The Burrow
(24 September - 3 October 2003)

3 October 2003
-Mayhap the only way to write is the way I did before.  I really hope that's not the case, but I guess I'll find a way if it is.
-Sep asks why the Win category matters so much for pitchers.  It's a good question, & I tend to agree with his analysis of the subject, but I can interject a couple things in defense of the W.  For one thing, there's a lot of baseball theory out there about how one pitches differently in different situations.  For example, anyone can pitch well with a 13-run lead... even if you give up 5 runs, you're still going to win the ballgame.  So there's no need to be crafty or try to strike guys out, just throw strikes & don't worry if a few go over the wall.  Of course, when pitchers have the attitude of throwing strikes & being confident, they usually end up with more strikeouts & shut down their opposition because they aren't nervously nibbling & thus making mistakes.  Meanwhile, pitching in a tied game or down a run can be extremely challenging.  So I think that something about getting wins demonstrates that a pitcher can do well under almost any circumstance, be it holding a one-run deficit to that until their team can score 2 in the 8th, or shutting down opponents with a one-run lead.  Composure is thus captured by number of wins, because realistically, no one's getting 10 runs a game in run support.  Usually it ebbs & flows.  There could also be something said for a pitcher who is able to consistently win ballgames having a positive impact on their teammates & thus inspiring them to win.  This argument sounds really weak, but sometime is true, especially in cases of superstars like Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson.  When those guys go to the mound, they both intimidate their opponents & inspire their teammates just by having their reputation.  When Pedro goes to the mound, the Red Sox all wear their uniforms a little more proudly & just feel like they're going to win.  Granted, this is a tough thing to gauge in a stastical game, but that's part of what wins do:  get at the intangibles of the boxscore & show a pitcher who can turn a whole team into winners.  This is why Pedro should've won the MVP a few years back... he was so dominant that he could turn a whole series (2-3 games of which he didn't pitch in), just by reputation & ability to deliver on it.  All of this being said, Wins should by no means be given the weight that they're given in modern baseball evaluations of pitchers.  ERA & OBA (opposition batting average) have always struck me as the most vital stats, followed possibly by strikeouts (though, like homers, these are a little more glamorous & a little less practical than they're cracked up to be) & then distantly wins.

2 October 2003
-Sleep, you are my enemy in so many ways.
-I've been meaning to post something about how I think General Wesley Clark is the worst-case scenario for the 2004 election, narrowly eclipsing the very bad scenario of re-election of the standing President Bush.  Now we all know that I'm absurdly alienated from politics, especially American politics, that I lack a social contract with my country till 2006 at the earliest, & that the Green Party is often too conservative for me.  Nevertheless, I've always had an incredible interest in what persuades people & have a nagging interest in politics that somehow survives my alienation.  The point is this:  while I don't know all of his views, I doubt very sincerely that Clark's overall political viewpoint is much better than Bush's.  I think Al Gore would've started a war in the last 3 years, so I sure as shooting (pun intended) think that a former General would've managed to too.  The big distinction will be who supports Clark vs. who supports Bush.  If Clark takes fascist actions, then the Republicans will feel some inkling of supporting him (rallying around a President, rallying around fascism, etc.) & the Democrats will full-on support him since he has a D next to his name.  At least with GWB, some people are serving as watchdogs & complaining about the guy, calling attention to his weaknesses.  With someone militarily inclined in the House, but claiming to be from the left side of the spectrum, who will be standing in his way?  This is the problem with a political party that wants so desperately to get votes from their opposition that they become their opposition.  Eventually, the lines between the left & right get blurry.  Unfortunately, in this case, they're blurry because there isn't a left side anymore.

1 October 2003
-Ah, October.  This one's snuck up on me, like it hasn't started in late September like usual.  Mayhap I've just been busy.
-I was in an incredible mood regarding my job going into work today & left a mere meeting over my job feeling terrible.  I think I've realized that my boss, while a good person & solid at being a Seneca employee, isn't especially a great manager.  Many people in this world are not good at overseeing other people in work, but being promoted always seems to carry with it a degree of oversight over others.  In very few cases can one be promoted to the top of one's field without having to manage other people, & with this comes a responsibility that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the skills that got one there in the first place.  Not sure I know how to fix this, but it seems like a common issue in many walks of business.

30 September 2003
-So the M's finished with the 6th-best record in MLB, putting up more wins than 3 playoff teams.  There has to be a better way to determine the playoff teams.  Were the model of the NBA used, but with 8 teams instead of 16 making the playoffs, 4 division champions & 2 teams in each league with the best records would make the playoffs.  Then we'd have Seattle in for Minnesota & all would be well.  Instead, we have to watch the Cubs, Marlins, & Twins (all with worse records than the M's) play playoff games.  At least I can root for the Giants, my second favorite team.  But bah!
-Phil has inspired me to do some sort of review of the great debate tournament moments of my career, now more than a year over.  But there are so many!  I'd have to make a page with stories of all the highlights.  Hard to say if I could refrain from telling a story about all the tourneys.  But it seems like so much fun, if only in the recollection.

29 September 2003
-Excellent shift yesterday has revived most all of my faith in this job.  I basically just gave myself a large kick-start by doing all of the work I could & making sure that I did it well.  Despite having zero confidence going into the day, I was able to serve as Shift Leader for the first time & really get stuff done.  Suddenly I feel like a long-term Seneca employee again.
-Today was worse than yesterday, but the bumps are a lot easier to take when Em's home.  Also, nothing seems to be nearly as bad as last week.

28 September 2003
Happy Birthday to Jake Quicksall
-Discovered that the new Indian/Pakistani restaurant around the corner is open late & only half a block away.  It's also the cheapest Indian subcontinent restaurant I've ever seen.  This place will become a quick favorite of ours, I'm sure.
-Long day today when I feel downtrodden & have been unable to get any rest.  We can only hope.

27 September 2003
[from Los Angeles]

Happy Birthday to Emily Clayton
-Extended the visit a bit for more games & fun.  Russ & Emily are seeming consistently better than Mesco & I at Settlers.
-Plane flights should always be an hour long & with someone you love.

26 September 2003
[from Los Angeles]

-Today I made up for my lifetime lack of game-systems (I always prefer computer games anyway) by playing an almost endless number of games on Russ' Nintendo.  My hand is now cramped up into a claw & my thumb is completely numb & a little swollen.
-It's hilarious to sit around & talk about a computer game with two others who play it all the time.  Especially when it's something like DAoC where there's lots of actual people playing in the same "world".
-Settlers of Catan continues to be an excellent expenditure of time.  So good to see folks down in SoCal.

25 September 2003
[from Los Angeles]

Happy Birthday to John Dolan
-PIRGs are the same everywhere.
-Mesco's roommate is really cool.  I'm not sure I've ever met a 'Deisian that I didn't know at 'Deis.

24 September 2003
Happy Birthday to David Kunkel
-My work situation continues to plummet.  Some have said it's been one of the worst weeks in a while, so I shouldn't take everything too hard.  But the supportive staff environment I found in training is vanishing into a void on the ground.  On the verge of October, I am beginning to sense a sort of shameless chaos.
-Traditionally, in much of my recent life, when I have been feeling at sea with aspects of my life, I have gravitated towards Southern California.  An odd reality, but one that's hard to deny.  Tonight I leave for LA to join Em on her PIRG trip, & finally pay a visit to Russ & Lauren, Mesco, & perhaps even Dolan.

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