Sunday, August 24, 2008

Something Sinister?

On Thursday, David Pinto suggested that "...something sinister is going on in Oakland." I'm having a tough time seeing that. What does he think is going on? I suppose he's insinuating that the A's are intentionally putting players on the DL to make the team worse - and improve the team's draft position for the 2009 MLB draft. I guess I don't get it.

Maybe the complaint is that A's fans are getting a raw deal? That they're supporting a team that doesn't want to win? That doesn't jive with me. A's fans have already written this year off, so losing a few more games isn't going to be that painful to us. And the upside (better draft position) would be nice. As for attendance, it's been pretty crappy all season. Losing a few more games down the stretch isn't going to make the problem much worse - and the A's ownership isn't going to feel that much more pain in the wallet.

Maybe the complaint is that the A's alleged Operation Shutdown will have some major impact on the playoff races...? The problem with that argument is that the A's have 32 games left, and only four against a team (the Twins) that's still in any kind of a playoff race. Games against the Angels, Tigers, Royals, Orioles, Rangers and Mariners are essentially meaningless at this point, so how incensed can we really be? The A's can't affect the playoff races in any meaningful way.

I don't think there's anything sinister going on in Oakland, and even if the A's were conspiring to lose games, I wouldn't be terribly offended. Tanking one season to make the next year better worked out pretty well for the Celtics, didn't it?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Canon Powershot SD600 Lens Error

Normally, I'm a pretty prolific picture-taker. Last year, I spent a week in Japan and came home with about a thousand pictures. So, you can imagine my frustration when my camera crapped out this summer. I have the Canon Powershot SD600, and it shut down with the lens extended as I was about to snap my 18th straight "art shot" in the hills surrounding Cloverdale, CA. I tried powering the camera back on, only to get an error message: "lens error, restart camera." Sadly, there is no way to restart the camera. A quick search gave my this suggestion:

all u gotta do it turn on the camera n quickly try knock the lens back in the camera while it is on....dunt break the lens dont knock it to hard. -MAMA

Brilliant in its simplicity, but ineffective. I pretty much wrote the camera off, sure that the error was fatal. But, being the cheap bastard that I am, I held onto the camera, hoping against hope that I could find some other solution.

Well, tonight the heavens opened up, and more diligent internetting provided another option: Total disassembly. I cracked the camera open like a salty oyster, spun some gears, slapped it back together and... voila! I have a working camera again, and it only cost me $3 for the precision screwdriver set I should have had all along.

While I don't generally post any of my pictures to this site, I'm sure the one person reading this post (my dad) will be happy to know that he can expect more pictures flowing into his inbox in the near future. Three cheers for the internet, solver of all life's problems!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Detroit Home on Sale for $1

There was (is?) a house for sale in Detroit, asking price... $1.00. Story here. (h/t Kedrosky)

It's highly unlikely that the original residents made $100k+, but you can see the bigger picture in's Executive Job Market Trends. Check out the Regional Employment Interest. Detroit's score of 18 is horrible, and it means that everyone in the Detroit area is interested in jobs *outside* of Detroit while no one outside of Detroit is interested in working there. It's not a pretty situation.

Another Week Closer to 2009

As the 2008 season grinds toward it's merciful end, the A's had another poor week, going 2-4 against the Rays and White Sox. Sure, there were a couple bright spots, but there were too many low points.

Three blog posts caught my eye this week:

(1) F's for the A's from BaseballMusings.

I'm a big a fan of Billy Beane as anyone, but he screwed up this year... He tore the heart out of the pitching staff, and the result is a team that obviously no longer cares and no longer even tries to win. The Athletics... trot out a lineup that can't get on base, can't hit for power, and can't score runs. It's a joke and an embarrassment... The A's may have a plan, but it's getting harder to see. Maybe keeping Haren and Harden and drafting players who can actually hit would have been a better strategy.

I agree with Pinto's observation that the team stinks and that they've essentially quit on the 2008 season. It's probably also true that Beane screwed up the 2008 season, but I'm not too bothered by it. We knew this was going to be a rebuilding year, and the A's have done a tremendous job stockpiling young talent. The ceiling for this year's squad just wasn't that high, and it would have been a bigger mistake to have sold prospects in order to make a run this year. I'm still willing to give Beane the benefit of the doubt.

(2) Gettin' Ziggy With It (Season 2, Vol. 6) on AthleticsNation

I want to take a quick second to thank everyone for the support I received as I approached and eventually surpassed the Major League record for consecutive scoreless innings to start a career. I honestly didn’t think the record would be that big of a deal…it’s such an obscure record, and it had been held for so long that I honestly didn’t know that it was something that would be kept track of... I got a lot more attention with it than I anticipated, and that really surprised me. My teammates have been very supportive, which has been really nice, since they’re the main reason the streak exists in the first place. It’s obvious I’m not a strikeout pitcher, so I rely on my defense so heavily night-in and night-out. And, from what I can recall, I think we’ve made 1 error in my 34 innings so far. And at any point, if there had been an unearned run that scored, the streak would’ve been over. But they keep making the plays, so I keep doing my best to get groundballs.

Ziegler seems like a pretty good, down-to-earth guy. He's easy to root for.

(3) Ziegler (Director's Cut) from Joe Posnanski. (h/t to Gregg)

Recaps Ziggy's journey: He's had his skull fractured twice, was released by the Phillies, played independent league ball, etc. Basically, he's Seabiscuit crossed with Cinderella Man, minus the Depression. In short, his is a a good tale to tell.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is it 2009 yet?

Over on AthleticsNation: "I've lost the will to cheer". I'm pretty much there myself. I'm ready for the 2008 baseball season to be over. It's hard to believe the A's were only 6 games back a month ago and had the fourth best run differential in the AL. Since then, the A's have been craptastic. They've been outscored by 43 runs in the last month and are now 17.5 games behind the Angels.

By the way, my sister got me a great little thing from Brookstone this past Hanukah. It's called the Sportscast. It sits on my desk and reminds me every day that this year is a lost cause. It currently tells me that the A's have lost nine straight games to fall to 53-60. Of course, you can get this information anywhere, but the benefit here is that it's always on... always taunting me. Argh!