Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The 2017 Major League Draft is On Hunter Greene Time

Out of nowhere last night C asks me if I want to watch the MLB draft.  I told him "sure," unsure why he wanted to watch it.  But to spend time with my 15 year old son without the pretense of telling him some life lesson really appealed to me. 

When I walked back into the living room - our so called couch room - I was the draft on and he was sitting on the couch.

"So who do you think is going to be taken #1" I asked.

"This 17 year old kid from California.  He throws the ball 102 MPH and hits bombs..." C explains to me.

"102 MPH?" I picked my head up.  "Really?  What's his name?"

Not the greatest throwing motion...
"Hunter Greene" C tells me, as he shows me a video of him pitching.  That's impressive as I'm watching his highlight package that any recruiting service would be proud of.  "He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated last week."

"What's Sports Illustrated??" I say half-joking.

We then hear the MLB Network guys tell us that Minnesota is on the clock.  Oh, I forgot how much I dislike Harold Reynolds.  2 hours of listening to him not giving me any insight at all should be fun.  I have never even heard of the other guys.  I guess they didn't take any castoffs from ESPN.

I look at Baseball America's website to look up a little more about Greene.  Topping radar guns at 101-102, he throws 4 pitches for strikes.  At the same time he has a lot of pop in his bat at his position of shortstop.  Quite an impressive resume.  I also noticed that he worked extensively with Alan Jaeger.  The guy who teaches long toss and has those bands that I have trouble talking to c about, much less institute.  I think C knows more about this kid than he knows about anyone on the Red Sox.  The Twins are still on the clock.

And the Twins are still on the clock.  I guess it is not an advantage that the Twins have an extra 10 minutes to decided since they have had since the season ended to decide who they were going to take First overall.  Finally Rob Manfred comes up to the podium to declare the first overall selection. 

The Twins ended up taking a different shortstop from California, however - Royce Lewis from Jserra Catholic HS.  Another kid with a lot of pop, but also plus speed.  The Reds picking second end up taking Greene.  I would rather go to Cincinnati myself than Minneapolis.  C remarks that the Lewis is not that good, even in High School and he has not idea where "UC Irvine" is - the school Lewis committed to.  I tell him that maybe it has to do with signability, although one would have heard about that before hand.

C and I watch for a couple of more hours.  I finally turn off the TV when the Red Sox selected Tanner Houck from Missouri.  A lot of talent in the first round.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

6 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why Is Important

13 Reasons Why is one of the most controversial series in a long time, they said. Depicting a Girl's descent into a mindset that suicide was her only option, and her friend's anguished attempt at trying to understand it, "13 Reasons Why" became a flash point for child psychologists everywhere.  It was a triggering situation for vulnerable youths.  It depicted a high school that really couldn't exist in reality.  It wasn't lighthearted enough.  Numerous reasons abounded for why "13 Reason Why" was bad for kids and their parents alike.  Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen are bad for our kids!

I'm here though to tell you that there were actually 6 reasons why "13 Reasons Why" was actually a useful and necessary show to come along.

1.  The Music.  OK, C would not say that the music was one of the best things about the show, but the atmospheric 1990's alternative music sensibility was perfect for the show.  The show was moody, somber and serious.  So was the music from the 1990's.  The Cure and Joy Division?  Count me in. And the final scene with Bob Mould's "See a Little Light?"  What a great song for this show.  I'm still humming.

2.  The Cinematography.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice that as Bryce's tape was playing and for all scenes afterward, all of the blues were accentuated while all of the other colors became muted.  Maybe a parlor trick, but you just don't see TV shows with these kinds of processes.

3.  Clay's Tape.  I admit that the melodrama was thick with this show, and especially so when the lead character finally listens to his tape.  This was a deeply affecting episode and I felt awful when Clay declares that "I killed Hannah Baker and breaks down in Tony's arms.  Heartbreaking.

4.  The Symbolism.  I hope I'm not forcing things here but it seemed reasonably plausible that that last scene I talked about before did not feature anyone who was alive.  Tony was clearly a guardian angel.  I don't have an answer for his boyfriend since he was a bit player with few lines.  Clay could have easily thrown himself off of the cliff.  Skye also slit her wrists as shown when Tony and Clay were in the cafe.  I think what we saw were four dead people driving off on the highway at the end.

5.  Real Depiction of Teenage Angst.  Hey, I was a teenager once.  And I am raising one, soon to be two teenagers.  The tapes were a microcosm of teenage life.  Every tape depicted something important in Hannah's life, but only a couple were actually important.  A couple of the tapes were, taken by themselves, not terribly important.  The poem tape?  Not really a big deal.  And I'm still unsure what Marcus did.  But no matter, these were important tapes to Hannah.  Just like typical teenage angst.

6.  Talking to the Kids.  This is the big one.  Since I finished the last episode a couple of weeks ago, I have been able to have a heart to heart with C.  But we've also had small conversations with both C and G about the show.  We have talked about how disturbing the suicide scene was.  I have talked about the music that I like.  And we have talked to the kids about how bad at his job Mr. Porter was.  All of the time trying to reinforce how much they mean to me. Yeah, this was an important show at an important time.

And all of the words we said yesterday, well that's a long time ago.  Sing it Bob Mould.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

No Hitter Time in America

No Hitter Time
C has been pitching lights out this year so far.  Except when he was held in there for an inning too long, things has been really happening for him. out of state, EBL or AAU, it hasn't mattered, the fastball has been snapping, the curveball that he has been working on has been biting.  Long story short, C has been pitching really well.

Then came his recent game in Raynham against one of his AAU teams - East Coast Bulls.  He felt strong pitching 5 no hit innings for his school team Xavierian on Monday, things were looking up for his Saturday pitching performance on Saturday.

And it was impressive.  7 innings, no hitter.  The first one of his career.  the innings that I watched were no contest.  His curveball was rocking and setting up the fast ball nicely.  He ended up with 13 strikeouts, and no hits. His first full no - hitter of his career.  Hopefully, not the last.

Oh, by he way, he went 3 for 3 in the game as well, the only hitter with more than  hit in the 5-0 shutout.  Sadly, his coach lost his ipad in the second game, as c went another 2 for 2 in his two at-bats.  One of the best doubleheaders, he has ever had.  Not bad considering his Father was watching him.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

When Did Rajon Rondo Become the Villain

Rajon Rondo was one of the keys to the Celtics' 2008 Championship.  He was the de facto captain of the Celtics after KG and Paul Pierce were exiled to Brooklyn before the 2013-14 season.  During his Celtics' tenure, he was a troubled but transcendent star.  He would fight with coaches, and then lead the team in points rebounds and assists.  Even after he was traded to the Mavericks, we fans celebrated him because his trade brought Jae Crowder and a first round draft pick.    I personally have not thought about him for quite some time and when Rondo showed up on the Bulls this season,  had no idea how.

When the Bulls were struggling mid-season, everyone in Chicago wanted to trade Rondo (although they wanted to trade Butler too.)  Rondo was floundering, blaming Wade and butler and generally looking disinterested.

But then the 2017 Playoffs started and things changed.  Really changed.  After the Bulls raced to a 2-0 lead, all the credit was given to Rondo for playing like his old self.  Danny Ainge even lamented that they were seeing "Playoff Rondo."  People were comparing this Rondo to that of the 2008 and 2009 Rondo.  Huh?? 

Look, My Thumb is Fine
Then for reasons I still don't understand, Rondo broke his thumb and he was out of the series.  Oh well, I thought.  I really didn't think he was the reason for the Bulls winning or losing anyway.  I thought that his involvement int eh series was over.  Put on a suit, Rajon!!

And then during Game 3, after Jae Crowder was celebrating a made 3 in front of the Bulls bench, you could see Rondo stick his leg out as Crowder was walking by.  All of a sudden, he was vilified in this area.  C and G both remarked to me how much they hated Rondo.  And int eh span of about 30 minutes, they both asked me if I had seen Rondo trip Crowder.

And after Rondo was fined $25,000 by the league for the "Trip" everyone seemed glad that he was caught and punished.  Forget about the fact that he is saying that he plans to appeal that decision even though he really didn't deny doing it

To go along with this, the intensity of the games seemed to ratchet up.  Watch Game 4 with G and DLG, they are both wondering why the teams seem to be playing so hard.  Even Mike Gorman was saying that things were crazy. 

All this because of little Rajon.  Ray Allen is somewhere shaking his head.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Joe Kelly is the Key to the Red Sox 2017 Season

Would you believe me if I told you that Joe Kelly had a 19-8 record in his 57 games with the Red Sox since he was traded along with Allen Craig and a bag of donuts from the Cardinals for John Lackey.  Now his ERA and his WHIP are not that great, but at the end of the day, those statistics don't win games.

Kelly had spent his first couple of years as a starter trying to parlay his plus curveball and straight 95 MPH fastball into lasting success.  That success was not forthcoming and he was relegated to the bullpen at the end of last year.

As 2017 rolled around and Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith remained laid up (of course guys named Tyler and Carson are not the toughest), Joe Kelly's role went from after thought to genuine set up man.  Koji isn't here anymore and Matt Barnes is really not that good when the game is on the line, so Kelly inherited the set up role for Craig Kimbrel.  I'm here to tell you that Joe Kelly is now the key to the Red Sox 2007 season.

Now the Red Sox have not been know for having lights out set up men in their most successful of seasons.  2013 saw Junichi Tazawa set up Koji.  Where did Tazawa go anyway?  2004 and 2007 both say Mike Timlin as the set up man - For Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon, respectively.  Now, he was a nice addition to those teams, but he was not a lights out reliever by an stretch of the imagination. He seemed like a guy you could get a beer with, but not the kind that you could have a stress free beer with.

But times have changed.  Set up men are becoming more important these days.  In fact, you'll see a team's best relievers be set up men who come in with the bases loaded in the 7th inning.  Andrew Miller is a perfect example of this in Cleveland.  Oh yeah, he used to be with the Red Sox...

This is where Joe Kelly steps in to be one of the most important players on the team.  The relief pitching is thin, and we need someone to come in in the 7th and 8th innings. Kelly has been on successful teams in his 6 year career.  He just needs to sustain his confidence and throw strikes.  I for one think he's going to do it.  And the Red Sox will make the playoffs because of it.