Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SB Fortune Cookie

Most Americanized Chinese food restaurants serve fortune cookies
(ironically invented in Japan, not China) after you finish your meal. Inside the cookie is a "fortune" with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy and may also include a list of lucky numbers - 4,8,15,16,23,42 that you may use to play lotto or some other purpose.

Softball has sayings.
Softball has numbers.
So why can we have Fortune Cookies? We can

Some Softball Fortune Cookie Sayings I suggest

SB Fortune "Look at Me Now"

Meaning - Forget the past, I've transcended that. I've become more

SB Fortune "I'm going to Hell, Who's is coming with me"
Meaning - Defiance

SB Fortune - "A Warrior's body may say stop, but his Spirit cries never"
Meaning - Bruto Strength

SB Fortune "Think Before and After an At bat, never during"
Meaning - Like Yogi said "you can't hit and think at the same time "

SB Fortune - "Frosted Flakes get Soft in Milk"
Meaning - ?????

SB Fortune "Pitching Pitching Pitching"
Meaning - No need to read between the lines

SB Fortune "I got it"
Meaning : Confidence and decisiveness

SB Fortune : "It costs you more than money to pay for a player,,, much more"
Meaning - Soul issues

SB Fortune " "Keep your friends close, and your umpires even closer"
Meaning :  You can catch more bees with honey than vinegar with umpires. Just don't be fake about it.

SB Fortune "Be aggressively patient"
Meaning :  "Contraction within the game"

SB Fortune "Recruiting Ethics.. forget it" 
Meaning " Nice guys might not finish last, they just don't win it all"

SB Fortune "If a man thinks he is going to die, he will find a way to make it happen"
Meaning "Debbie downers will not win. Stay realistic but positive"

SB Fortune "Pressure is a Privilege"
Meaning - "All the bullshit you do is to get to this moment. Embrace it, don't dread it"

SB Fortune "Goons are people too"
Meaning "Don't judge"

SB Fortune "Those who have not been humbled will soon be humbled"
Meaning It's a game of failure. Perseverance is a must.

SB Fortune "Chemistry is over rated and under rated all at once"
Meaning "Enthusiasm and Talent is a delicate balance" 

SB Fortune "Where there is a Will, there is a way"
Meaning : Fucking corny but so true. You just gotta do shit yourself in life.

SB Fortune : Its More than Just a Game
Meaning : Its More than Just a Game

I could go one and on in my sick twisted mind, but I think I will stop for now, but my cookies away,  and heat up some dumplings for lunch. Holler!!!!!!!!!!

Santa's Softball Helper

Friend of the Insider (left below)
 and avid Softball enthusiast Susan B Anthony,  I uh mean Elizabeth Burbach, is in the holiday spirit as she is collecting baseball/softball, clothes and equipment
 to send to kids in the Dominican Republic. 

The Insider Salutes Liz  as she gets it ... its more than just a game

PS If you have anything to donate - shirts, jersey. equipment, please let me know I will put you in touch with her.

Find the Black Box to solve the Mystery of the Crash

Eagles 45 Jets 19 - and it wasn't even that close.

As legendary Rocky trainer Mickey would have said "You're a Bum"

  • I can take Losing (after 42 years I have had enough Jet practice)
  • I can take getting blown out.
  • I can take a bad game, but when one of your "Captains" namely Santonio Holmes
  • Fumbles - Strike One
  • Drops a Pass that he makes 50 million to catch and it ricochets for an interception - Strike Two
  • Fights Back from all that failure to Catch a TD, then gets flagged 15 yards for taunting the Eagles even though we are down 28-9 - Then That's Strike Fucking Three, Moronic and Unacceptable.
I don't care of this happens a lot on the NFL, their is no excuse for it. Show some class and make your fans happy and while I accepted weeks ago that the Jets are mediocre , all I want for Christmas is a win over the Giants and New Years Day victory over the hated Fish. 

Its time for big mouth Rex Ryan to unlock the black box and right the flight of this team. Make some adjustments like :
  • Give terrible right tackle Wayne Hunter some help - he gets beat every week like he stole something
  • Bench Safety Eric Smith - Can't cover a table with a table cloth
  • Throw the Ball down field to Keller, other teams make their TE's look like HOF's versus us.
Adjust Ryan. Adjust

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silence is Deafening

Most of the sounds associated with the game are clearly distinguishable:
  • The popping of the mitt
  • Crack of the ball off the bat
  • Umpire Calls
  • Cheering, booing, and arguing by fans, players, coaches and goons
But sometimes silence within the game is much more meaningful and deafening. I've noticed things have a funny way of getting awfully quiet during key spots like:
  • Dramatic Home Run or its inverse shocking strikeout
  • Borderline pitch framed by a catcher
  • Hesitant call by umpire
  • Tense game ending situation
  • Great defensive play made out of nowhere or horrendous error on the routine
  • A Manager makes a move or better yet no move.
The silence may only be momentary and quickly broken, but its profound effect is still felt. I know I'm being a bit of drama queen as I spit my heart through this blog, but I really do believe that that eerie split second of silence intensifies the significance of the moment.

The dramatic effect of silence was on full display in the real world today as the Federal Reserve Bank voted 9-to-1 to make no changes to the central bank's ongoing stimulus policies and renewed its pledge to keep interest rates at record lows "at least through mid-2013." They did nothing because they acknowledged the economy's future remains on pins and needles as: "the unemployment rate remains elevated" and "strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks." Stocks fell for a second straight day on the Fed silence, as it served as a deafening reminder that no short term fix is over the horizon.

So who do we break this silence? That's President Obama's job (I highly recommend you watching these two video links) as he recently spoke on 60 minutes about being under the gun and his vision. He knows he can't afford to be quiet as he has a country to run/fix and an election to win. For now this is all noise and perhaps silence is best, as all that really matters is job creation, as actions speak louder than words.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Leap of Fafth

Part of the reason I am so fucked up in the head is that I went to Catholic school 
for thirteen years as my parents sent me an extra year just to piss me off. I understand why my parents sent me to parochial school, but ironically this oppressive over kill atmosphere pushed me away from the church as I've challenged the catholic way of thinking and formed my own opinions and beliefs.

Now even though I've lost my religion over the years one of the things I love about this country is constitutional guaranteed right of "Freedom of Religion" as provided in First Amendment. Everyone can choose their own "leap of faith" without fear of persecution. Religious freedom is an integral part of our society and manifests itself in many ways, one of which is through sports. For example who many times have you seen this sign at a game

People often mix religion and sports. Hell I know I do as everyone who reads this posts knows I deeply believe in the softball gods
Recently the remarkable success of Tim Tebow
 has me thinking about the sports-religion connection 

All joking aside all this guy does is win

Sorry I couldn't resist as those videos were mad funny but they also illustrate that while the 1st Amendment allows religious freedom without legal persecution it does not stop the court of public opinion from casting a preconceived guilty verdict.

Personally, I think Tebow has been lucky and hiding behind a good defense, but that I must admit I have grown to respect his leap of faith and confidence. He doesn't care about what anyone says about him or his religious beliefs as all he does is win.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Forgoing Free Agnecy and looking for a Lifetime Extension

When a MLB player's contract expires they become a "free agent" 
At that point they can sign with any team that desires and can afford their services. Common sense dictates that during free agency a player looks to sign a contract that offers them the most money for the longest period of time. Contract terms all vary depending on the player's age, ability, statistics, position, comparable contracts, and the overall market place. Besides the money, perhaps the next biggest stumbling point in negotiations is length of contract as the longer a deal goes the higher the risk of injury and poor/diminishing performance by the athlete. Logically teams prefer to offer shorter (1or 2 year) deals, but all the top free agents want long term commitments (5 years and beyond).

In the real world, I was once a single free agent, but 5 years ago today I signed a marriage contract

and I just wanted  to declare that I have no intention of going real world free agent and am looking for a lifetime service contract extension from my amazing wife - Astrid!!!!!!!!
 who is beautiful inside and out.She has been there for me in every way and I know the years ahead will only get better as we build a new team through the farm system one day.

Happy Anniversary and Holler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

SB Winter Meetinsg

Baseball's Winter Meetings are taking place this week. The way I see is if these multimillion dollar teams, players, and low life agents can have a convention to wheal and deal why can we?  I mean with have suits and sweaters
and can get together to make moves. So without much further ado let's use MLB as a template and set up a Softball Winter meeting Agenda

Agenda Item #1 Introduce media lightning rod and controversial manager 
  •  Red Sox hire Bobby Valentine and Miami Marlins hire Ozzie Guillen
  •  and after a 6 month hiatus softball manager Dio Jackson is now back
looking to take the championship reigns back

Agenda Item #2 - Big Money spent on Free Agents
  • Papelbon, Bell, Reyes, Pujols, Fielder, Wilson all have or are going to get paid
  • In Softball, the rich will always get richer
 Agenda Item #3 - New Stadium used to attract players
  • The Marlins use their impressive new dome home
    as a selling point
Agenda Item #4 - Bidding Wars on Top Players
  • Scott Boras types going to try and drive up player prices
  • In softball top impact players are at a premium and the Recruiting Game is ruthless

Agenda Item #5 - Young Players
  • The days of trading off your entire farm system are over. Young players are durable and affordable.
  • In Softball Young players are not only the future
but can also courtesy run. The market for these players is important because it represents an out of the box recruiting strategy.
Big Apple Rookie of Year Christian Goris, 2nd from left
as you try and lock in players who are hitting their peak

Competition is especially complicated for these guys. A topic for another day.

Agenda Item #6 - Older player market
  • Big Papi, Vlad, Thome find it harder to get big deals or promised playing time as Dh types get flexed on
    • In softball, studs of yesterday like Tommy Helegson have been forced to take short term deals with winless teams like the Legends to prove their worth
    Agenda Item #7 - Thin Pitching Market
    • CJ Wilson offered a 6 year deal, Ridiculous. People Always overpay for pitching
    • Softball is the same. Most pitchers (not all) look to stick up the market for the highest bidder. Someone always caves in
    Agenda Item #8 - Rumors
    • Players, fans, bloggers, agents, GM's, owners, reporters are all like high school girls passing notes. They love rumors, bitch style
    • Everyone in softball loves juicy rumors, drama  and gossip (bochinche in Spanish). It's part of teh social element.

    Let the Softball Hot Stove begin

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    AGAIN... "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."

    I've been here before as Met fan before, AGAIN, and AGAIN ,and AGAIN.

    • 1977 - I was a little kid but Mets Salary dumped Seaver  - team would suck for years
    • 1990 - Darryl Strawberry was not resigned - AGAIN team would suck for years
    • 2011 - Reyes deemed to expensive and injury risk to resign - AGAIN - team will suck for years

    As a free agent shortstop in his prime, Reyes was a rarity.  The 28-year-old had one of the finest seasons of his nine-year Mets career in 2011, winning his first batting title and posting the fourth season in which he was worth about six wins above replacement. He has all 5 tools, he can hit, hit for power (extra bases), speed, defense, and a strong arm. For that skill set he will receive $102M over the first six years of his contract, and has a $4MM buyout on a seventh year option. Can't blame a brother for getting paid.

    I'm a Met fan and everyone knows I loved but recognized Jose Reyes flaws.
    as he was frequently injured and more importantly not old school approved for his on field celebration/antics. Old school veterans like Keith Hernandez hated him, most Yankee fans hated him for the Jeter SS comparisons, the Phillies hated him, hell whole the National League East hated him (ironically the Marlins tried to beat him up several times but hypocritically signed him), and finally he completely shit on the fans in his last game as a Met 

    This whole situation reminds me of the famous Ralph Kiner story about being traded to the Cubs. Kiner played for the last place Pirates and was clearly their best player. He went in to ask for a raise and legendary Pirate general manager Branch Rickey (notoriously cheap) told him, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you." He was then traded. Same shit with Reyes. Met ownership is broke and committed to rebuilding. Rebuilding means you are going to suck for a while. In the long run,  this is probably a good smart thing, but just the prospect of waiting a long time AGAIN hurts.
    Unfortunately, Met fans have been here before,  AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    2011 Team Name Review

    Softball team names can be meaningful, shallow, traditional, clever, or politically incorrect. With the year almost over, I thought it would be fun to review some 2011 team names I encountered:

    Softball Insider Rated  Best Team Name - Old School
    While the team's roster and performance was in transition this year, their name in and of itself is so cool as "there is no school like the old school"

    Softball Insider Rated Best A96 Team Name - The Hustlers

    It's all about the Hustle. Every player on this team should always Hustle.

    Softball Insider Rated Identity Crisis Name - Pray for Rain
    Championship Team where everyone wore Cyclone shirt, but team name was Pray for Rain.

    Softball Insider Rated Most Responsible Name Trojans
    Team name had nothing to do with condoms but subliminally it sent a good message.

    Softball Insider Rated Almost Got it Right Name.. Almost - Diesel Rangers

    The team is not only close to winning on the field, but its also close to getting its name right. In 2010 the team was called Diesel Express. However, it had previously been called Lawn Rangers. So in 2011 the names were merged to Diesel Rangers. Damn. Almost. Lawn Rangers is so much more New York City Central Park symbolic.

    Softball Insider Rated Best B96 Corny Generic Name - Bravery
    Bravery ??? Cmon that name would never be allowed above 96th street, but lo and behold it proved worthy as the team dealt with massive internal and external challenges to show true honor and courage.

    Softball Insider Rated - Most Corporate -  Charter Fabric & LawyerTime
    "The Man" means fully sponsored.

    Softball Insider Rated - Bridge and Tunnel Award  - West NY
    OK never mind that this 10-0 team joked in the playoffs, at least we saved the league and let everyone know we were still loyal to NY even if we played in Jersey City.

    Softball Insider Rated - Best Neighborhood Name -  Hell's Kitchen
     Even the life long Hell's Kitchen resident would admit the neighborhood has under gone massive turnover but the name still has a special tough NY meaning associated with it. This team also gets kudos for best colors as their pumpkin orange fit the season.

    Finally, I don't want to forget you COED players out there so
    Softball Insider Rated - Best Coed Team Name - 
    Can't Make that up

    Good Blogmates

    One of the highest compliments you can give a player is call him a great teammates.  Softball/Baseball is a game of failure and it helps to have good teammates that are honest and supportive to help you through the hard times.  Life is no different as the saying goes  "that's what friends are for".

    Recent Blogs have me starting to lose my sense of humor as everything is so tense and gloom.  I get my fair share of blog comments that usually run the full spectrum from funny to sad, bland to controversial, ignorant to brilliant and so forth. Recently, I have gotten an overwhelming amount of positive comments from my fellow Blog Mates that have me feeling much more upbeat, calm, and relaxed. 

    Comment # 1 - Keep The Faith Ricky. You're too good of a person not to reach your goals. Sometimes it just takes longer than we want.

    Comment #2  - Oh, Ricky. I know the wave that's crashing in on you right now. And I know more than a few people (myself included) feeling trapped by the times we are living through. Bad economy and a political environment that seems intent on making it worse. Then winter comes and no more ballgames and since the game is what some of us have to make the harshness of life recede for a bit, hopelessness can start to overwhelm. Don't despair, my friend. There is always something you can do without having to ask anyone's permission. I've decided to use the next three months to acquire some new skills that might make a difference in my economic situation by the time spring arrives. In the meantime, I'm taking every scrap of a job I can dig up and working for less money than I have had to take for 20 years. But right now, it's better than nothing. And by the time I've taken a few classes, spring will be here. And with it, renewal of the game and who knows, lots of other possibilities. As JIM SAYS ABOVE, KEEP THE FAITH, Ricky. Better days are coming and you are not alone.

    Comment #3 - I don't knowbut from reading his post addressing your concerns he sounds like someone who is going to achieve great success in the business world. He is a realist, a go getter and an individual that will do what it takes to get ahead in spite of the obstacles ahead. He has a spirit that is positive and contagious. Good luck

    Comment #4 - Remember Ricky, you're never too old to learn new things away from the business world. At 49 I learned to play guitar and now I play every day as I work from home. There are probably many things you're not involving yourself with that you could because of the stresses you speak of. Take a deep breath and step back. Things come easier that way. Find other things until the right thing comes along in the business world. You're a great guy. trelax. It'll come when you stop looking so hard. Distract yourself.

    Comment #5 - I hear you Ricky. As it's been said before, every one of us has our own struggles. Don't feel sorry for yourself. Get some rest. Clear your mind. Remind yourself what it is you want, and then do the things you think you need to do to get there. It can be done.
    Comment #6 - Times are hard Ricky right now and you are not alone. Take some time to reflect on what makes you happy in life. My suggestion would be if you can get away for a few days and relax, maybe a different setting is what you need. Also if you have time volunteer at your local hospital, or community center;sometimes just keeping busy can help you focus. Good luck and remember have faith.
    You guys are Great Blog Mates Thank You

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Can't Become Boy in the Bubble

    The Games have Stopped.
    The Season is over.
    What's softball done is softball done.
    Next Year will soon be this year.

    With the game gone for now, real world reality hits, and I am reminded on how fragile life is. I thought I had it all figured out when I was a kid, I swore I did, by 42 I thought I would be a millionaire, a successful pompous shit don't stink business man. Thankfully that didn't didn't happen as I grew up, but now without the distraction of softball, problems are piling all at once and everything that bothers me, I got it bottled up, I think I'm bottoming out as I've been drinking alone lately
    thinking about what the fuck do I have to do to get on solid ground.
    When looking for a new team in softball, it's important you hook up with a guy running the team that is honest as you don't want to waste your time. This person (manger, captain, sponsor, teammate, etc) should let you know off the bat what your role is. For example:
    • Competition is open - earn your spot
    • Your a forfeit avoider no matter what
    • You play/pitch/dh one game no matter what
    • You pay you play
    • I just want you to play so I can get a ride
    If the guy running the team is not in sync with your goals forget it. Same thing in the real world when it comes to job recruiters. I understand recruiters only get paid if they can place you, but most of them are low life liars and bullies. Unfortunately, when conducting a job search they usually are a necessary evil. I deal with them every single day and because the market is so bad many of them flex and power trip on job seekers every single chance they get. Assholes

    I'm not about to give up, I don't wanna quit, but shit, I feel like when I deal with these people this is fucking sick. This is not a game, this is real life and they don't give a fuck I've sacrificed everything I have to get to the professional level that I am at, so I have have to swallow my pride and hold my tongue every time they snap even though I know this is so fucking whack.

    In dealing with these people I reminded of the old John Travolta Movie "Boy in the Plastic Bubble"
    as I'm trapped. I'm forced to remember how fragile economic  things are right now and I am forced to acquiesce to their demands.  I try and give them everything wand and more,  even tough I can't stand their fucking ass. I feel like a hypocrite, but I know I have to keep a level head intact and adapt.

    All good players adapt in softball and life, its crucial to survival. You can't do the same thing all the time otherwise the bubble will burst. Play the game

    90 Mile InterCambio

    In the past I have traveled to play softball in a tradition called "El InterCambio". Heck I even poked fun at it in the classic posting "InterCambio ". Recently a group of hardcore softball enthusiasts
    had a much more meaningful Intercambio experience as they traveled to Cuba  
    to become 90 Mile Slow Pitch Ambassadors  (click on this link - great short read)

    Intercambio's like this show that it is so much more than just a game - So much more

    On the path to Ocho Ocho their only sin is mediocrity

    At 6-5 the Jets 
    only sin is mediocrity (Martha Graham) as they seem to have their sights on earning the worse record you can have in the NFL - Ocho Ocho (8-8). So far they have just been a streaky team that regresses to the mean. Plain old Average.When you go to a game your happy and hyped at the tailgate
     but once you get inside their lackluster and stupid play just puts you to apathetic sleep
    and makes you lose focus on the game at hand
     as you are resolved to the grim reality of mediocrity. The number one target of the fans venom is poster boy and QB Marc Sanchez
      Sanchez is a maddening/frustrating player
     but the truth is he is not the biggest problem. They have holes all over:
    • No pass rush - none
    • Below average Safeties
    • Mediocre Linebackers (except Harris)
    • Special Teams once a strong point has been terrible lately
    • Average Offensive Line
    • Average Running Backs
    but no matter if Sanchez throws two, three

    or even four Td's in a game

    the fans are still not happy
    as he always gets blamed. It comes with the QB territory I guess, but to be fair he's also average at this stage of his career. In any case, they have five games left and unless they get their act together soon Ocho Ocho seems like their destiny. No one should inspire to be average especially at the prices they charge as they owe it to the fans to rise above mediocrity.