31 January 2006

Alex Gonzalez as Sox SS

Ok, well, the what-became-inevitable happened, and the Red Sox signed Alex Gonzalez (formerly of the Marlins) to a 1 year deal to play SS. Many folks I talk to do not like this one bit. In fact, one went as far to point out that Alex has the 5th largest negative difference in OBP vs. the league average of any player in the last 50 years (with at least 3500 PA). Yowzah!

So, the projected Red Sox lineup for 2006:

# Name - Pos. - 2005 OBP
1 Coco Crisp - CF - .345
2 Mark Loretta - 2B - .360
3 Manny Ramirez - LF - .388
4 David Ortiz - DH - .397
5 Jason Varitek - C - .366
6 Trot Nixon - RF - .357
7 Mike Lowell - 3B - .298 (.365 in '04)
8 Kevin Youkilis/J.T. Snow - 1B - .400 (.367 in '04 with 200 AB)
9 Alex Gonzalez - SS - .319
Team Average: .359

Lets look at the changes

1B Kevin Millar/John Olerud becomes Kevin Youkilis/J.T. Snow - Youkilis can easily match/beat Millar's 2005 production, with hopefully less attitude. JT and Olerud are interchangable, although Olerud was likely a slightly better hitter. Overall: Slight upgrade

2B Mark Bellhorn/Tony Graffanino becomes Mark Loretta - Player A: 7/38/.309/.366 in 379 AB. Player B: 3/38/.280/.360 in 404 AB. Who is who? Well, player A is a health Graffanino in 2 hitters parks. Player B is Loretta off an injury in a big pitchers park. I think Loretta will work out fine and give Dustin Pedroia another season to be ready. Overall: Slight upgrade

3B Bill Mueller/Kevin Youkilis becomes Mike Lowell - In 2005, Mike Lowell hit 8/58/.236/.298. He also won a Gold Glove. Moneyball has everyone convinced that OBP is it and that any variation from that plan is giving up on the Beane Mantra. However, really, Moneyball implies that what teams look for is undervalued talent. Right now, its infield defense. Not only does infield defense help pitchers by preventing runs and runners, but good defense also means fewer pitches per game for the staff as most outs will happen with fewer balls in play. So, maybe Lowell isn't a steal, but he fits into the idea that excellent fielding infielders are a premium. Overall: Offensive downgrade, defensive upgrade.

SS Edgar Renteria becomes Alex Gonzalez - I was and am still a staunch Renteria supporter. I think that he would have been much better for the Sox in 2006. However, with given the option to get Andy Marte from Atlanta, the front office jettisoned Renteria. Gonzalez averages about 16 errors a year with a FPC of ~.970, with is good, but he's still no Omar Vizquel. Will he hit better than Alex Cora? Likely. He has some pop as he hit 24 HR as recently as 2004 (ok, with a .230 BA), but for 1 year/$3M, he'll be fine in a hitters park like Fenway. Overall: Slight downgrade

C Jason Varitek/Doug Mirabelli becomes Varitek/A cast of thousands - Sorry, I just miss Dumpy Doug. Overall: Downgrade

CF Johnny Damn becomes Coco Crisp - Let's see: Damon walks for $12M more than the Sox offer, and the Sox more-or-less trade Renteria + prospects for Coco Crisp and David Riske. And Coco will likely cost the same as the difference in the Damon offers. And Damon will likely be retired with Coco is his age today. Whats not to like? Overall: Upgrade.

Rotation - Schilling/Wells/Clement/Wakefield/Arroyo becomes Schilling/Beckett/Wells/Clement/? - Suddenly the Sox have an abundance of pitchers. Who is the #5 starter? Arroyo? Wakefield? Papelbon? Does Wells get traded? Does Clement? However, any way you look at it, adding Beckett into the rotation makes it better. Overall: Upgrade

Bullpen - Foulke/TImlin/Embree/Myers/Papelbon/cast of thousands becomes Foulke/Timlin/Taverez/Seanez/Riske/Delcarmen - Any way you slice it, this bullpen is much, much better. Overall: Big Upgrade.

30 January 2006

Crispy Damon & Eggs

So, to put the comparision to rest. Or, I guess to make it clear as day, here is Damon vs. Crisp:

Johnny Damon, OF, NYY
25 277/339/439 18/66/26 KC
26 307/379/477 14/77/36 KC
27 327/382/495 16/88/46 KC

Coco Crisp, OF, BOS
25 297/344/446 15/71/20 CLE
26 300/345/465 16/69/15 CLE
27 ?

So, they look pretty similar. Good for us.
My favorite trade rumor, I believe from Sons of Sam Horn: David Wells, SP to San Diego for ... wait for it ... Doug Mirabelli, C!. Now thats a trade I'd like to see. Well, maybe if Boston got a PTBNL.

29 January 2006

New Review

Great weekend topped off with seeing Back to the Future on the big screen with TGIF. Brilliant I tell you, brilliant.

New review on TIG:
Patrick Phelan - Cost.

That's all for now.

27 January 2006

The move is over!

Finally, after 1 year+ of talk, the move in the renovated Johnson Hall is over! The engineer from Nu Instruments is headed back to Wales. I can reconstruct my lab finally and get my office in order. Remind me to post an image of what the view from my office is. Its great, I'll tell you that much.

Part of today will be spent getting my head back in order. I'm making dinner for TGIF this evening (tonight's theme, picked by her, is "cheese"). Then its off to country music at the Lil Red Hen. I'm excited, as usual.

If you want to listen to something while you work, you should head over to NPR. No, not for news & information, but for the great streams of concerts they have posted including the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party, Interpol, the White Stripes, Bright Eyes & coming soon, Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists). Good stuff to work with.

And I think I need a new keyboard.

26 January 2006


I thought today was Friday. I thought, "boy, I could have sworn I put an entry in the blog yesterday." It's one of those weeks.

I feel I need to visit a record store soon.

25 January 2006

On Theo, trades and rain

Theo and the Coco trade: Ok, so you quit your job, leave in a gorilla suit, tour South America with the Pearl Jam and where do you end up? Back in your same job 3 months later, but with a better title and everyone scratching their heads. That's the Red Sox for you. Now Theo just have to find a CF, SS and maybe trade Wells. Looks like the Coco deal might be dead in the water thanks to Mota and his lack of a shoulder, and I sure hope they don't trade Delcarmen away instead. So who knows whats going on with the Sox, but I think all the naysayers you think the Sox are toast might be a little presumptuous. Maybe instead the Sox can trade Clement for Kearns straight up. Now that I like (unless Kearns gets injured, like usual).

Rain: Never attempt to make plans in Seattle between October and April by uttering the phrase "if the weather stays nice." It ain't gonna happen. The rain God can hear you and it will instantly cloud over and start to, well, rain.

Thats it for now, unless you really want to hear about U and Th on a multicollector ICP-MS. Eh? Eh?! Any takers?

24 January 2006

Sunny in Seattle

Yesterday was quite a good birthday as birthday's go. Lots of cupcakes and brownies, and then TGIF took me to a great little Italian place where we ate and split a bottle of wine. She also got me a jade plant, a mystery gift that hasn't arrived yet thanks to UPS and pie! I have to admit, every time I go out with TGIF, I find myself getting amazed each time. Hard to describe, and yes, horribly cheesy. So I just have to pace myself and let her take her time to reach conclusions and such. Otherwise, I just try to hard to make things happen. So, Erik, time to sit back and enjoy. That seems to work a lot better than an odd Soviet-style 5-year plan to boost Iron production. Yes, remember this my friends: the Soviet Union is no role model for love.

23 January 2006

Coo-coo for Coco

Well, looks like Theo v2.0 has pulled off his first deal. Well, maybe he never left, but anyway, it appears as if the Red Sox will acquire Coco Crisp (OF) from Cleveland. Now, the rumors have many permutations, so take your pick:

Sox get: Coco + PTBML
Indians get: Andy Marte (3B) + Guillermo Mota (RP)


Sox get: Coco + Dave Riske (RP) + Josh Bard (C)
Indians get: Marte + Mota + Kelly Shoppach (C)


Sox get: Coco + 2 PTBNL
Indians get: Marte + Mota + PTBNL

I personally prefer #2, as Riske is a good, young reliever. Bard I'm less excited about, but what are you going to do?

However, Coco would be a good birthday present. He might not completely replace Damon, but he'll be a good, relatively cheap OF for the Sox.

And yes, today I do get older. TGIF is taking me out for dinner, so I'm excited. At some point, TGIF might need a new name, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Maybe need something akin to Bill Simmons' "Sportsgal" but, of course, more appropriate to this venue. Hmmm. Well, thats for another day that I'm not feeling older.

This week's iPod top 10

Here it is, for your amusement

10. Frijolero - Molotov
9. Inner City Blues (Live) - Marvin Gaye
8. Your Cover's Blown - Belle & Sebastian
7. Kids Don't Mind - Papas Fritas
6. A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill - Jens Lekman
5. She's the One - Beta Band
4. Nature Anthem - Grandaddy
3. Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Bittersweet Symphony - Jay-Z vs. the Verve
2. Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
1. Marching Bands of Manhattan - Death Cab for Cutie

20 January 2006


The multicollector (and I) are in Johnson Hall. The move is done!


19 January 2006

Epstein Redux?

And to make the world an even stranger place, Theo Epstein has returned to the Red Sox. Well, I'll be darned.

No disassemble

So we have the MC here mostly disassembled and ready to move tomorrow. This will involve getting an engine hoist into the lab and moving a ~500 kg magnet. Now, if thats not fun, I don't know what is! Well, maybe I do know what is.

I'll be pretty happy when this move is done. More than pretty happy. I just have to survive it all and not become a big freak around the-girl-I-fancy. I can sometimes have the tendency to come on too strong or too quickly, which is bad, especially considering how fond I am of TGIF (weird, I didn't even notice the coincidence of the abreviation until I typed it...huh). Breathe Erik, breathe. Maybe spend some quality time at the IMA (gym) to distract oneself. Yes, thats it.

And remember, if you're in Seattle, you should come to the Best of 2005 Winners Showcase as presented by the Three Imaginary Girls tomorrow (Friday) at Neumo's. TGIF and I will be there, so should you!

Ok, thats all.

18 January 2006

Packing boxes

Slow day on packing boxes for the big lab move.

Maybe a couple links for the day:

Brakes - Give Blood: Another fine TIG review. Best of 2005 Showcase is this Friday too, at Neumo's!

John Donovan is an idiot: Everybody gets a C, and just read his 2 paragraphs on the Yankers, where he says that they both smartly didn't overpay for someone -- for once. and they went out and bought Damon (four years, $52 million -- ouch). Talk about fine writing!

Oh yeah, and after Riley leaves Buffy, it gets depressing! Geesh!

17 January 2006

Oh god, the rolls are on fire!

If anyone is in Seattle, you should go see the Brown Derby Series rendition of "Dirty Dancing" at the re-bar. Lack-of-oxygen funny I tell you.

Anyway, I'm sleepy today but wanted to post my iPod Top 10, just for kicks

10. Nature Anthem - Grandaddy
9. Mr. Grieves - TV on the Radio
8. Ask Me Anything - The Strokes
7. Frijolero - Molotov
6. Inner City Blues (Live) - Marvin Gaye
5. New Dawn Fades - Joy Division
4. Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
3. A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill - Jens Lekman
2. Your Cover's Blown - Belle & Sebastian
1. Marching Bands of Manhattan - Death Cab for Cutie


16 January 2006

TIG Review Update

For those of you who don't frequent the Three Imaginary Girls, I had a pile of reviews posted lately. Enjoy!

Tiger Saw - Sing!
Casey Dienel - Wind-up Canary
Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase
The Clientele - Strange Geometry
Dios (Malos) - Dios (Malos)

Its Monday Morning, I'm Not Wide Awake

Well, so much for my career as an NFL prognosticator. Lets see I went 1/4. Colts got smacked out by the Steelers, the Bears got wiped by the Panthers. And then there were the Pats. In what was possibly the worst Pats game in many years, the Broncos manhandled the Pats, their Super Bowl reign and 10-0 playoff run into the past. They lost to a former porn star no less in Denver QB Jake Plummer (was that the dirtiest mustache that Fox kept on showing for Plummer's pic since Burt Reynolds in "Smokie & the Bandit?). I mean, even his name sounds sleazy. Anyway, the Broncos showed that they had the Pats figured out and that was that.

So, so much for football. I still would like to see the Seahawks make the Super Bowl. We'll see.

We watched "Hustle & Flow" last night and have it say, I liked it. Maybe didn't love it, but it was good, especially Terrance Howard as "D-Jay". And, needless to say, I'm always amused to see D.J. Qualls in anything.

13 January 2006

NFL Playoffs, Afghan Whigs and Baltimillar.

OK, not much to say today because, well, I'm giddy. I love that word. Giddy.

I don't know too much about the NFL. Of course, I did win one of my fantasy football leagues. What that did teach me is that good defense beats everything. Well, 90% of the time (I have no basis for that stat other than its less than 100%). So how does that make me qualified to predict football? It doesn't. Is anybody? No. Why do it? It's fun on a bun!


Redskins at Seahawks - I live in Seattle. I feel their pain that the Seahawks stink in the playoffs. Of course, there seems to be much less buzz in Seattle about the playoffs than in Boston about the Pats. I guess thats not too surprising. As much as I hate Alexander and Hasselbeck (I wanted them both gone), I want to see a Seahawks/Pats Superbowl. So, in that note: 28-10 Seattle.
Patriots at Broncos - The Patriots are just a different team come the playoffs. It will still be close though 27-21 New England.
Steelers at Colts - Payton Manning is the Derek Jeter of the NFL. No, thats not a compliment. But I'd still want to see the Pats dispatch with Indy. 31-17 Indianapolis.
Panthers at Bears - I think the Bears would be my Superbowl NFC team if it wasn't for the Seahawks. 17-10 Chicago.

On the Afghan Whigs - I still think that Gentlemen was the most underrated album of the 1990s. Listen to it. You'll agree.

On Kevin Millar - Thanks for getting that walk in Game 4. You know which one. May you enjoy all the ribs you want in Baltimore.

Ok! The weekend starts here. Well, no, but soon.

11 January 2006

The Strokes, etc.

So, after having listened to First Impressions of Earth, well, many times, I have a few comments:

(1) Thank you, Mr. Casablancas, for not recording it in a broomcloset, like the first 2 discs sound.
(2) The Strokes are taking a chance with their sound, and to me it works. Many other people disagree, saying they just don't deal well with the more robust production.
(3) All things considered, I think its darn good. Maybe 8.1/11.

Some Baseball thoughts:

- Bruce Sutter got voted into the Hall of Fame. Yawn. I'm just sad that Jim Rice hasn't made it yet. People seem biased against 70s/80s hitters and the HofF. Heck, if evil evil Ryne Sandberg is in there, Rice should be too.
- Open letter to the Red Sox front office: Alex Cora (SS) and Adam Stern (CF) do not constitute a "plan" for SS and CF in 2006. They represent names that fill in holes until you find your real replacements. If the Opening Day lineup features them both, I'll be a little concerned. More than a little. A lot. Big.
- That being said, Jay Payton as the starting Opening Day CF would be soooo odd. And scary.
- Whatever you hear about Theo Epstein is a lie. Except that somebody paid $11K for the gorilla suit he wore to sneak out of Fenway during the Halloween Day Massacre.

I would offer by current iPod top 10, except I vaporized all of my playcounts, so it looks a little strange. However, the 2 songs I've been listening to constantly lately are "Marching Bands of Manhattan" and "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab. They make me realize what a brilliant lyricist Ben Gibbard is (e.g., "In my head, there is a Greyhound station/Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations/So they may have a chance of finding a place/Where they are far more suited than here"). As if I needed more proof.

10 January 2006

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Well, let's update, shall we?

1 - Girl I fancy has come around ... and I'm all giddy. Cross your fingers/knock on wood. And calm down.

2 - Insurance worked out ... so far.

3 - Rejections? Who cares.

I'm in a good mood. I also started listening to Plans by DCFC in the right situation to realize that its better than I think.

09 January 2006

Maybe I shouldn't have bothered today

Yes, quite a day.

1 - Girl I fancy may not fancy me as much just yet. Ah well. Patience on this one. At least we're still going out.
2 - Two rejection letters from two colleges. So much for moving to Ohio or Virginia. Wait, that might be a good thing.
3 - Argument with insurance company. They win. Sodding bastards.

Well, at least I have a cookie.

Saw an episode of Buffy last night I had never seen before, but had the best Riley line ever:
Buffy: I don't like you (Dawn) hanging out with someone that... short.
Riley: Yeah, a lot of young people nowadays are experimenting with shortness. Gotta nip that in the bud.

Thats all. Oh and the new Strokes album is a lot better than I expected.

06 January 2006

Buffy, Firefly and Whedonverse

So, Big Lou, as usually, has introduced me to new ways to be nerdy. I've been watching Firefly, the short-lived Fox sci-fi/drama that was created by Joss Whedon (who also brought us Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel). Now Firefly is darn good, much more so that I initially expected. Very likeable characters (even if Jayne looks like Mark McGwire). interesting plots and, as usual for Joss, really sharp writing. So, in my usual if-I-like-something-immerse-myself method, I read up on Joss and he's quite a character. My two favorite Joss quotes are "Remember, always be yourself. Unless you suck." and his explanation of a "comfortador", a.k.a a guy (like Buffy's Xander) that wants comfort more than sex out of women. I think I find myself being much more of a comfortador than a conquistador, which I suppose is hard to convey to lady of interest without sounding like a, well, nut. Ah well. But tip-o-the-hat to Joss on continuing to make excellent shows that seem to get cancelled. Darn.

05 January 2006

Bill Simmons

So I've spent a lot of time reading books about the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004 (I think at least 6 by this point) and far and away the best is Bill Simmon's Now I Can Die in Peace. Simmons might be more familiar to people as the ESPN.com Sportsguy on Page 2, but he is a gem of a writer and commentator, not just on baseball and sports, but on all of popular culture. So, if you have time to kill at work (or at home too), you must check out the Sportsguy Glossary that has so many gems of articles and mailbag responses. Hours and hours of fun!

04 January 2006

Perfect Major

Apparently, I missed the boat ... Thanks to Big Lou for the link

You scored as Philosophy. You should be a Philosophy major! Like the Philosopher, you are contemplative and you enjoy thinking about the purpose for humanity's existence.





























What is your Perfect Major?
created with QuizFarm.com

Back in the correct time zone

Well, I think my body has recovered and now knows what time zone it is in. Of course, my back is still recovering from 6 hours sitting in seat 17A on an A320 from Boston to Seattle (nonstop!) However, surprisingly enough, I'm rather giddy with anticipation today.


Some music purchases over the holidays:
Gang of Four - Brief History of the 20th Century - I finally wanted to know what people meant when they say "reminds me of Gang of Four"
Aesop Rock - Float - Sinister. Good. I think I like it better than Bazooka Tooth
Blackalicious - The Craft - Haven't spent enough time to have comments, but seems good so far.
Tiger Saw - Sing! - Really good. Look for a threeimaginarygirls review in the near future.
Casey Dienel - Wind-up Canary - Super good. Look for a review of this as well.

Some baseball comments:
More Damon fallout - As discussed with some of my friends in Boston, the Red Sox front office seems baffling. They didn't seem to make any moves for a CF (or any move at all) while Toronto added Troy Glaus. Are they preoccupied with Tejada, Jeremy Reed or Coco Crisp? If the Sox add any of those players, I will be happy. Some of the deals seem a little 1 sided (Manny & Clement for Tejada - only good if the O's pick up a lot, I mean a lot, of the money).

Preston Wilson to Houston - My Houston prediction for Preston: .283/35/102. Mark it down.

Glaus to Toronto - Well, if the infield was all 3B, they would be all set with Glaus, Shea Hillenbrand, Corey Koskie and Eric Hinske. Looks like Russ Adams will be starting at 2B too. Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson are a good draw for Arizona to get out of Glaus' contract.

Coming soon ... My new metric - NHRP ... Can you guess what that is? And what it tells us about the importance of Grady Sizemore?

03 January 2006

Quick music update

For those who need more, I highly suggest the following albums after seeing these acts on New Year's Eve:

Tiger Saw - Sing!
Casey Dienel - Wind-Up Canary

and my current iPod Top 10 - 1/3/2006

10. Emily Kane - Art Brut
9. Be Still My Heart (Nobody Remix) - Postal Service
8. Morning Wonder - the Earlies
7. A Mariner's Revenge Song - the Decemberists
6. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
5. Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
4. Public Service Announcement - DJ Danger Mouse & Jay-Z
3. Easy/Lucky/Free - Bright Eyes
2. Starting Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
1. Tribulations - LCD Soundsystem


I'll have more to say after I get myself reorganized from my long winter break in Massachusetts, but one thing I found when I was home was this great picture of Mr. Worst-baseball-writer-of-2005 himself, Ryne Sandberg. Enjoy!