Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mets' bullpen woes over?

A couple of days ago the Mets acquired off free agency arguably the best closer in the Majors, Francisco Rodriguez (I resist calling him "K-Rod" for the same reasons Lisa Swan gives in Subway Squawkers: (1) it's an obvious ripoff of the nickname of a certain Yankee; and (2) his first name is not "Krancisco"). This filled the need arising from the injury to Billy Wagner, but didn't address the greater problem of the unreliability of the Mets' middle relievers last season, especially Aaron Heilman. Yesterday they announced a three way deal with the Mariners and Indians that, among other things, sent Heilman to Seattle and former Mariners' closer J.J. Putz (yes, he'll need a thick skin in Noo Yawk) to the Mets. As Jesse Spector "putz" it in Touching Base, "this the Mets quite possibly the most fearsome bullpen in the National League. (They had that this year, but now it's fearsome to opponents instead of their own fans.)"

Whenever the Mets do a multi-player trade, there's always at least one that I regret their losing. In this deal, it's Endy Chávez. He's the kind of journeyman player that I admire because, despite his mediocre batting average that offsets above average fielding skills, I can't forget the occasional spectacular catch or clutch hit. I also like that he has a brother named Ender, who played for a season with my beloved Brooklyn Cyclones. What is it with Venezuelans--remember the Alfonso brothers, Edgardo and Edgar?

12/15 Update: MSNBC's First Read calls Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich "F-Rod".

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fresh Air Fund needs your help this holiday season.

This time of year is when we all get lots of appeals for money. This year is a particularly bad year for many. We have to decide who or what to support, and in what amount. I'm making this appeal for you to consider the Fresh Air Fund, which gives inner city kids an opportunity, for a couple of weeks in the summer, to savor country life and have some experiences they couldn't otherwise enjoy. A donation now will help FAF establish next summer's program, is greatly needed, and will be deeply appreciated. Also, if you have a country or permanent house in a rural area in the Northeast, please consider hosting a child next summer. It's a way to go beyond the giving of money, and to experience firsthand the fruit of your generosity. Please visit FAF's website here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Chanukah on the Chisholm Trail.

Captain Smartypants and the boys do a little country 'n' eastern, working in a tradition begun by the great Kinkster (caution--lyrics of Kinky's song below are NSFW):

A tip o' the hat to Andy Bachenheimer.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

College football: Gator-Sooner showdown.

I was tempted to predict that the Tide would roll over Florida in the SEC championship game this weekend, but with fresh memory of my last prognostication failure, I was fortunate by being reticent. Now I feel the same temptation concerning the BCS championship game against Oklahoma, a team I've never much liked. But I had the same misgivings concerning the Gators in their championship matchup with Ohio State a couple of years ago, and was proved wrong. I used to have an uncanny sense of when Florida was going to go flat, but they seem to have lost their once unfailing ability to break their fans' hearts. Even their one loss this season, to Ole Miss, seems less embarassing now that the Rebels have cracked the top 25 in the BCS rankings.

The Gators are number one and the Sooners second in the AP poll, while their positions are reversed in the USA Today coaches' poll. Does this mean that Bob Stoops is now more popular with fellow coaches, or Urban Meyer less so?