The Agency

Posted by rich on July 17th, 2007

Last night I had the opportunity to watch the Commodores play Hyannis in my little luxury box behind home plate, like every other night. My buddy John Cabral, holder of the Collar Up Cup, hung out with me as well, which was cool. We talked about different web sites we like to browse and came up with a few new links for this one (check out the dashboard).

Throughout the game this guy kept popping in and looking over my shoulder to check out some f the pitchers. I figured he was a scout and finally asked him about the sixth inning or so who he was scouting for.

Now usually the answer to that question is one of the MLB teams. Last week I watched a game with a Red Sox scout, and I’ve shot the breeze with guys watching the league from nearly every club in the bigs.

But, he was not working for a big league team. He was working for a big league sports agent.

Now, because this guy was extremely cool, I don’t want to blow his cover (not that it is illegal for the agents to watch the kids play, they’re just not really supposed to have any type of relationship with them). This gentleman is an executive for a high-powered agency that represents several players you’ve heard of.

Now the normal baseball fan hears about agents and thinks about how they’re “ruining” the game, but this guy explained it as his boss looks out for the best interests of his clients, just as the teams that they’re negotiating with do the same. It was an argument you’ve heard on sports radio a million times, but still interesting to get it from the horse’s mouth.

We talked about he different types of baseball players that his company represents, and they prefer the high ticket ones, and why not? He said of the CCBL talent, there are only a handful of players that have the opportunity to be true MLB stars, and those are the ones that everyone would like to have in their folds, obviously.

I also learned some interesting tidbits about the NYY, but I can’t share those because they’re just heresay at this juncture. Still, it was fun to hear some dirt on those guys.

A fun night at the ballpark (the Commodores won their seventh straight — they’re hotter than hot right now) was made all the more interesting. As a baseball fan, it was an interesting perspective to hear. Cabral and I definitely were intrigued.

Links

glass joeI’m flabbergasted, and in somewhat of a good way. One of the Minnesota Wild actually hosts a hockey camp that teaches kids how to hockey fight. No, I’m not kidding. So much for the over-PC-ification of American sports. This is taking things the opposite way entirely. Something tells me that this is certain to be this week’s Sign of the Apocalypse in SI.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter King and all, and I’m happy that MMQB is back in our lives. Still, what is he thinking picking the Colts as his No. 1 preseason team over the Pats? Pete, c’mon man, the Pats are stacked like the shelves at Stop and Shop. The Colts lost a quarter of their team. Those are the facts.

If he had made today’s final table at the WSOP Main Event, this is the guy that we would have been rooting for. Instead, we’re going to go with the Rain Man.

Nothing like reading about losers. With the Phillies dropping their 10,000th game, Foxsports came up with a list of sports 10 biggest losers.

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Burning It Up, Burning Out

Posted by rich on July 16th, 2007

I will most likely have a more in-depth posting later today, probably this evening during the Commodores’ game against Hyannis. Falmouth is red-hot right now. If you have a chance to get the ballpark, head over and check out the best team in the Cape League right now.

While they may not have the best record, the home team is certainly playing better than anyone else. After starting 1-7, and trust me this writer was about ready to write them off at that point, they have turned things around and played outstanding baseball ever since. The team enters tonight’s action at 14-13. I’ll do the math for you, that’s 13-6 since their bad start. The team has won six in a row, which in the Cape League is HUGE and 9-of-11. With only a 44-game schedule, that’s the kind of run that gets you into the playoffs.

It wasn’t long ago that this team was in fourth place. Now the Commodores are in second and just four points out of first. They also have the third best record in the Cape League heading into tonight’s action. Not bad for a team most of us were ready to write off after eight games.

That’s all the useful info you’ll get out of me right now. I’m brain dead at the moment. I photographed a wedding from 2:30 til 11 PM last night and then had to come home and copy edit the newest issue of Summer Stars (hits your newsstand on Wednesday). Got to bed somewhere around 3ish, and didn’t fall asleep for at least 30 minutes. I’ll tell you, the weddings pay very well, but they are tough on the body. My feet and lower back ache and I’ve been yawning all day.

But, it pays the bills.

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Strange

Posted by rich on July 13th, 2007

If you’re anything like me, you have no idea what to say. That’s the tallest man and the shortest man, who apparently got together for drinks yesterday.

Sorry if that pic threw you for a loop, like it did me. I woke up groggy and then read that Papi’s been playing with a torn miniscus all year, which actually makes sense. That’s a weird way to start your day, then I was surfing and found that stuff. Its already a discombobulating Friday. Let’s hope the weekend is more combobulating.

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Vegas, Van Halen

Posted by rich on July 12th, 2007

Busto

Well, despite all of us rooting for old Jamie Hall to win the World Series of Poker, alas he did not finish in the money, missing out by a couple of hundred places. Jamie was knocked out of the Main Event during yesterday’s action. Here are the email updates I got from him as the day went on.

5:19 PM: “CARD DEAD… I won two small pots and lost two in the first 15 min… Since then I have seen nothing.

k10 and a4 under the gun have been the best I have seen. Literally haven’t played a hand in over an hour.

Only have one move now with 12900 chip and 600 1200 blinds… I hope I find at least jacks.”

8:24 PM: “Three hands after the break I am on the button and it folds to me… I look down and find better than jacks… QQ… the small blind barely thinks and goes all-in. He has a little more than me and turns over aj.

The flop brought an ACE… at least it was also three hearts and I had the Queen of hearts… the turn was a black 2 and the river a black 6 and I am out.

If my memory is correct every tournament when I have been knocked out, I had the best hand but lost. This one really stung.”

Well, there’s always next year. Jamie’s a good player and he wasn’t kidding about getting his money in good. He’s been in Vegas for several WSOP events, and every time he lost, he had the best of it and suffered a bad beat. That’s poker, unfortunately.

Rockin

I heard it first on the radio the other day, and now there’s a buzz that it is actually going to happen. I’m speaking, of course, about the Van Halen reunion tour this fall. For more info, check out this story at billboard.com.

1984As soon as I heard the news I called my buddy Darin, who rarely changes the station from Hair Nation (Channel 23) on his Sirius radio. Darin and I have seen a couple of concerts together (Pearl Jam, Metallica) and have a few that we said we’d have to go to if the opportunity arose. The top two on that list were AC/DC, which we have chances, but never could work out, and VH, with David Lee Roth. I like some of the Sammy Hagar stuff, but Van Halen was at it’s apex with Diamond Dave as the front man.

The only problem with actually purchasing tickets to this show would be whether or not they actually happen. There are myriad problems that could arise with DLR back in the fold with Eddie, Alex and Michael. If I remember correctly, DLR toured with Sammy a year or two ago and left mid-tour because of ego problems.

Of course that’s also part of the excitement of this whole thing. There could be issues with the band, but a lot of times that can lead to memorable performances and an inspired show. The prospects of this have me very excited.

Also, to add to the list of shows I would like to see, there are two other bands that are on my list: The White Stripes and Foo Fighters.

I just picked up the White Stripes new CD, Icky Thump, and I’m pretty impressed. Jack White is one of the most talented musicians out there right now and he’s written some very good stuff. I really dig how the album is kind of all over the place. Some of the tunes are flat-out hard rock, while it also has some very bluesy stuff and some eclectic tunes as well. The title track and “300 MPH” are the two that I’m digging most right now.

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Odds and Ends

Posted by rich on July 11th, 2007

Ichiro’s pretty fast, huh. An inside-the-park homer, standing up, without drawing a throw. I’m glad he won the MVP award, it was the right call, and he’s a great player. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see too much of the game, just the last few innings. How come Putz couldn’t pitch like that against the Sox a couple of weeks back?

Also, what was Tony LaRussa thinking? Why would you bench the best player from your own team? Do you really want to have him angry with you to start the second half? The manager said he was saving Pujols for extra innings, but still, have him take the final at-bat of the game then. I guess it doesn’t really matter in the long run, the Cards aren’t doing anything this year.

I got an email from my buddy Jamie in Vegas. He starts today’s Day 2 in the bottom third of players remaining, around 1,700 of 2,300 left. Still, as he said, Day 1 was about surviving, now he needs to start to accumulate some chips. Hopefully tomorrow’s update will have him still alive in the tournament.

The Commodores travel to Bourne tonight for what really amounts to a big game, even though we’re only half-way through the season. Even though the team has underachieved this season, the whole division really has, and the team finids itself just two points out of second place. With games today and tomorrow (at hyannis) against teams in the division, this is a chance to start to make a move.

hiltonNot that we ever really expected Paris Hilton to get it after her stay in prison, but this is worse than wearing a T-shirt of the band you’re seeing at the concert. Seriously, wearing a T-shirt with an image of yourself on the front.

Still, I guess when you are the heiress to billions and billions of dollars you can do pretty much anything you want … except drive drunk.

That’s all for today, the slowest pro sports day on the calendar.

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Jamie’s Still Kicking

Posted by rich on July 10th, 2007

logoWell, my buddy Jamie is still alive and kicking at the World Series of Poker. He played in Day 1D yesterday, the final Day 1 of the four and has survived to see Day 2 on Wednesday. The players started with a stack of 20,000 chips and right now he’s slightly over 30K. Through email updates he’s told me that the most chips he had any point was around 37,000 after doubling up with pocket aces against pocket queens.

After that he went card dead for a while, but hey, he’s still alive in the big one. Last year he was eliminated late on day one.

I’ll tell you, he’s got to be exhausted. I don’t consider poker a sport, it’s definitely a game, but it is obviously very competitive … and can be exhausting. They played for 16 hours yesterday, and if he’s going to make it to the third day of play, it will take another long, long day at the table.

Wish my buddy luck.

——-

Well, I was right about a right-handed hitter winning the derby, and Pujols definitely had a shot. Albert came up one shy in the semifinals, hitting 13 to Vlad’s 14.

Gotta feel for those people that rented kayaks to sit in the cove and wait for a homer to land near them. The two lefties, B*nds and Howard, both were eliminated early and never hit one on the fly out there. At least they have a story to tell.

Links

With the baseball players at the all-star break, why not think about some football. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to watch the Pats this fall. In this story Scouts Inc. ranks the quarterbacks. No surprises here, they took Mr. Endorsement at No. 1 and then TB No. 2. Still a fun read, and it gets you thinking about football, which is never a bad thing.

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A Bunch of Stuff

Posted by rich on July 9th, 2007

Friday night was bachelor night, so I got to see the one movie this summer that I knew the wife probably wouldn’t check out with me, Live Free or Die Hard. If you are a fan of the John McClane series you absolutely have to go see this movie. if you like guy flicks, stuff blowing up, guns ablazing, one-liners and Kevin Smith looking like a dork, you’ve got to see this movie.

die hardOf all the movies I’ve seen this summer, I think LFODH stands above the rest. It was that much fun. John McClane has a knack for getting himself into precarious situations and then somehow skirting death, and he’s up to his antics again. Throwing in the whole cyber-crime angle was great because McClane is very old school, so a great deal of what is going on is over his head, except for the important stuff, that there’s a bad guy on the loose that needs to be dealt with.

As you’d expect in any blockbuster, there is some action that is so over the top that it is downright silly. There’s an ode to True Lies thrown in there, some dialogue that befits the witty and cocky McClane of the past and an ending that will leave you satisfied, giggling and cringing, all within a five minute span. Basically, it’s everything you’d want from a Die Hard flick. Of the four movies in the franchise, the only one that I think stands above this one is the original.

——-

Tonight’s the most fun part of the All-Star break, the home run derby. I’m going to pick Albert Pujols as the winner, and here’s why. I’ve been to AT&T Park (I took the tour back in late April) and the tour guide explained the way that the wind carries there, and even though the homers you remember from that park are the ones that land in the water, it’s actually a lot easier to hit the ball out to left field than it is to right. The park is an absolute graveyard to right-center. So, I’m going to go with Pujols because he’s the owner of the perfect swing for that place. I’m sure there will be some bombs put into the cove, but when it’s all said and done Albert will win the thing. Even though I don’t think Ryan Howard will take it, his turns at the plate will be fun because you know that he’s capable of putting the ball out in the water.

splashAn interesting factoid about McCovey Cove: prior to this season, almost 500 regular season games had been played at AT&T. Of those games, only 48 balls had been hit into the cove, and 38 of them were hit by Giants, 31 of which was knocked in by B*rry B*nds.

———-

My good friend Jamie Hall, who I went to Liberty U with and have actually stayed in contact with, starts his mission today to be the next Joe Hachem. You’ll notice I said Hachem and not Jamie Gold. Jamie Gold might have won the biggest prize pool ever last year at the World Series of Poker, but the guy got so lucky it’s not even funny. Jamie Hall wants to win by playing well, but I’m sure he’d accept getting lucky too.

Anyways, my buddy bought into the $10K Main Event yesterday and begins the tourney this afternoon, at Noon Vegas time. We’re obviously rooting hard for Jamie, and for lots of reasons, one of which is if he goes deep (which is unlikely, but let’s dream) he’ll be flying me out to Vegas to root him on late in the tournament. That would be awesome, although from what I hear it’s about 120-degrees out there right now, and I’m no fan of the heat. I get salty when it’s 85.

In all there are about 6,000 people registered for the Main Event. Jamie’s a good, solid player, with a little luck he could definitely make a bit of noise and get through to the second day of the tourney. Last year he ended up at the ESPN feature table for a while and was there when Mike Matusow got bumped off. The way they edited the whole thing is hilarious because Jamie’s at the table for all of one hand, and because he didn’t happen to play that hand, all you see of him is the side of his head while Matusow walks away irate.

I’ll update you tomorrow on how he’s doing, and if he’s still in.

——-

Some quick thoughts …..

Don’t worry about the Sox. They got swept by a good team, and could have easily won two of those games. Big deal, they’re still ahead by a ton, and the break comes at a good time.

I’m sad to hear Dale Arnold won’t be doing the Bruins anymore. I like Dale a lot, and his passion for that team was evident. Just another reason not to care any more about hockey in Boston., on the professional level at least.

Dewey finally did it. That’s right, the new dog chewed something of mine that I needed. The headphones I use to listen to my interview recorder are no more. I came home last night to find the butt end of the cord chewed away from the headphones. I’m sure this is just the first casualty of my personal collection of stuff.

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The Haters

Posted by rich on July 6th, 2007

hateradeIt’s not often that I get hate mail regarding this blog, or rather hate comments. Most of the ones that I’ve got have been very positive, either that or spam, lots and lots and lots of spam.

Yesterday, though, I got a diss comment on the blog that cracked me up. I deleted it, but now I wish that i had allowed it to post because of its stupidity had me rolling.

To paraphrase it read something like this:

“I can’t believe I just wasted my team reading this. Who cares about this dear diary stuff. I feel dummer after reading this.”

First of all, I’m sorry that this guy felt “dummer” after wasting his “team.” Secondly, if you’ve wasted your time reading the blog, aren’t you just wasting more sending along a negative comment? If you don’t like it I know for a fact that there are billions and billions of other web pages out there, and millions and millions of blogs. Mine is just one stop along the Information Superhighway, if you don’t like it, there’s always the next exit.

Other than that, not too much going on here. Watched a bit of the Sox last night, but stopped paying attention after they went up 9-0. I’m sad to see Ellsbury get demoted back to AAA (he was hitting .375), but I have no doubt that he’ll be back to stay sooner rather than later.

Tonight I’m a bachelor, so I’m trying to figure out my plan. I’m dying to see Live Free or Die Hard, so that could be in the cards. Either that, or I’ll just play cards. We shall see.

Have a great weekend.

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Fireworks and Vader

Posted by rich on July 5th, 2007

fireworksIt’s late, or early, depending on your point of view. It’s about 1 AM on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I should probably be getting ready for bed, but those darn people at HBO had other plans for me tonight.

We went to the Falmouth Fireworks this evening. I never thought we would actually get to see them because of the weather. Somewhere around 5 or 6 PM it began to sprinkle outside, and it kept up non-stop right up to show time, at 9.

Originally the family was going to go out on my dad’s boat and watch them out on the water. It sounded like a great plan, but with the weather came higher seas than we wanted to deal with. My dad ended up going out without us. He didn’t un-invite us, but he wasn’t thrilled about taking the kiddos out on the water with 1-3 foot swells, and worst of all is my wife, Lyra, who gets very sea sick. We once went on a whale watch when she was pregnant with Leanna and she got sick several times. That was not a fun day, in fact her nausea became contagious as Rye, then only about 2, followed suit, and several others on the boat did too. You remember that scene in “Stand By Me” where they have the blueberry pie eating contest, it was a lot like that. Not good times.

Anyways, we went out to the fireworks with our church, Falmouth Baptist, and had a good time. Hats off to the organizers of that event. It was awesome. The show exceeded everyone’s expectations, and — surpassingly — we could actually see the fireworks despite the rain and, what I thought, was a low cloud ceiling. Not once did we lose a single blast in a cloud. It was phenomenal, and they just kept going and going. It had to be a solid 35-40 minutes of explosions, which is very cool.

We found a spot in the Heights under some trees, which gave us shelter from some of the rain. Our view, looking toward the Casino Restaurant, had an American flag in the foreground and the fireworks behind it. Very patriotic. Throw in all of the America-centric music and you couldn’t help but burst with pride.

So, back to the whole HBO thing.

We got back here around 10:45 and put the kiddos to bed, in their clothes, and then got settled. Around 11:30 I sat down with my laptop to finish off a big feature for Friday’s paper on Tobias Work, a kid from Falmouth that will be swimming in the Pan-Am Games next week. It’s definitely one of my favorite articles I’ve done over the last year or so. The kid was very interesting, personable, and he had a Mohawk. Style points go a long way with me.

While copy inches mean nothing to the average person (the story comes in around 40, by the way), you’ll understand that it was a big story, coming in around 1,600 words. I had written the lead and a bit of the groundwork while covering the Commodores game (great win by the locals, by the way. They rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth to win, 4-3).

While I had gotten some of it done, the heavy lifting — like there really is any in journalism — was left to do. I had to go through about 35 minutes of interview tape, with Tobias and his coach, type out the quotes and then craft the rest of the story. It’s a bit more work than it sounds like, and I will say that I am pleased with the results.

While I was typing it up I went through the digital cable to see if there might be some sort of game worth checking out on TV, or something. I came across HBO2 and wouldn’t you know it, they had started a marathon of the Star Wars movies.

I am not ashamed to say that I am on of the biggest Star Wars nerds known to man. I may have mentioned this before. If any of them are on, especially the original trilogy, well I have to stop what I’m doing and watch, even though I’ve seen all of the originals in excess of 100 times (No, I’m not kidding). If I had to I think I could probably recite them word-for-word. Hopefully I’ll never have to do that, though.

esbSo I got sucked in by the ultimate showdown between good and evil, and of course right now The Empire Strikes Back is on, which is my all-time favorite movie. I’d like to go to bed, and hopefully I will sometime soon, but I just don’t know when I’ll do it. Probably when Luke is training with Yoda. The movie slows down a bit there and I can pull my self away from that part, but if I make it to Cloud City I’m done in for and might not get to bed until sometime around 5 AM after Luke redeems his father at the end of Return of the Jedi. This is a conundrum.

Movies seem to be in my future tomorrow as well. Lyra is probably going to take the kids out to Rhode Island to see her family for a day or two, and I can’t go because I’ve got work here. If the rain persists and postpones the Falmouth-Wareham game tomorrow night, which I think it will, then I’m going to check out Live Free or Die Hard. The original Die Hard is in my top 10 of all time (yes, I’m working on that list I mentioned last week) and I’ve heard mostly good things about the newest installment of the franchise. I’m also tossing about the idea of maybe sneaking into a showing of Transformers after LFODH. We’ll see about that. I don’t know how many explosions I can take on successive nights.

Links

I don’t know about you, but right now I feel good to be an American.

I need to talk to John Edwards. My guy here in Falmouth will do his hair for less than $20, and it looks good. I mean, can you really run the country when you’re willing to spend over $1,200 on a haircut and claim fiscal responsibility?

From the “kick ‘em while they’re down dept.” Mrs. A-Rod showed a little lack of class, and at least a big-time lack of smarts, by wearing a shirt with the F-word on it. Maybe the shirt was meant as a message to her husband, you know, after the way he’s been messing around, supposedly.

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Vote Oki, Vote Often

Posted by rich on July 4th, 2007

Oki DokiHappy 4th everybody. Nice job by the Sox last night and it was great to see Lugo break out with a couple of hits. I love how the fans have backed him up through this slump. It’s very easy to get irritated with his struggles, but by getting behind him there’s positive reinforcement there. With such a big lead there’s no reason to get on the guy and boo him into submission. He knows he’s stunk most of the season and it isn’t like he’s dogging it out there. I truly feel like he’s been trying his hardest, things just haven’t worked out so well. Hopefully this is the start of some big things for Lugo.

Don’t forget to visit redsox.com or mlb.com and vote for Hideki Okajima as the final all-star on the American League team. Oki’s been awesome all year and it would be great to see both him and Paps pitching for the AL, along with Beckett. Let’s help get him in there. Personally, I’ve already voted three times for Oki. Maybe that’s nothing compared to how things are going over in Japan, but every vote helps. Do your part. Republican, Democrat or Independent, this is a cause all Red Sox fans can get behind and make sure that the right guy wins. And, I promise you that a vote for Oki is a vote for just one inning of pitching. He will not extend his stay on the mound longer than necessary.

Stay safe tonight everyone, see you tomorrow.

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