November 23, 2004

My S--- Doesn't Work in the World Series

  • I know it's a slight variation of Billy Beane's now-famous line from Moneyball, but my s--- doesn't work in the World Series. Or at least it didn't this year. I advanced to the World Series in both of my Diamond-Mind keeper leagues this year, but came up empty each time. In the first league, I took a 3-2 lead over Bill Liming's team and then blew the final two games. Then I nearly got swept in the second league, staving off elimination with a Game 4 win, before losing 4-1 to Joe Dimino's team.

    Before the series, Joe told me, "It's going to take a miracle for me to beat you." Some miracle. My defense was as bad as a defense could possibly be, booting routine grounders, throwing balls into the stands, dropping fly balls, botching double plays, and overthrowing all sorts of cutoff men. It was a mess, although I suppose that's what I get for having an Aubrey Huff-Derek Jeter-Alfonso Soriano-Richie Sexson infield, along with Sammy Sosa in right field. Much like the idiot who threw a full beverage at Ron Artest in Detroit, I was asking for it (although unlike the guy in Detroit, I actually got it).

    It's back to the drawing board for next year. I am blowing up my team in one league, trading away all of my veteran players (Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Brad Radke, etc.) and rebuilding on the fly. In the other league, I'm not planning on any huge changes, but it could be a sub par year thanks to guys like Barry Zito, Derek Lowe, Sexson and Sosa having rough seasons (Diamond-Mind replays the previous year, so "next year" will be 2004).

    The good news is that I have now played five full seasons of Diamond-Mind, three years in one league and two years in another. I have made the playoffs in all five seasons and have been to the World Series four times, which sounds really impressive. The bad news is that I have just one championship to show for it, with little hope of another next year.

  • Actors always talk about not wanting to get "type cast," and a fate even worse than that is when you have one memorable role and then spend the rest of your life being remembered solely for that. For instance, the guy who played "Steve Urkel" on Family Matters could make 1,000 incredible movies and play 1,000 incredible parts and he will still always be "the guy who played Steve Urkel." Just ask Jason Alexander how many people call him "George" every day.

    So there I was watching Elf, a very solid, entertaining movie starring Will Ferrell and James Caan. Right in the middle of it, I saw a familiar face on the screen -- Artie Lange from The Howard Stern Show, who was playing a mall Santa Claus. From the moment I saw Artie until the moment his scene was over, I couldn't concentrate on the movie or suspend reality for even a second. In fact, I literally yelled out, "Artie!" when he popped up on screen. Luckily for Artie his one memorable role is playing himself on a radio show.

    Speaking of Howard Stern, he had a funny bit on this very subject a few years ago. He was talking about the difficulty some actors have getting past their one famous role and he brought up Fred Gwynne from The Munsters as an example. Gwynne was an actor for 40 years and appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, but as Howard said, when he saw Gwynne playing the role of "Judge Chamberlain Haller" in My Cousin Vinny, the only thing he could think of was, "Hey, Herman Munster is a judge!"

  • I talked a little while back about what a great show Scrubs is, and a bunch of you e-mailed me to recommend Garden State, a movie written by, directed by, and starring Scrubs star Zach Braff. I checked it out over the weekend and thought it was fantastic. Braff plays a very similar character to "J.D." from Scrubs (which is probably just himself, with different names) and his co-star, Natalie Portman, was also excellent.

    Her character is one of those girls you can't help but have a crush on, like Elisha Cuthbert's "Danielle" in The Girl Next Door and Scarlett Johansson's "Charlotte" in Lost in Translation. I wasn't a big Portman fan before this, but I have a newfound respect for her now. Either that or I just wish I could pick up a cute girl who is a pathological liar and has to wear a helmet at the doctor's office.

  • I was cruising the NFL boxscores from this weekend yesterday when I noticed Eagles fullback Thomas Tapeh rushed for 14 yards on four carries against the Redskins. It was the first I had seen Tapeh's name this year, although he apparently had three prior carries for three yards back in Week 1. Minnesotans will remember Tapeh from his days with the Gophers, where he was an oft-injured running back and then an oft-injured fullback who was very productive during the rare times he was healthy.

    What I will always remember Tapeh for is a game he had in high school against my alma mater, Highland Park. Tapeh rushed for a state-record 385 yards with me in attendance back in 1997. It was easily one of the most remarkable athletic feats I have ever seen, as Tapeh looked not totally unlike a pinball all night long. I would guess he was actually tackled no more than two or three times, either scoring a touchdown or mercifully running out of bounds every other time he touched the ball.

    I remember going to the concession stand near one end zone at some point in the second half, with Tapeh's team (Johnson) winning by multiple touchdowns. The play was at the other end of the field, at least 80 yards away, and all of a sudden I saw this lone player running towards me, getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer. Needless to say it was the longest of six touchdowns he scored that night. He also kicked an extra-point just for good measure and even lined up at quarterback a few times, just to screw with our minds a little bit.

    Tapeh is a guy to root for. He has a pretty intriguing personal story (grew up in Liberia, struggled to pass entrance exams to get into school) and is an example of an incredible talent who had a number of major setbacks and still persevered. He was a burner in high school, a guy who was a stud halfback and track star, and then had to completely change his body and his game because he kept breaking his feet in college (first he'd break one and recover, then he'd break the other one). And now he's an NFL fullback.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:

    - Of Fades, and Flops, and Zoilo (by Steve Treder)

    - The Free Agent Win Shares Chart (by Studes)

    No Comments

    No comments yet.

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.