All Time Team

This is going to be a long post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

While I was driving to Wichita today, I decided to create my all-time baseball team. The rules are of course not simple. This isn’t the player who is the best at each position, rather, this is a team I would create of players in history. To qualify, a player has to have played not only the position, but also the role in mind for at least one year. In other words, I can’t choose Jeff Bagwell to back up Lou Gehrig because Bagwell wasn’t really a backup in the majors. I am also saying that players who are currently extremely young can be chosen for backup roles, catcher will provide the obvious example for this rule.

Anyway, here it is. I suspect there will be a lot of differences of opinion on this. This list was not created from any exhaustive search so I’m sure I’m going to miss someone, but here it is.

Catcher

I’m going to make an exception to my rule of each player fitting their role immediately at catcher, but I believe I can justify it. I’m picking Yogi Berra, but not just at catcher. I’m going to take advantage of his versatility and play him at C, 1B, LF and DH. In other words, he’s likely to be in the lineup most days, just not necessarily in the same position. This allows me to have another starting catcher in my mind because both will get enough playing time that they won’t complain. That other starting catcher is Pudge Rodriguez. I agree that Johnny Bench is probably better, but I chose IRod because I wanted to have one Texas Ranger on the team and because IRod has shown a wide variety of skills, including stealing bases. Since Berra provides so much versatility, I’m going to choose one more catcher. Since I like to load up and take advantage of platoon splits, I’d like a left-handed or switch-hitting catcher. While there are several choices, I’m going to take Joe Mauer who slides in because of the prospect exemption. Hey, my game, my rules, and I can futz with them if I want to.

First Base

We only need one first baseman, both because of his durability and because of Berra. This was one of the easier choices, and I’m going with Lou Gehrig.

Second Base

This too was an easy choice, with Joe Morgan starting. He may have no clue what made him a great player now that he’s an announcer, but he was a tremendous top of the lineup hitter. As a backup, we’re going to select uberutility guy Jose Oquendo. He played nearly every position on the field, played them well, got on base, and had a bit of speed. What more do you want from a utility guy?

Shortstop

This is where the harder decisions start. This one was hard because it affected who I was going to choose at third, because this shortstop played third for at least a season as well. No, not ARod, who won’t make any time I control because of his disdain for his fellow players, but rather Honus Wagner, the best shortstop ever and one of the best third sackers as well. I almost put him at third, but I went another route. The presence of Oquendo, by the way, allows me to not have a backup shortstop.

Third Base

Here’s a controversial choice. I’m picking Chipper Jones. I could have picked Mike Schmidt, who was a better player. I could also have picked George Brett, or ARod at short and moved Wagner here. I, however, picked Chipper because he’s a switch hitter who hits both sides well, has stolen some bases, and can play short in a pinch, not to mention left. Again, Oquendo frees me from the need to have a backup here, and Berra even played a game here once, so I should be covered.

Left Field

Barry Bonds. Easy choice. I’m taking Ted Williams too, but I’m allowing myself a DH, and Williams is the ultimate DH.

Center Field

Here is where I’m going to get controversial again. Mays is out there. Cobb, too. Rickey played some in center as well. No, I’m going with the guy who I want to lead this team off, and that’s Tim Raines. I believe that Cobb, Henderson and Raines all played enough in center to justify them playing there, so I could pick any of them. As hitters, Raines is certainly the worst of the three, but in my mind I want a switch hitting leadoff guy, and that’s Raines. It’s not like he’s chopped liver, either. My backup in center is Mike Cameron, who one year for the White Sox hammered lefties, played great defense in both center and right, and who can pinch-run.

Right Field

I’m going to stretch a bit here and put Mickey Mantle here. I know I’m forgetting the Babe, but I like switch hitters and players who can run as well as hit. I also know I could easily put Mantle in center and instead of stretching a bit at two positions, be legit at center and stretch in right with Raines. Doesn’t matter really, an outfield of Bonds, Raines, and Mantle ought to get to most things. I am, however, going to completely stretch a bit by picking the Babe as the backup in right field. I figure he can pitch, pinch hit, rest Mantle’s knees, and do a bunch of things. In 1918, with the Red Sox, this was sort of his role, so I don’t think it’s a stretch.

Starting Pitchers

Since I’m not really looking for versatility at starting pitching, I think I’ll just pick my top four, and then go with a couple of combo pitchers to provide the fifth starter and long relief. Anyway, there are a lot of great pitchers out there so I’ll go with my personal preferences. Kansas boy Walter Johnson is the ace, Lefty Grove gives me a lefty if you’ll pardon the redundancy, Greg Maddux is number three, and Pedro Martinez is number four. Pedro probably can make a case for three, but I’m thinking that if there is any advantage to starting different kinds of pitchers on consecutive days, then putting Maddux between the heat of Grove and Pedro should be good.

Utility Pitchers

Basically, these are pitchers that can start and relieve. They’ll provide me choices at the fifth starter role, along with the Babe, so I’ll be able to mix and match. I’m a huge Johan Santana fan, and he’s a dominant lefty. He’ll actually do short work for me a lot, with the occasional start. To make sure I always have enough pitching, I’m picking the ultimate in workhorses, the kind of pitcher every team needs, a knuckleballer. I’m picking Charlie Hough because of his Rangers ties, though I know there’s probably a better choice out there.

Relievers

First, I’m picking Eric Gagne. Who else would be the closer than a French-Canadian, eh? But I like having a second closer, and I’m picking Rich Gossage. The Goose could pitch 1 inning, 2 innings, 3 innings, and pitch at any point in the game. He may not like having been paired with Sparky Lyle, but he has been in this role. I’m going to use Santana primarily as the left-handed setup guy to finish a three headed monster closing games out. I’m also picking Mike Marshall as the other reliever, again, as a guy who did whatever was needed in the bullpen. Here I’m going to apologize to Ted and say that I’ve changed my mind. Originally I was going to have Jesse Orosco, but with the presence of the Babe I can have both 11 pitchers and 15 position players.

So, I have one position open. I think I need one more utility infielder. I’m going to stretch here a bit as well, because he was always a starter, but I want one more Ranger. This guy played over 1000 games at third, 800 games at short, and 200 games at second. He had a career OPS+ of 114. He was nearly a 30-30 guy when it was very unusual (1977). He wasn’t great at any one skill, but he was good at basically everything. Toby Harrah fills out my roster, which is:

c: Berra, IRod, Mauer
1b: Gehrig
2b: Morgan, Oquendo
3b: Jones, Harrah
ss: Wagner
lf: Bonds, Williams
cf: Raines, Cameron
rf: Mantle, Ruth
sp: Johnson, Grove, Maddux, Pedro
utp: Hough, Santana, Ruth
rel: Marshall, Santana, Gossage
cl: Gagne

And here’s the lineup:
cf Raines (s)
2b Morgan (l)
ss Wagner (r)
lf Bonds (l)
dh Williams (l)
rf Mantle (s)
1b Gehrig (l)
c Berra (r)
3b Jones (s)

Yeah, I’d live with that lineup. Anyway, hope you liked my little flight of fantasy. I’m curious what players you all would choose. I know that there are a lot of players that I chose because of my heart and then found a way to justify them, but hey, it’s my team 🙂

Stuff

Well, lots to get to, so here goes.

First, I want to thank Angelo for one of the best fights in my life. I had a great time at Toys for Tots and even the fight with Angelo was one of the reasons why. He may have advanced, but we both won.

Found out today that they’re working on a sequel for Boondock Saints. If you’ve not seen the movie, it’s fantastic; a dark, violent, hilarious morality play with three fascinating characters. Trust me, you’ll have to stop and replay the cat scene just to be sure you actually saw it right the first time. It would have one of the best soundtracks ever but they never published it. Here’s hoping they publish the one from the second one, and here’s hoping they get the Dropkick Murphys to play on it.

DVDs must be getting cheaper, found the Special Edition Magnificent Seven and the D-Day Anniversary edition of Saving Private Ryan for a combined $23.87 today. Watching Brynner, Bronson, McQueen, Cobern, et. al. as we speak.

My DVD wish list is huge. I don’t watch TV hardly at all anymore, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t shows I like. I have found that I love to watch them by season, so all of the shows that I really like all tempt me for their season DVD packs. And this doesn’t include the sets like Ken Burns Baseball and Akira Kurosawa and other stuff. Oh, and don’t forget the Dropkick Murphys DVD. And the Glory Special Edition. And the rest of the Cadfael, Sharpe, and Monty Python series. And…, well, you get the picture. Still, it’s been a good week, getting Clerks X, Magnificent Seven, Saving Private Ryan, Young Guns, and Time Bandits for only about $60 total.

And now I’m finding more bands along the lines of the Murphys I’m looking at. The Real MacKenzies are just one of several bands similar to the Murphys. More to find.

Anyway, Christmas is coming up. If you can’t find something to buy me from the previous rant, you just aren’t looking.

My current writing project is a comparison of the Anglo-Saxon fyrd and the use of the levee-in-masse in Catalonia during the Reconquista. If you have any suggestions for research materials, leave me a comment.

Thanks go out to Ferd for the most recent homework, though the rest of the family wasn’t as enthused. We had to read El Cid and then do a short poem in the Alexandrian verse style it was written in. Not only do I love it, especially the line about how you may find us killed, but you’ll never find us vanquished, but it prompted me for what I’m going to do for Queen’s Prize Tourney.

I’ve had a lot of fun at SCA events recently. Feast of the Bear was a blast. Thanks to everyone in Ealdormere, especially Medb, for the fun. Trebuchets and pumpkins and gravity in Ivory Keep was very memorable. And Toys for Tots was an absolute blast, as I mentioned. Kris Kinder is coming up, then Twelfth Night and the knighting of one of the best people I know, Michael Nymandius, Queen’s Prize, War Maneuvers, Estrella. Man that’s a lot of fun to look forward to. You know you’re an absolute SCA geek when you’re anxious for the holidays to be over because they interfere with your event schedule.

“We deal in lead, friend.”

And I’m dealing in finally being done with this update.

Rangers vs. A’s Fans

OK, so this whole thing between the Rangers bullpen and the fans of the Oakland A’s has me extremely pissed.

For those who don’t know, the members of the Texas Rangers bullpen got into an altercation with the fans behind the bullpen. One Texas pitcher, Frank Francisco, during the altercation through a chair into the stands and hit a lady on her nose, breaking it.

First, let me say I’m extremely pissed at Francisco and hope MLB suspends him for at least the rest of the year and the Rangers consider demoting him. Please note that I am a Rangers fan and Francisco’s been pretty good this year. Still, this was unexcusable.

But I’m more upset at the A’s fans. What is coming out of A’s management is that the A’s fans did nothing wrong to cause the altercation. I don’t believe it. Francisco was not the only upset Ranger, though Doug Brocail and the other Texas relievers didn’t do anything stupid like Francisco did.

This is the same bullpen where an altercation broke out last playoff year between A’s fans and Red Sox players. The Rangers made several calls early in the game for more security, but the ballpark manager said he never got those requests. I should point out that the umpires, who don’t have anything to do with such requests, heard about them. The ballpark manager, David Rinetti, has repeatedly said that the fans did nothing wrong.

OK, if that’s true, what about this? In the paper today the husband of the lady hit by the chair said he was heckling the Ranger pitchers. He also said it was “an American tradition.” He said he and his wife bought tickets near the bullpen just “so we can get on them a little bit.” The lady who got hit said, “it’s part of going to a baseball game, I don’t think he did anything wrong.”(Here’s the link for those quotes: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1882359). Not surprisingly, they’re looking at suing the Rangers, Francisco, and probably the A’s.

This is not at all to excuse Francisco, who claims he was grabbed and assaulted by A’s fans before throwing the chair. There is no excuse for him or his actions.

Nonetheless, I am pissed even more at these ‘fans’. Francisco screwed up in a fit of anger. These fans calmly and coolly planned on spending probably $100 per game so that they would have the privilege of insulting other human beings. When those human beings finally had had enough and retaliated, these ‘fans’ are going to try and get rich.

Great, maybe I should start planning on being rude to waitresses. How about bank tellers. Random businesspeople. Hopefully one of them will break my nose and I can sue their company for millions.

No, there are no good guys in this. There are two jerks, David Rinetti, who doesn’t seem to care about the security of opposing ballplayers, and Rangers manager Buck Showalter, whose defense of his player was idiotic. There is the bad guy, Frank Francisco, and the worse guys, that would be Jennifer and Craig Bueno. Should they have had a chair thrown at them? Of course not. Should they have gotten tickets so they could insult other human beings who happen to play for a different team? I say no. I say, if you poke the bear, you accept that the bear might bite.

Time

Time is a valuable thing
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
– Linkin Park

Well, it’s only been over two months since the last post. What happened? Mostly Pennsic. Pennsic was tremendous and I was really glad to go for both weeks. I was struck by the difference of that first week from any other SCA event I’ve ever attended. It was an actual vacation as opposed to a war. Of course, the war came later and it was fantastic. Magnus giving me Calontir’s 2nd Company is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Only a short post for now, though I’ll probably put up a link for the Quest for Ferd later on.

Laziness

Yes, I’m lazy when it comes to updating journals and stuff. I warned you about that in my first post.

But there’s lots to talk about since then, so here are some quick hits.

First, congrats to Iggy and Richard de Bleys. They are very deserving.

I wonder how Reagan will be perceived in 100 years.

Speaking of deaths, condolences to Ralph Wiley’s family. Wiley was a good sportswriter, and though I quite often didn’t agree with him, he was always thought provoking.

I’m sure glad the Pistons won. I have gotten very tired of Kobe and the Lakers. I don’t know if Kobe’s guilty or not of rape, but he’s certainly guilty of adultery and overexposure. I would love to just shake some sense into those writers who commended him for his basketball play after having to fly back from Colorado. You know, had he not had an affair, this would not be happening. If his play suffered from the travels, then he owes his teammates and fans a bigtime apology. If it doesn’t, then he’s doing his job. Neither of these options deserve huge kudos.

Had beers with Hereward on Saturday night. That was a lot of fun, I suspect we might just do that again. Took Medb to Harry Potter on Sunday. Happy Birthday, you too, both on 20 June.

I’ll think of more later, but that’s enough for now. Hardly Gleeman-length (see www.aarongleeman.com), but close enough.

A Different Note

I’ve been debating mentioning this hear, but I’m thinking that even though it’s been a couple of weeks, I still should say something.

I’m a very big baseball fan and baseball is a sport that is doing extremely well despite the current commissioner. Baseball is extremely profitable, again despite the dire warnings from Bud Selig. These warnings tend to drive people away, but he’s only concerned about getting money from states and municipalities to create new stadiums.

An example, when owners creatively financed their own stadiums, such as Peter Magowan of San Francisco, Selig threatened to enforce a rule long defunct that could theoretically take away the team from such owners.

One response to this was as follows:
“That lesson won’t be lost in other cities, where owners demanding new stadia will soon be explaining that while they’d love to help pay for their facilities, Commissioner Selig won’t let them. Coming in the wake of the Minnesota Twins’ argument that holding them to the terms of the Metrodome lease they renewed six weeks before the contraction announcement “derides the free market system, blasts the fundamental policies of free enterprise and private ownership, and assures this court that government knows best,” it’s apparent that MLB really does consider itself above the law: the only business entitled to millions of dollars in public subsidies with no obligation in return.”

This response was written by Doug Pappas in an article on Baseball Prospectus at:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1380. Many of you probably won’t be able to read the whole article, because it’s a subscription service.

However, at http://www.roadsidephotos.com/baseball/index.htm you can read a great deal about what Doug Pappas has researched over the business of baseball. He dispels many of the rumors and outright lies purported by the Commissioner’s office in order to get more money.

This is important in another way. When baseball collective bargaining agreement discussions begin again, the owners will make sure that everyone knows how much money MLB players are making. They’ll say they’re losing money and that they’re having to drive ticket, concession, and parking prices up in order to pay their players. It’s a seductive argument, one that appeals to our wonder at people making millions playing a game.

But the owners are lying. The articles Doug Pappas has written show the numbers and the truth behind baseball economics. The owners make millions while the value of their team rises at the same time. It’s like getting a huge amount of rent while still living at the house and being able to sell the property for 20 times what you paid for it.

Two weeks ago, Pappas died hiking in Big Bend. While I won’t assume that the Commissioner’s office is happy about any person’s death, I’ll bet there was a certain amount of relief as this happened just as Pappas was flowing into the mainstream media. The owners know that their ability to negotiate their next CBA just got a little bit easier.

Much Better

Well, having vented, and having gone into my cave, I feel much better. I still have no idea what I’m going to do in the fall, but I’ve started researching places to apply at. We’ll see what happens, I’m sure something will come up.

Saw Shrek 2 last night, that didn’t hurt either. It’s a very funny movie, and one which bears repeated watching to get all the little stuff. I didn’t see anything quite so wrong as Mama Bear from the first one, but there were a ton of great scenes.

Some quick hits:

I never realized the Fairy Godmother had such an agenda.

I want the battleaxe from the Medieval Meal at Friar’s Big Boy.

I wish they’d used John Cleese more.

Antonio Banderas does make a good swashbuckler, by the way. I need to get a hat and practice my wide-eyed stares.

Doing shots of milk at the Poison Apple.

Larry King as the Ugly Stepsister.

I hear that the movie has done so well that there’s going to be a Shrek 3 and a Shrek 4. Don’t exactly know what fairy tales they’ve missed poking fun at by now, but I’m sure they’ll think of something. Wonder if they’re smart enough to do a Puss-in-Boots movie with Banderas. I’d pay to see that.

Mama Bear? If you don’t watch closely you don’t see what happens to hear, but it’s quite funny in a completely non-Disney way. When they’re rounding up the Fairy Tale creatures, the whole family is there, Mama with her pink ribbon, Papa and Baby with his blue ribbon, Bear. That’s the last time you see her… except when Farquad is looking at the Magic Mirror in his bed, it pans very quickly over his bedroom showing a lovely bearskin rug with a pink ribbon. Subtle and twisted.

A Correction

Yesterday, Medb made a comment about yesterday’s post. She informed me that I had forgetten the support of my friends.

She’s absolutely right, and I’m not being fair to my friends. I struggle very much asking for help, but have little problem offering it. I suppose this is hubris but whatever the reason, it is something that big brother Duncan would hit me in the head for and tell me to accept that help.

He’s right too, but it’s ironic because he’s just as bad if not worse, he’s just had longer to get wiser. For a bit, though, I’m caving. I’m throwing myself into books and recharging. I’m not avoiding Latin, though I am avoiding the organization of the class and the need to take charge in the study group.

I am extremely angry and bitter at the Centre for Medieval Studies right now. I was not angry at all when I was not accepted for a PhD here. I knew it was a hard competition and though I was not happy, I could see that others might have presented better options for CMS.

I don’t feel that way about the MA application. Dr. Orchard, whom I have a lot of respect for hinted that I could still apply for an MA here, which as it would take only a year would fit nicely timewise. I could have focused on Latin and Old English, and thus while a second MA was not overly important, the skills of a year thrown into languages would have been very useful.

They said no to me again and this time I’m pissed. I’ve hung around with their MA students for two summers now. I know who they have accepted. They are good people and have the makings of fine scholars.

But they’re not better than me. They do not have more credentials. They have less experience. I started the study group in the Beginning Latin last summer. I never really tooted my horn on that, but I’m going to now. Sarah, who taught the class, has told me and many of the people around the Centre how helpful that the study group was. She told me yesterday that a girl I met at Kalamazoo, Hilary, had gotten up in this year’s Beginning Latin and said exactly what I said last year. I’m not surprised, I told her exactly what I did last year and how it helped. She told me she thought that was a great idea at Kalamazoo and that she’d probably do that in the program.

This is good. I find it ironic however, that her and her fellow students, many of whom will be taking the MA program, are benefitting from my idea. I find it especially ironic, given that I started a study group in the MA summer Latin, and once again I was the leader, the instructor, the tutor, the prime force behind it. If I do not go, nothing gets done. The irony comes from the help that my construct gave to many MA students over a couple of years at CMS.

But the powers that be at CMS do not think that I’m good enough for their program.

I don’t actually know that. It is possible I got unlucky and got put out because of numbers. That does not appease me however, as I know what I need and I would not have overly taxed them. In fact, I might very well have helped them, given I’d have continued the study group over the year.

But at least I can take comfort in the study groups themselves. I can take a lot of pride in leaving a legacy. I feel good that there are people who have and will do better because of my idea.

“In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river ran,
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.”

It seems like Coleridge wrote that for me at this point. I have created something that is worthwhile in my mind, and yet it exists in the sunless sea of my anger right now.

Greetings

Well, I’ve finally decided to start this, convinced by a variety of happenings. Who knows how well I’ll continue to keep this updated, given my track record with any kind of diary, blog, or journal previously, but I’ll try it.

I have entitled this journal The Wanderer, which seems a very fit title to and for me. The title comes from the Anglo-Saxon poem which is at: http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a3.6.html in Old English or at http://faculty.uca.edu/~jona/texts/wanderer.htm in Modern English.

I do find myself adrift right now, a fact which has little to do with the many miles I have driven this year, over 24k thus far. No, it has much more to do with my uncertainty and frustration with myself and my life right at this point. I find myself not knowing what it is I’ll be doing after 22 August. I have no job lined up and no current academic prospects for the 2004-2005 year. This is extremely frustrating to me, as I felt, perhaps arrogantly, that the transition from the MA level to PhD opportunities would not be as troublesome as they have turned out to be.

While I am certain I’ll find a job teaching at some level, I worry that this will be a setback in my academic career. While a setback in and of itself is unimportant, they’ve happened before, I worry about the loss of momentum. I have never truly completed anything previously, and I worry that this is the start of the incompletion of my current goal, that being the attainment of a PhD and the career of a professor. I truly feel that I am supposed to be a professor, it fits me in so many ways that I was not able to realize earlier in my life. It is also a career that is a fitting tribute to my parents and grandparents, to whom I owe the opportunity to pursue this. Dad feels that I’m resilient and perhaps I am, but I do not know if I could bear to fail in this.

This would be less troublesome if there were any stability in my life in other ways, but that is not the case either. Recently divorced from a fine woman who I wish in many ways I could have stayed with, I am unable to commit to another fine woman who deserves so much more than I can give. I have thus excluded myself from the comfort and stability of a partner, which is troublesome not only to me in the short term but frightening in long term as I wonder if I can ever truly be a partner myself.

Thus I begin this journal on a somber note. The optimist that I am will I’m sure show it’s head soon but this is a cold rainy day following a very discouraging weekend with no place to call home in sight.

“Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas?
Eala beorht bune! Eala byrnwiga!
Eala þeodnes þrym!

Where is the horse? Where the young warrior? Where now the gift-giver?
Where are the feast-seats? Where all the hall-joys?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas byrnied warrior!
Alas the lord’s glory!

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.