25 May 2009
Finally! I have accomplished an ongoing goal today during my relaxing Memorial Day downtime! I'm completely caught up on my Diamondbacks scorecards for the 2009 season. So far, there've been 45 games played by my Snakes, and I've scored them all. This really sounds kind of minor, but when you realize that it takes about 30 minutes to set up each scorecard for the day's game, and then an average of 3 hours and 1 minute to play the game and an additional 15 minutes to double check the accuracy of my scorecard with the online official box scores. I've watched and scored probably about 25 of the 45 games that way, so I've contributed 94.2 hours to that. If I failed to watch the game and score it, then I have gone back online and filled in the scorecard from the Gameday information pitch-by-pitch trackers. It takes about 1 hour per scorecard to do that, and I've done 20 games or so that way. That means I've put 114.2 hours worth of work into my scorecard already this year, and I can expect somewhere around another 297 hours worth of work to complete all 162 games this season. That's 411 hours or so total, or 2 1/2 weeks worth or work. I love baseball!
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 22:10
24 May 2009
Got a lot of variety in what I have to post tonight, so y'all are getting it in bullet point style rather than me try to think up catchy titles for my post which reflect some or all of them. 1. It's hot-ish. Yeah, it's gotten warm the past few weeks out here in Arizona, and there were a couple days there that were genuinely ovenish at 112+ (according to my car's themometer), but strangely, I haven't felt overly HOT yet. I know it's coming, like a car stalled on the tracks knows a train is approaching to turn it into a bazillion pieces of jagged metal and glass, but it hasn't reared its ugly head just yet. Thank you Mother Nature, and suck on it, Al Gore! 2. Baseball has become more enjoyable. The Diamondbacks suddenly found out how to play like a team in the middle of a tropical storm in Florida. On this roadtrip, they split the Atlanta series 1-1, won against the Marlins 3-1, and took 2 of 3 from the Athletics. Making for a 6-3 winning road trip. I can deal with a few losses, as long as the boys are playing solid baseball, not crappy baseball like the previous month. We're now 19-25, 6 games back of .500 and about 10 back of the Dodgers in the NL West (damn Dodgers....), so we're on the right track. 3. I really, really, really, really, REALLY want to find a job soon. I am going crazy here without one. All my friends now have their own houses, lives, jobs, marriages.... hell, even PETS (I'm not a pet person per se), and I crave that. I keep having vivid dreams of myself with a decent job, playing catch with my kid in a yard flanked by maple trees in some 75-degree paradise in suburbia. Time sort of feels like it's slipping away from me with this bum economy and my inability-slash-lack of motivation for finding a good job. It's discouraging to me when I look at the dumb job search sites out there and see nothing in my area beyond "sales" jobs - indoor sales, outdoor sales, inbound sales, outbound sales, door-to-door sales, multi-level marketing opportunities, investment opportunities.... One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.... I seriously sound like I belong in a Dr. Seuss novella. In place of going crazy, I have also started laying out "roots" into the community to try to sustain my desire for being social, but even that isn't very fulfilling. I go to church, and the only people I meet are either younger than me and still in college, or older than me (by years if not decades), or have marriages (and it's hard being single and trying to make friends with a married couple). In fact, I don't really know of anywhere in Mesa, Arizona to go to meet mid-twenties people with an interest in politics who aren't married and have graduated college. Top that all off with a sense of uselessness on my shoulders all the time (seriously, what's my purpose in life as long as I'm not a functional and contributing member of society?) and you see my problem. I can't even get people to call me back regarding my resumes.... how the hell am I supposed to find a job? AAARGH! 4. Now, after that rant, aren't you wondering what number 4 is going to be? Frankly, these are in no order whatsoever. I'm just writing the words as they come to me. Well, I guess there is no number four. Enjoy your night, comment if you wish, otherwise, I guess I'll write again whenever.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 21:29
21 May 2009
Today, my brother David graduates Skyline High School with honors (GPA over 3.5) and is going to be walking in the ceremonies this evening. Congratuations to him for his achievements, and good luck to him at ASU, where he will study computer engineering in the fall!
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 10:35
17 May 2009
To date in the 2009 season of Major League baseball, 46 grand slams have been hit in 1,116 games played by the 30 major league teams. At this rate [(46/1116)=(x/4860)] where 4,860 is the number of games played overall in one season (not including postseason play), players will hit 200 grand slams by the end of the regular season play. That breaks the old record for total GS's in a season by 24 grand slams. Stay tuned to see if it happens or if the frequency dies out. If it does happen, I predict Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers to hit #177.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 23:08
Last night I went and saw "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" at the theater. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It wasn't on the same genius level as "Star Trek" was, but it ended up being a solid summer opening blockbuster feature. Instead of my prose on this one, I'll just do pros and cons this time: Pros: The plot did a good job following the basic storyline of James Logan's (AKA Wolverine) beginning. He's ageless, having lived through the Civil War, World Wars, Vietnam War, and been a fighting force alongside his brother (Sabertooth in later years) in each. The development of Wolverine from the essentially good-at-heart mutant to the animal within was well done and quite believable, despite my reservations that the director would be able to convey this to the audience. The supporting cast was also well done, from the character of Gambit (see con, below) to young Scott Summers (AKA Cyclops). Indeed, the mutant-hunter Deadpool was also pretty awesome, tearing up 3-Mile Island in the movie's epic climax. The interplay between Wolverine and the combination of William Stryker and Sabertooth is really the focus of the movie, and while there were some parts I wish they had expounded upon, it ended up working together pretty nicely. Lastly, the score for the movie was really good, focusing on blending the action with the romance scenes and tying together the X-Men theme. The appearance at the end of Charles Xavier taking in the young mutants (Cyclops among them) was a welcome scene too. Cons: Not enough airtime for some supporting cast members. If you were planning on seeing a good bit with some of the other classic X-Men characters, such as Gambit, you're in for a disappointment. When I watched previews of this film, I was excited to see Gambit, Summers, and the members of Stryker's original adamantium-hunting party and figured they'd play a central role around Wolverine, but except for one or two scenes here or there, they were merely cameo roles. Overall: A- for keeping my attention for an hour and 42 minutes. The storyline was definitely watchable, and it brought together everything I expected, with some nice add-ins. But like I said, if you are planning on seeing this film for any of the supporting cast, you will be disappointed. Just a forewarning.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 22:52
16 May 2009
15 May 2009
Friday night movie review time! I know I don't do this often enough, but I may have to start because several really great movies are coming out this summer, and at least three have already debuted. Tonight, half an hour ago, actually, I got out of "Star Trek" starring Chris Pine as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock with a guest appearance by Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock from the television show), and directed by JJ Abrams. I'll be honest, I went into "Star Trek" with expectations in the middling range. Knowing Abrams' style a bit from his television work on "Fringe" and "LOST" and his other B-monster-movie "Cloverfield," I was skeptical that he would be able to reinvigorate the Trekkie fan base and energize those who did not grow up fans of the TV shows. With some interesting cast choices in "Heroes" star Quinto who plays evil supervillain Sylar on that show, Eric Bana as "Trek" villain Nero, Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Pike, and "Harold and Kumar" star John Cho as Hikaru Sulu, I was afraid the movie would end up being a boring special effects-driven semi-comedy. Boy was I flat out wrong. For those who haven't seen it, here's the basic premise: a really, really pissed-off Romulan from the future who believes that Ambassador Spock is responsible for the destruction of his home planet Romulus, follows Spock through a black hole's singularity to the time of James T. Kirk's birth, disrupting the timeline by killing Kirk's father. That Romulan, Nero, uses his massive mining rig from centuries further in the future with ultra-advanced weaponry to make Spock pay for his alleged crimes by destroying Spock's home planet of Vulcan while he watches from an icy moon, followed by his attempt to destroy all the planets in the Federation to make a safe place for Romulus in the galaxy once and for all. At the same time, Kirk and young Spock in the present timeline start off their relationship as bitter rivals, but finally pull together to defeat Nero in brilliant fashion. The thing which really tied everything in the movie together was the character development. Everything down to the postures of the characters - James Kirk in the captain's chair, for example - was precise enough to strike a chord of memory from William Shatner's role in the 80's. Anton Yelchin, who played Pavel Checkov, had trouble accentuating his V's, turning them into W's (think "nuclear wessels") which hearkened back brilliantly to "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." And Karl Urban's Leonard McCoy was as gruff and abrasive as the original Bones back on the TV Enterprise - even so far as the "green-blooded hobgoblin" comment muttered under his breath to Spock on the bridge! More than just hitting memory though, the movie went further, bringing the viewer on the ride through Kirk's journey of self-discovery at the leader he had the potential to become, culminating in his commendation and relief of Captain Pike of command of the Enterprise. Along with spectacular visual graphics which were far and away the most breathtaking images of The Final Frontier I could have imagined and intense space battles, the movie struck the funnybone at precisely the right moments causing me to burst into a fit of laughter along with the rest of the packed house. It was as if Abrams touched on the "Superman" opening credits and the hyperdrive of "Lost in Space" and then took it a million miles further! Finally, the musical ensemble added the perfect compliment to the full storyline. I wondered, as the movie began and the opening credits rolled why I wasn't hearing the familiarly dulcet tones of the Star Trek theme music ringing throughout the theater. It nagged at me until the very end when the closing credits rolled as Kirk received his commission on the new NCC-1701 and those tones sang from the speakers that I realized that the music itself was pulling the storyline along in compliment to the acting, directing, character development, and graphical enhancements! The new - and exceptionally moving - score gave birth, as it were, to the old theme as this new prequel gave way to the opening of what was essentially the Star Trek as we knew it. It's not too often I give a movie such high praise, but this movie not only gets an A for its innovative storyline, exquisite directing and producing, adaptive characters, moving musical ensemble, and realistic-yet-tasteful graphics and special effects, but I have to give it some extra praise for daring to take a huge risk with a new adaptation of an old classic and pulling it off with class, style, and sophistication. JJ Abrams, you are truly genius!
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 23:41
10 May 2009
Thanks to Fox Sports Arizona, and some luck, I was able to win tickets to both Friday's and Saturday's Arizona Diamondbacks games against the Washington Nationals this weekend. While the seats were amazing, and I definitely had fun with my friends and those sitting around me, the Diamondbacks played terribly! Friday's game was kind of tough loss. We didn't capitalize when we needed to on a couple of big moments when we had a runner on third, less than 2 outs, but it was Saturday's game which made me want to puke! 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. FIVE innings with a runner on third, less than 2 outs and we failed to score him. 2 more errors, both by Reynolds on fairly routine grounders to third. Failure to capitalize on 2 Nationals' errors. SIXTEEN (yes, SIXTEEN) runners left on base! Felipe Lopez, our current star player, making two enormous baserunning gaffes (not running hard through the bag at first and failing to read a ball correctly that would have allowed him to score from third). In fact, and I can't believe I'm saying this, the only good thing about yesterday is that the Diamondbacks' bullpen was effective - seriously, that hasn't happened too often this year. Also, despite the Nationals' loading the bases with less than 2 outs twice in the game for us, we still decided not to try such things as the suicide squeeze play. We didn't steal bases, though Nats starter Lannan wasn't holding anyone on. This is seriously unacceptable from a team with this much young talent. Sure, they're young, but they are still major leaguers. To be like Chris Young or Eric Byrnes making $30 million, and to be 1-for-30 on the season is bogus. The Diamondbacks need to seriously evaluate trading Byrnes along with possibly Montero (the only reason being that I can't see anyone taking Byrnes without some kind of incentive too) to get a new fifth starter or a veteran third baseman and sending Reynolds down to triple-A Reno for some additional batting practice. Then, they need to work day in and day out on pitch recognition at the plate, not swinging at balls in the dirt or at their chins, and on not striking out 200 times a season. The biggest bright spot of the games? Doug Davis and.... no, just Doug Davis. Saturday first inning he had a pickoff at first, then gave up only one run on 4 hits over 6 innings (the run being to Adam Dunn on a home run.... understandable). He absolutely should have had a win with a score of something like D-Backs 4 or more, Nationals 1. It's a cryin' shame they couldn't produce to pick Double-D up! Hopefully, we'll see something good come from the ashes of this carcass of a Phoenix baseball team today, and they'll pull together to avoid the series sweep to the worst team in all of the MLB.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 09:28
07 May 2009
MLB Update: Diamondbacks Manager Bob Melvin has been replaced by former Director of Player Development AJ Hinch. This move comes as the D-Backs lose what shoulda, coulda, woulda been a win tonight to the Padres. With the offense just not cutting it, and The Mad Scientist (Melvin) not seeming to be effective in his managerial role any longer, the organization decided it was time to let him go. It's too bad, I liked Melvin, who led the team to the playoffs as NL West Champs in 2007, but faltered at the end of the '08 season coughing up the lead to the Manny Ramirez-fueled Dodgers. The struggles only became exacerbated in Spring Training this year, and have led to perhaps the worst starting performance since 2003 for the team.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 23:44
Time to give Manny Ramirez the boot. Today it was announced that the Dodgers' slugger had tested positive for the second time this calendar year for "performance enhancing drugs" and has been suspended for 50 games starting today. Ramirez chose not to appeal, so he will sit out until July 3rd and lose nearly $8 million of his $25 million contract. But here's the thing: this does nothing more or less than re-taint the game of baseball for all players in the eyes of the fan base. After the issues with Rafael Palmiero of the Orioles back in the day, followed by the smarmy Jose Canseco putting a big black eye on the sport, and with the unquestionable questionability of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and not this, baseball's in for a big hurtin'. Commissioner Bud Selig has been trying to do some good with getting drugs out of baseball, but ultimately it's the players and their managers who need to be held accountable. Manny's suspension is only the first step. He needs to be made an example of; banned from baseball for a year or two at least. I'd also call for the resignation of Dodgers' Manager Joe Torre, too. First A-Rod under his tenure, now Manny? Come on folks, I think it would be hard for the manager NOT to know what's up. All we can hope is that players wise up. You can't expect to be paid millions of dollars and not be held accountable for your poor decisions. Why do something like this so monumentally stupid as to affect your entire career, pre-suspension and post-suspension? The world may never know, but it has got to stop.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 17:47
05 May 2009
Before you say it, yes, I am a little bit crazy when it comes to baseball. Ever since I found out that Fox Sports Arizona has been broadcasting the Qwest Diamondbacks Live Post-Game Show from Tempe Marketplace, I've been out there to participate. Friday, the first night they did this, a decent crowd was out chilling with everyone, and you can read my previous blog post about it. I also, however, went to Saturday's show, Monday's show, and will be hitting up tonight's show as well. On Saturday, there were a few more red-and-black clad people out there cheering for the team - whether that's a result of my call-to-arms on this blog or not, I doubt I'll ever know (I'm guessing it's not!) - and the D-Backs ended up beating the Brewers 4-1, a solid outing for the struggling team. FSNAZ also held a raffle that night, and I ended up winning a pair of tickets to Saturday's game against the Nationals (GOOD seats, too, in Sec. 118 between home plate and 1st base) and a Stephen Drew autographed baseball, which I bought a nice case for this afternoon. The first of hopefully many pieces of memorabilia! Sunday, the crew did not film from Tempe, but yesterday, even though the game ran into the late hours of the night (10:30 or so), they were out there putting the finishing touches on Doug Davis' loss to the Dodgers. That makes my bitter NL rivals in the West Division still unbeaten at home. I would have hoped for a better turnout, seeing as how the defense was able to turn their first triple play since 2000 for Davis, but some clutch hits by Ramirez and the Blue Devils sealed our fate instead. Considering I was the only person who stayed for the postgame filming, I ended up basically winning the raffle by default for tickets to Friday's game, also vs. the Nats. Works for me! It was fun, though, because I also got to talk with some of FSN's crew during the game before filming, and learned some new things about the players, the organization, and the direction the team is taking marketing-wise that are going to hopefully pump up the Arizona fans! Tonight, Max Scherzer of the D-Backs is taking on the Dodgers' Jeff Weaver to try to earn his first career win (yes, sports fans, Scherzer in 11 career starts has not earned a victory yet, despite some brilliant work last year and this year including blanking the Brewers over 6 innings in his last outing). His biggest challenge? His own offense, who absolutely need to step it up and get him some runs so he can settle into his pitching role and maintain some padding for the bullpen, who have struggled of late (to say the least). Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers won't make that easy, though, so it's all the more important to play the "get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in" game instead of trying to rely on a couple home runs per game. For those of you that Twitter, I've been trying to get more involved with that, and I like to post tweets from Tempe Marketplace from time-to-time, so please consider following me at www.Twitter.com/DBacks08. Also, FSNAZ at www.Twitter.com/FOXSPORTSAZ does promotions via Twitter every now and then, so if you plan to be at Tempe Marketplace for a post-game show filming or want free DBacks news and updates during the game, I'd follow them as well! Thanks for listening to my shameless plug!
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 18:46
01 May 2009
So, if any of you were watching the Diamondbacks game from tonight, and stayed tuned in to watch the postgame show, you should have seen me just over Brad Steinke's right shoulder cheering in the background. The Qwest Diamondbacks Live Postgame Show will be broadcast 32 times from the Tempe Marketplace venue near San Felipe's and Dave & Buster's during this season, and today was the first time. It ended up being a lot of fun - they played the Diamondbacks game live on the giant screen in the plaza there and had a band called "Hello Swindon" playing as live entertainment. The band was pretty good, playing some Johnny Cash and other alternative music, and my D-Backs won 5-2 thanks to a bad call which went our way on a Tony Clark double which should have been called foul down the left-field line. But hey, I'll take it! Immediately following the game, they did the postgame show, and invited members of the cowd to come mug for the camera and cheer in the background. Also, much to Ryan's chagrin (he was there with me for dinner), they handed out foam Wolverine claws and had all the kids (including yours truly) wave those around to help plug the movie. I also saw my friend Elizabeth from NAU there working diligently to set up for the show when I got to Tempe Marketplace as she works for FSN Arizona. While I wasn't expecting to see her, it became a really nice surprise, and we chatted for a few minutes. Tomorrow, I may or may not go back there for a bit, as they're having "Bratstock III" - a bit like Woodstock except for Bratwurst out there at that time, and doing the postgame show again. However, I must say that was very disappointed in all our DBacks fans out there. I was quite literally the only person there watching the filming and the game wearing Diamondbacks garb! I had my hat and t-shirt on, yet not a single other person that I saw was clad in Sedona Red! This is unacceptable. Look at almost any other major league team, and their fans are rowdy, proud, and wearing team colors. Even the Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies. Compare the Brewers fans to Arizona, and we seem like churchmice - quiet, apathetic, and dismissive! Get loud, people! Overall, a big thumbs up to Tempe Marketplace, FSN Arizona, and the Diamondbacks for getting out and about and bringing the postgame show to the fans. I think it really shows a lot of the character of the team and its affiliates for wanting to be more fan-friendly, fun, and interactive. A lot of teams could easily and more cheaply do their postgame stuff inside their stadiums, but it awesome that the Diamondbacks are being much more inclusive! Now we as fans gotta do our part and start appreciating all that, and be better fans for it! If there's one thing I'd like to see by the end of this year, it's that DBacks followers start making noise at the ballpark more often. Seriously, at Opening Day, it's absurd for the stadium to be more-or-less soundless, yet it was! From a loyal fan, great work tonight!
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 23:54
So guess where I'm going to be hanging out on Friday and Saturday nights when I have nothing else to do until October?! Tempe Marketplace, that's where! The Arizona Diamondbacks' Quest Live Postgame Show is going to be broadcast from their plaza out there for weekend games for the rest of the season. So if you tune in to watch the game, stick around afterward, and perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of this blogger enjoying the spoils of the Marketplace! Book Update: Went back to the library today, and talked with T., the circulation supervisor about my warped damaged book problem. The book hadn't been shipped back to the library just yet, but she was good enough to take my number and call me when it's in so we could assess the damage. Diamondbacks Update: What's with the team of late?! If it's not the defense playing poorly, it's the non-existant offense, and if it's not the offense, it's the bullpen! Those guys need to pull it together and start figuring out how to be a team. Also, I know Bob Melvin is my guy, but c'mon, Skipper, you see Tom Gordon struggling like that in a 1-run game, and you let him stay in? That's not Mad Scientist-worthy, that's just dumb. Work Update: Well, I have scored a few workdays this week and the next couple for mom's school. They need substitute playground aides while the regulars are out for various things (field trips, dental appointments, etc.), so I get to take over for at least four days. Two of which were yesterday and today. Better than nada. Little kids are funny though - I got asked if I was the sub lunchLADY a few times, listened to stories about dinosaurs and puppies, and assisted getting things out of trees. Moving Day tomorrow for Scott & Abigail. Going to have to make sure to get a good night's sleep tonight so I can be energized in this 92-degree-plus-humidity heat.
Posted by Andrew Meeusen at 14:14