There are no words

Here I am at the latest No Fluff, Just Stuff conference in Framingham, MA, meeting up with great people, learning lots of new things, when the Sox/Yankees game comes on.

We’re up 7 – 2 headed for the 8th inning.  Okajima (ERA: 1.76) is already in for the 8th, Papelbon (ERA: 1.50) is ready for the 9th.  The best bullpen in baseball is ready to go.

They give up six runs between the two of them and we fall behind 8-7.  It was so bad I forgot we had another inning to go.

Not that it mattered.  There are no words.  I was going to link to the game summary, but if you’re that interested, go find it yourself. 🙁

Green Monster time

Xander and I had our trip to Fenway today, with my first time ever sitting on the Green Monster.  The weather was great (low 80s, partly cloudy, with a nice breeze), the seats were excellent (Section 5, Row 1, Seats 9 and 10 — basically middle of the front row), and the Sox scored six runs in the bottom of the 1st on their way to an 8-4 win.

I’ll probably say more about this later, but in the meantime I finally have a picture to upload here.  The guy sitting next to us had an iPhone and was kind enough to take this photo and email it to me.

Green Monster seats at Fenway

The photo here is a thumbnail view.  Click it to see full size.  I’m the one on the left. 😉

Everything would have been perfect, but when we got home we saw the Sox go ahead 5-4 in the 8th inning of the nightcap, only to see Erik Gagne blow the save in the top of the 9th.  Oh well.  With the Yankees win today, the lead is back to 5 games.

Categories
Baseball

It’s not all Gagne’s fault

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Yes, if it wasn’t for Eric Gagne, the Red Sox probably would have swept all three games against the Orioles rather than lose two of three. Yes, the Yankees are playing video game baseball right now and may win no matter what we do. But somebody please, please explain to Terry Francona that it’s okay to bring on your closer in a tie game on the road? Kyle freakin’ Snyder instead of Jonathan Papelbon? That’s just insane.

Bill James actually works for the Red Sox. Can’t he sit down with Theo and Terry and explain elementary bullpen usage? Please? He’s already on the payroll — use him!

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. This is the hardest time to live in Connecticut. I really like living here, despite my mildly deprecating comments about it (“I married a local girl, so now I’m stuck,” and such things), but there are Yankee fans everywhere. And there are Red Sox fans everywhere. To paraphrase Jeffrey Pelt in The Hunt for Red October, “it would be well to consider that having your [fans] and ours in such proximity is inherently dangerous — wars have started that way!”

If we both make the playoffs again … blech. If the Sox miss the playoffs … no, I’m not even going to go there yet.

Categories
Baseball

Burned by MLB and DRM

I know this isn’t really business related, but I thought I’d write a post about this problem just in case anybody knows a solution.

In late 2004, after the Red Sox won the World Series, I purchased the downloadable broadcasts of all of their playoff games from Major League Baseball. That came to about 20 gigs of downloads covering 14 games, each of which was playable in Windows Media Player only (the only supported player at the time).

In each case, the first time I tried to play the file on a new computer, the program contacts MLB for a license file, which is then stored locally. After that I can play the files without a problem.

Well, I’m not really an “early adopter,” but that is almost three years ago and I’ve gotten new systems since then. The field of digital downloads has also, shall we say, moved on. Anyway, the other day I tried to play one of those files on my current computer, only to discover that the license download site no longer exists.

I contacted MLB about this at their 800 number. I eventually had to talk to a manager in order to find somebody who understood the situation.

He informed me that their digital download service is down and therefore unavailable. I explained that the files had already been downloaded years ago and I only needed the licenses, which I’d bought and paid for long ago.

That didn’t matter. I still need to contact the digital download service, which is not available. Worse, it’s been down all year, and, believe it or not, he had no idea when — or even if — it would ever be back up. He suggested I keep checking periodically, because he’s doing the same thing. And no, there is no one else I’m allowed to talk to about this.

The bottom line is that I now have a complete set of video files that I can’t play. I guess this is yet another example of the evils of digital rights management. Probably serves me right for going through legal channels to get them in the first place.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Categories
Baseball

Quick moment to gloat before the Yankees start hitting again…

Everyone says you should stop and smell the roses, right? My own variation on that line is, whenever you find yourself in a good position, be sure to enjoy it, because everything changes.

Well, the Red Sox are currently 36-15, the Yankees are 21-29, and the difference between them is a whopping 14 1/2 games. That’s so cool I can hardly stand it.

Reality (in the form of the adjusted standings at Baseball Prospectus) says that the Sox are playing slightly over their heads (1.5 games above their third-order adjusted wins) while the Yankees are way below (by a huge 7 games). That’s not going to last. Part of that is due to the Sox closing games better than the Yankees these days, but that should level out some, too. Once the Yankees start hitting the cover off the ball again, watch out.

Still, this is really a fun time to be a Sox fan. I want to make sure I enjoy it, so that later in the season after the Yankees have won 10 in a row and the Sox have dropped six, I remember this.

Categories
Baseball

20 days and counting…

In honor of the first Yankees/Red Sox game of the season (okay, pre-season), let me just remind everyone that opening day is only 20 days away. Sweet.

Just to prove to myself that my son (Xander, age 14) doesn’t read my blog, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve told him that we’re going out together on April 15. He doesn’t know where. Well, as an official member of Red Sox Nation (a Monster member, no less), I was able to acquire a pair of front row tickets on the Green Monster in Fenway Park.

I’ve always said to my wife that someday before I die, I was going to get monster seats. That someday is April 15. Hey, why wait, even if I did have to take out a second mortgage to afford them?

(That was an exaggeration, if only a small one.)

Don’t tell anybody about this. If the boy comes to me tomorrow and knows about the game, then somebody here said something. 😉

If you can’t blog something nice…

… I suppose you shouldn’t blog anything at all.  That means I won’t be discussing anything here about my latest airline experiences, especially my trip through Chicago with the flight delayed 5 1/2 hours and then ultimately cancelling without telling me.  Nope, I’m SO not going there.

(Other than to say I feel so much safer knowing that no potential terrorist can smuggle aboard an unopened can of Diet Coke.  Or toothpaste.  Wouldn’t want them to attack the plane with toothpaste — think of all the deadly combinations that could lead to.  But I digress.)

I also clearly can’t address the current Red Sox lineup, with its almost complete lack of high on-base percentage hitters.  I can’t talk about our pitching, either, especially the rubble that is the relief corps (or is that corpse?  Other than Jonathan Papelbon, of course, who’s looking awfully tired out there).
Back to work on the Hibernate materials.

Categories
Baseball

Baseball Tour 2006

Normally here I’d rather spend time talking about technologies I’m working with and the process I’m going through learning them, but I thought I’d take a small moment as an aside to mention the baseball tour I just finished with my son Xander, 14.

A week ago Sunday (8/6) we went to McCoy Stadium to see the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Boston AAA affliate, generally known as the PawSox. We were very fortunate to get two tickets. The stadium was packed and enthusiastic. We had a great time, even though the PawSox lost 12 to 2.

We originally planned to spend the following weekend checking out the Lowell Spinners (the Sox’s A league affliate) and the Portland Sea Dogs (AA for the Sox), but both were sold out. That came as quite a surprise to me — I’m not used to minor league teams being sold out, but there it was. Instead we decided at the last minute Friday morning (8/11) to make a trip south. I was able to get tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park. We drove all the way to Philadelphia, which I now realize is not an easy thing to do on a Friday afternoon. We left at about 12:30 pm and made it to the part at 6:30 pm for a 7 pm game. Whew. Then the game (against Cincinnatti) went 14 innings (!) before the Phillies won.

We spent the night at my sister’s, then traveled to Reading on Saturday (8/12) to see the Reading Phillies take on the Harrisburg Senators. That game, too, went extra innings, but Reading won in the 10th. That stadium was rocking, too. It was practically full and loud. Probably the fact that it was Harley night didn’t hurt.

On Sunday we then went to see the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons, who were playing, interestingly enough, Pawtucket. That was the first place we went where the crowds were small and not really involved, but we had a good time anyway. That was also the first stadium Xander had ever been to that had artificial turf. After the game the Red Barons let kids run around the bases for five minutes, so we were able to see how spongy the turf was first hand.

A long drive later we were home. That ended that particular trip, but on Tuesday we went down to see the Connecticut Defenders (the former Norwich Navigators) defeat Altoona 2 to 1. I splurged at that game, paying the extra $5 for sky box seats, which were great. They even had fireworks after the game, which were very good, except for the fact that the smoke was thick and hovered over the field, making it hard to see the fireworks after a while.

So in the end it was five games in about a week and a half, including the Phillies and their AA and AAA affliates, the AA affliate for Boston (once home and once away), and the San Francisco AA affliate (the Defenders). Most amazing, in every case the weather was absolutely perfect. Hopefully we’ll be able to say the same next year.

I’m trying not to think about the fact that the Red Sox are two games behind the Yankees, who are coming into town for five games in four days.  Jason Veritek is still on the DL, as are Trot Nixon and Tim Wakefield.  The pitching is very shaky these days.  This could be an ugly, ugly weekend.  Or maybe not.

What a twist!

Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first saw the commercial for the new M. Night Shyamalan movie Lady in the Water, I, too, felt compelled to say, “What a twist!”  Robot Chicken rules, and not just because it was created by Oz from Buffy, aka Scott Evil, aka Chris Griffin.

On a more serious note, geez, the Hibernate In Action book really is good. I mentioned it in a couple of posts ago, but I had no idea. I remember when I first started looking at Hibernate months ago, I didn’t really like the book. Maybe now I’ve just learned enough to “get it”.

I still get the same feeling that I had when I read Bertram Meyer’s Object Oriented Software Construction — the book comes across as being written by someone almost too arrogant for words, but if you could get past all that, the content was excellent. I still remember Meyer going on for ten pages on how class names should be written with Initial_Caps_Separated_By_Underscores and how that was the only intelligent way to do it. I initially had trouble with the fact that Hibernate book couldn’t stop trying to sell how wonderful the framework is and how theirs is the One True Way(TM) to do ORM. I guess by now I can filter that out.

Oh, and by the way, in the All Star Game this evening, the American League was losing 2-1 with two outs in the top of the ninth. A single, a double, and a triple later it’s 3-2 with Mariano Rivera coming in to close. That’s the first time I can remember looking forward to seeing Rivera come in. He got the save, of course.
Where would the Yankee dynasty have been without Rivera? Where would the Red Sox have been with Rivera?

Maybe now we’ll find out. Our Rivera is named Jonathan Papelbon, despite his blowing the save on Sunday. His ERA skyrocketed all the way up to 0.59. 🙂

What a way to enter the All Star break…

19 innings and an L.  Papelbon blows the save by giving up a homer with two outs in the 9th.  They score two runs in the 11th, only to give them back in the bottom half of the inning, missing a major baserunning error in the process.  They almost made that double play to get out of it, too.  Ginger and I went out to dinner right after that, dropped off some stuff for Xander (sleeping over at a friend’s house) and even drove around a bit before returning and the game was still going.

I knew when Rudy Seanez came in it was over, but he held together for over two innings before falling apart.  I really can’t expect more than that.

The Yankees lost, too.  We could have picked up a whole game on them.

I guess I have to be happy with how the Sox are playing, but if Foulke, Clement, and Wells are all going to be unavailable indefinitely, we need pitching.  Hopefully Theo has something in the works.

I have to admit that it sure is fun watching the Sox play stellar defense.  I can’t remember that happening in my lifetime.

It would have been nice to win that game, though.  Sigh.