questions by saying, and I quote: "F--- you."

It's right there on YouTube if you think I'm exaggerating.

And that's not even the worst of it. A few days later, his Tribune Co. tour took him to the Los Angeles Times, where he met with that paper's newsroom staff. And where he explained that his main mission is to make money, and the Times must look at new ways to make money, including accepting ads from strip joints.

Now you can have a reasonable debate regarding the merits of that.

But when the troops expressed disdain for the idea, Zell, in defending himself, told them that, "everybody likes ----. It's un-American not to like ----."

I left the blanks so as not to repeat Zell's inexcusable use of a crass word for a female body part in front of a full -- and highly offended -- newsroom of profesional men and women. Here's a hint, though: Think "cat."

How quickly do you think you'd be in the Human Resources office explaining yourself if you talked like that at your place of employment?

This guy is a piece of work.

Meanwhile, Billy Goat Tavern at Wrigley Field, anyone? I can think of worse corporate sponsors.

And I'm sure we'll get one.

Likes: The Phillies' training complex in Clearwater. It's five springs old, but doesn't look a day over one. ... Charlie Manuel. If baseball could walk and talk, it would look exactly like the Phillies manager. ... Grapefruit League games again. ... John Mellencamp into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month. ... Springsteen back on the road this week.

Dislikes: Thunderstorms in the Tampa area were so severe Tuesday night that it knocked out satellite television transmission ... which left me, working in my room, with about a 15-minute gap in the Democratic debate. Maybe rabbit-ears television antennas weren't so bad afterall. ... Scott Kazmir's arm trouble in Tampa Bay. ...

Sunblock day? No. Jacket day. That thunderstorm kicked temps down into the 50s Wednesday, and the wind was howling. Brrrr.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the price
For having learned how not to cry

-- Jackson Browne, Doctor My Eyes

 
 
 
 
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