Thursday, March 24, 2005
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning, and I really, really hope that my internet issues are fixed for good, or at least for awhile! Again, I apologize for not living up to much yesterday, but there just wasn't much I could do.
I am keeping rather busy. As I have mentioned, I will be heading out of town on Friday after work and going to Florida for a full week! I am so looking forward to getting completely away for awhile. I so need it. But, just as fair warning, I will not be writing the website next week. HOWEVER, be sure to stop by the site each day. I have recruited a group of four guest panelists who will be writing for me. On Tuesday, you will read my predictions for the 2005 season, but the other days will be written by others. I really think that you'll enjoy them.
So today, I am just going to pick a few topics and throw some opinions out there. I'd love to get your thoughts on any of them. So, please feel free to e-mail me to just say hi or if you have any questions or comments.
FIVE INNINGS WITH SETH
Again, today, I am just going to throw a few topics out there and will just discuss my opinions. I am again stealing the "Nine Innings" concept from The Baseball Savant (but only going five innings because you also get the Twins Thoughts and Former Twins and Ameircan Idol Thoughts), so out of courtesy, please stop by his site and see what he's talking about today. I guarantee it is great. If you don't agree, well, you're wrong!
1st Inning - Roberto Alomar Retires
Last week, Roberto Alomar got the start in a spring training game for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He had signed a one year, $600,000 contract with them, knowing he would play most every day. In that game, he played just one inning. At the plate, he struck out. In the field, he committed two errors. He left the game after that inning, and before the game was over, it was assumed that he was done. He officially retired the next day. He said that he never wanted to be one of those players that just sticks around too long. He admitted that he wasn't 100%, and eerily, he commented that he just couldn't see well at all.
It is unfortunate that Alomar's career ended like that. Although, it would also be fair to say that he should have retired after the 2001 season. To that time, Alomar was not just a great ball player, he was a play maker. I admit I am biased because he has been one of my favorite players since before he came up to the Padres in 1988. I'll be honest, I liked his 1988 Donruss Rated Rookie card. I honestly just liked it because on the back it said, "No Major League Record." A couple of years later, I was able to trade a 1989 Gregg Jeffries Fleer Rookie card for 14 1988 Donruss Alomar's! Granted, they're only worth a couple of dollars each, but I like them!
But back to his career... I frequently am asked if he is a Hall of Famer. To that, my response is an easy one. Roberto Alomar is absolutely a Hall of Famer. 17 big league seasons, he was a career .300/.371/.443 hitter. He finishes with 2.724 hits, including 504 doubles, 80 triples, 210 homers and 1,134 RBI. He played on the 1992 and 1993 World Series champion Toronto Blue Jay teams and on those AL Central dominating Cleveland Indians teams. He was an All Star 12 times. He won 10 Gold Glove Awards.
Sure, he had the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck, and he did his time for it. The fact that he and Hirschbeck are now good friends and frequently work together for charity events should be good enough for the public. Alomar was an incredible talent. Five years ago, I looked at his age and hit count and knew he would be a sure-fire Hall of Famer. That was after a dozen years. Even though he struggled the last couple of seasons should not hurt him in any way.
2nd Inning - The Minnesota Timberwolves
I get asked frequently about the Wolves too. Last year, I was writing about them on a daily basis, win or loss. Last year, they were fighting for the #1 seed on the Western Conference. This year, however, they are fighting an uphill battle just to get the #8 spot in the West. Even if they get that spot, they get to go up against Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs. It would be a certain first-round loss.
Last night, the Wolves hung on to beat the New Orleans Hornets. That improved their record to 35-34, still 2 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets.
It may be better for the team to not make the playoffs. People made too big a deal out of their first-round playoff exits before last year, and they will do the same again this year. Either way, the team knows that it has a lot of repairs to make to this franchise this offseason.
So, where does that start? Well, the first thing they need to do is realize that Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak are the two guys that they need to build around. The need to be thrilled that Latrell Sprewell will no longer be under contract. They need to find anyone who will take Sam Cassell off their hands. It would also be nice if they could trade off the long-term deals of Troy Hudson and Trenton Hassell, although I think they could fit in better in a new year, and in a new system.
And that will be the biggest key to success in 2005-2006, finding the right coach, with the right system. I am a huge fan of Flip Saunders, and we all know that he can pretty much pick who he wants to coach next year. Kevin McHale certainly is not the answer. We keep hearing Phil Jackson's name, but we know that isn't going to happen. It will also be nice to have a good draft pick, but who will they take? I think that it would be good for the organization if Kevin McHale was not involved in that process either.
3rd Inning - 10 Easy Ways to stash away thousands
OK, not at all sports related, but when I read a headline like that, I have to read the article. I am bad with money. I admit it. I need to be better at saving it and spending wisely. I mean, I'm not stupid, but I know there are a lot of things I could do to have more disposable currency.
And in this article, it gives 10 really great ways to have more money. The best part is that they all are very easy to do, or at least very practical!
4th Inning - American Idol
Normally on Wednesday nights, American Idol is announcing the person who received the least number of votes and they are eliminated from the show. However, the producers of the show had to deal with another controversial topic.
At the end of Tuesday's performance show, when recapping each performance and showing the contestant's phone numbers, three of the contestants were shown with wrong phone numbers. That would obviously mean that those three individuals would receive no votes. So what would happen? Those three people would receive no votes. Obviously this was figured out quickly, and Fox's producers decided to throw out all votes that were received Tuesday night. So, instead of eliminating someone last night, they essentially re-showed each performance. Voters were then given the correct phone numbers to call or text, and were told that if they had called the night before, they would not be charged again.
So now tonight, Fox will air their elimination show. If you see below, I have left my thoughts on the performances on this page for you to review.
Now, American Idol frequently has come under question for the whole voting procedure. When they get millions and millions of votes each week, it would be hard not to question it somewhat. I'm sure that conspiracy theorists could have a hay-day with this. They might suggest that one of the show's 'favorites' did not receive enough votes, so they had to scurry to come up wit ha plan that would allow them to keep that person on the show. Hey, maybe they will re-air the show and let the judges discuss their performances one more time. Who knows? Human error happens. Hopefully this is all legit. And, hopefully Mikalah is gone after tonight!
5th Inning - The Bachelor
Have you ever wanted to be on a reality show? Maybe Big Brother? I know I would love to do all the traveling on The Amazing Race. But frequently, I have people tell me that I should be on The Bachelor. I always come back with, "Ummm... they usually like to find attractive individuals to be on that show. The 25 women would show up and start laughing thinking they are on some spoof of reality TV."
I don't know. I would love that kind of chance. I would love to get an opportunity for 15 minutes of fame. However, with many events of late, I have decided that there is no way that I could ever be a contestant on The Bachelorette. To have to 'compete' for the affections and/or love of a woman just seems wrong on so many levels. It's not real. In doing so, you are really only allowing the woman to see your best traits knowing that if you mess up, she's got other options at the tip of her fingers. That's not real, and it's no wonder that they rarely work for more than a couple of months. Like my friends sang on The Facts of Life, "You take the good, You take the bad."
And then, can you imagine spending all this time allowing yourself to develop feelings? Can you imagine being down to the final two? By that point, you have completely opened yourself up to her, exposed and expressed all your feelings for her, and in general, made a complete fool of yourself on National TV. Yet she is, by rules, unable to fully admit her feelings for you. You know that, because you're in the final two, that she has an interest in you and at least likes you a little bit. But you don't know. So you rack your brain, trying to come up with more ways for her to like you and want to be with you and to give you a chance. But she can't give that to you, not until the final show where she is either going to ask to marry you or she is going to reach into your chest and tear out your heart, again, in front of a huge national TV audience. That situation is difficult enough to deal with by yourself, and the emotional distress would only be magnified by the fact that millions of people now will recognize you as the guy who finished a close second.
Now, previously, there have been a couple of shows where the runner-up was so liked by the viewers that ABC decides to let them be the next Bachelor. I know I used to think that the concept of being able to pick and choose between 25 gorgeous women would be a beautiful thing. After having dealt with the above situation, I now know that I really don't think that I would ever want to be in the position to hurt people like that. So, to all those who have called The Bachelor's producers to give them my name as a possible contestant, please stop.
So what do you think of the "Five Innings?" It's kind of like a Little League game, rather than the big leagues. If anything caused you any excess thinking, feel free to e-mail me.
The Twins had a complete day off from baseball. No games. No practices. And, since I can't stay online long enough to look anything up, I will just leave my same notes from yesterday on here today. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll get caught up again on stories and articles.
After getting the entire day off from baseball on Tuesday, the Twins were back to the grind yesterday. The team played against the Toronto Blue Jays and were able to get a 2-0 win. The game went just seven innings because of rain. I have to admit, but I really liked the lineup that the Twins threw out there yesterday:
Shannon Stewart, LF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Torii Hunter, CF
Jacque Jones, RF
Lew Ford, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 3B
Luis Rivas, 2B
Obviously there are still a couple of things that I don't like about it. I would prefer Ford be in LF and Stewart at DH. Obviously, I would prefer that Luis Rivas be replaced by Nick Punto, or Terry Tiffee (who could play 3B, with Cuddyer shifting to 2B). I would prefer if Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones wouldn't be next two each other in the lineup. We can all see The top four hitters getting on base with strong at bats, and then Hunter and Jones quickly getting the Twins out of the inning with their free swinging. I would switch Ford and Jones. Ford would then become the second leadoff hitter, and Jones would be hitting "2nd" again, as Gardy liked him last year. And Cuddyer would then be in more RBI situations.
There is also a lot to like about this lineup. First, Jason Bartlett is in it. Second, the team's best hitter is hitting 3rd. Morneau is still in the cleanup spot with some protection from Hunter. Also, any order that has Michael Cuddyer in the 8th hole, and you can't really argue too strongly about it, has to be a strong lineup!
The Twins scored both of their runs in the same inning. Michael Cuddyer singled. Later in the inning, Bartlett tripled him in, and then Joe Mauer singled in Bartlett. Cuddyer went 2-2. Mauer was 2-3 with a double.
On the mound, Kyle Lohse was very good. In 5 innings, he gave up no runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out three. Terry Mulholland made his first appearance of the spring and struck out one in his 1-2-3 inning. Juan Rincon gave up a hit in his inning, but struck out two.
Despite an ERA of 0.82 in 11 innings with the Twins this spring, the team sent Scott Baker down to minor league camp. They know he's ready, but he should continue starting, so I do think that it is the right decision. Not sure that they had to do it yet. David Gassner also was sent to minor league camp. I think that he opened up some eyes in camp with a good job done out of the bullpen.
Gardy still won't name Jason Bartlett his starting shortstop yet, but more and more is saying things that would indicate that it is likely! :)
Here is an interesting article on the Twins giving multi-year contracts to ten players this year. It is really interesting from both side's perspectives.
SoCalTwinsFan posts a great article over at Twins Territory disputing the value of OPS. He brings up a simple duplication in that formula that needs to be removed. It's a very interesting read.
Twins Junkie post an interview with Mark Sheldon. He writes for the Twins on MLB.com.
Any thoughts on the Twins? Please e-mail me.
Again, I just can't stay online, so no update on how the former Twins players did yesterday. Tomorrow, I will update you on how they did Tuesday and Wednesday.
Quinton McCracken, ARI, CF, 0-0
AJ Pierzynski, CHW, C, 1-3, 2B, K
Bobby Kielty, OAK, RF, 0-3, BB, R, K
Greg Colbrunn, TEX, 1B, 0-4, K
Damien Miller, MIL, C, 1-3, K
Todd Walker, CHC, 2B, 1-4, R
Rick Helling, MIL, P, 1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, K, HR allowed
Chris Gomez, BAL, SS, 0-1
Midre Cummings, BAL, CF, 0-0
Cristian Guzman, WAS, SS, 0-4, K
Matt Lawton, PIT, RF, 0-3
Joe Roa, PIT, P, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, HR allowed
Doug Mientkiewicz, NYM, 1B, 2-3, R, RBI
Javier Valentin, CIN, 1B, 0-0
David Ortiz, BOS, DH, 1-3, HR (5), R, RBI, 2 K
David McCarty, BOS, 1B, 0-0, BB
Jack Cressand, BOS, P, 1 IP, 1 K
Jose Offerman, PHI, PH, 0-1
Henry Blanco, CHC, C, 1-2
Quinton McCracken, ARI, RF, 0-1
Chad Moeller, MIL, C, 1-3, 3B
Pat Borders, MIL, C, 0-1
Chad Allen, TEX, PH, 1-1
Greg Colbrunn, TEX, 1B, 0-1, K
Denny Hocking, KCR, 3B, 3-5, 2B, R, RBI, K
Dustan Mohr, COL, CF, 1-2, BB, R
Danny Ardoin, COL, C, 0-2, K
Chris Gomez, BAL, 2B, 1-2, BB, 2 R
David Ortiz, BOS, DH, 1-3, RBI, K
Matt Lawton, PIT, RF, 1-4
Doug Mientkiewicz, NYM, 1B, 1-3, SB, K
Greg Myers, TOR, DH, 1-3
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS (repeated from Wednesday)
Last week, I was actually rather disappointed by most of the performances, so it was very easy to pick my choices for the bottom. Last night, things were a little different. To me, there was one performance that was far worse than the rest. There were two that I thought were fairly bad. But to try to rank the other eight or nine is really difficult. There were some great performances.
It made me wonder why. My gut feeling is that it is because of the category, Billboard's #1 songs. Basically, the singers could pick one of hundreds of songs that America and radio stations found great. They were popular songs, many of which are still heard on the radio with some frequency today. In other words, the familiarity with their own song choices was obvious and came through in their voices.
Here are some thoughts I had while watching the eleven performances last night:
Anthony Federov - Waiting for Me
The whole song sounded forced. Very off tune most of the song. Maybe he was trying to do something different, but it definitely DID NOT WORK. It was just awful, especially at the start. The judges seemed to like it. But, it isn't good when Paula Abdul comments that he "did George Michael proud." Uggh! Too many one-liners.
Carrie Underwood - Alone
First of all, this Heart song is one of those great, classic songs that we all know well. And speaking of heart, have I ever mentioned that I heart Carrie!? That '80s rocker look totally worked for her!! I thought she was great. She sang it slow and low from the beginning. She shows excellent diversity and ability to meet new genres. She also showed a very strong voice. I just thought she was excellent!
Scott Savol - Against All Odds
Pretty good vocally. I thought it almost sounded like he was yelling a couple of times. I don't know how someone with an Eminem-like speaking voice can sing so well. I just thought that his timing seemed off just a little bit throughout. His stage presence has improved greatly.
Bo Bice - Time in a Bottle
Every week, I keep waiting for Bo to pick the wrong song and meet my singing expectations for a rocker (they aren't high!). This Jim Croce song is a nice, laid back song, something I wouldn't have thought he had in him. But vocally, he was unbelievable! He threw enough "rocker" into it that he still sounded like himself as well. For me, it was his best yet, and it turned out to be a great song choice.
Nikko Smith - Incomplete
Who woulda thought that a Sisqo song not named The Thong Song hit #1!? I figured that the song choice would be bad, but we are talking about my man, Nikko Smith, here. The man can sing. But he can also dress. And then he's got the patented hat-toss, and he added the falling overcoat last night. He's charismatic and just a natural on the stage. But again, it is his voice that carries him and he was incredible again! I'm just waiting for him to start doing back flips on stage!
Vonzell Solomon - Best of My Love
She has the look of a runway model with the voice of Mariah Carey. Great presence. Perfect vocally. She was incredible. Questionable song choice though.
Constantine Maroulis - I Think I Love You
A song from The Partridge Family. Nice. It's a good song. Again, he's great on the stage. He rocked the song really well. I just don't think it was a good song choice for him.
Nadia Turner - Time After Time
Great song! Just not a great song for her, or for this competition. I thought that the chorus was a bit fast. She did fine, but it didn't allow her to showcase her voice. I did enjoy the '80s punk big Mohawk look though on her. Paula said she wasn't a fan of the song... was there ever any friction between her and Cindy Lauper? Why am I thinking that there was?
Mikalah Gordon - You Back
It just has to be over for her now, right? Seriously, she was just really, really horrible! She is good, but something is her voice just isn't ready yet. She yelled some notes. She tries to sing low, but her voice wasn't raspy enough. She can't quite hit high notes either. She's good, just should not continue!
Anwar Robinson - Ain't Nobody
Chaka Khan. OK, I just like saying that! Anyway, Anwar wanted to sing a funky song. I guess he did, but I don't think that he is overly funky. His thing is his voice and this song did not allow him to show it off. Just not his style. He was very, very good vocally thought still. On a side note, I've been wondering who he looks like. Last night, it hit me. He is Marvin Harrison with dreds. Just a thought.
Jessica Sierra - Total Eclipse of the Heart
Another all-time great song, but I don't think she really did anything great with it. I thought she was great at the beginning and excellent at the end, but I felt that the middle, where there are strong notes, she just didn't show the energy necessary to get them. I guess I just wasn't as positive about it as the judges were.
I will rank the performers from #1 (best) to #11 (worst). In doing that, I would be saying that my choice for who should be eliminated would be number 11.
1.) Nikko Smith - To me, it was a close call between Nikko and Bo, but because of the whole performance, I give the slight edge to Nikko.
2.) Bo Bice - I almost hate to admit that he is this good!
3.) Carrie Underwood - She is very close too. She was remarkable. I just don't want to look too biased and blinded.
4.) Vonzell Solomon -
5.) Scott Savol -
6.) Jessica Sierra -
7.) Anwar Robinson -
8.) Constantine Maroulis -
9.) Nadia Turner -
10.) Anthony Federov -
11.) Mikalah Gordon - I thought she should have been done last week.
So, by that, I would have to say that the Bottom Three should be Mikalah Gordon, Nadia Turner and Anthony Federov. I would then predict that Mikalah is gone, but again, I fear her fan base. I think Anthony Federov has a big fan base. I fear that Nadia's one sub-par performance may cost her. I just think that Mikalah was so bad that she will be gone. Again, if you have any thoughts, please e-mail me.
And with that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site today. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me. Have a great day!
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