Sunday, July 26, 2009

Watching the Sun Set on a Famous Moundsman

One of my favorite movies is HBO's 1996 original Soul of the Game - the story of Negro League stars Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige and their struggle to brake baseball's color barrier and be the first African-American to play in the Majors. It is the story of the young Robinson and his relationship with the older Paige and Gibson and their reactions as the former gets the call the latter two feel they deserve.

In the movie, as well as in reality, time unfortunately was not on the side of Satchel Paige, who although he eventually received a big league opportunity, was far beyond the peak of his career. But Paige would not let his age or his diminished ability deter him from his goals of making it to the bigs, milking and cajoling his arm in the desperate hope that it still had a few good innings left.

I saw a lot of the Satchel Paige character as I watched Pedro Martinez pitch for the Class-A Clearwater Threshers on Sunday. Martinez, signed by the Phillies a few weeks ago, was clearly not the Pedro of old and I could tell he knew it. The 97 mph fastball was long gone, the aura and mystic was fading, and he was fighting to prove his ability to merely contribute. The former Cy Young ace was now a conjurer, a Merlin of the mound, hoping his knowledge, guile, and a little bit of smoke and mirrors was enough to make it back to the Show.

Sadly, I don't think it was. In his first start against live batters since the World Baseball Classic, Pedro threw 1 and 1/3 innings in a rain-shortened game against the St. Lucie Mets. As it was the major league Mets who put him out to pasture after last season, the minor league Mets put the final nail in his legendary career. Although I didn't expect Pedro to dominate, it was clear he was struggling. Most of his pitches were up in the zone, the Mets were getting good wood on the ball, and he only produced one swinging miss, albeit on a classic Pedro change-up. The box score will say Pedro didn't do that badly, giving up one hit, hitting a batter, and striking one. But great change-up aside, I'd say his tank is empty.

There is another scene in Soul of the Game when after an exhibition against major league all-stars is rained out, the Josh Gibson character stands in the downpour and yells up to God, knowing full well the rain closed the door on his last chance. I saw a lot of the Josh Gibson character in Pedro as the umpires motioned for the players to clear the field. While the younger players scampered past him to shelter, Pedro Martinez slowly walked off the mound, tipping his cap to the many fans who came only to see him.

I have been a Pedro Martinez fan for a long time, and I don't hope this is true, but I wouldn't be surprised if Sunday was the last day of Pedro Martinez's brilliant baseball career.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 12 Days of Social Media

Those who know me know I am all over the Internet. I blog, I tweet, I'm on facebook, myspace, youtube, google profiles, and any other site I can stick my afro on. Ruling the Interwebs has become a part-time job, without a doubt.

Oddly enough, some friends had no clue how extensive my reach is. After I told them about my efforts, a comrade-in-words dropped probably the funniest reply I have ever read.

12 Twitters tweeting
11 Tumblrs reblogging
10 Fanpages humming
9 status updates
8 blogger profiles
7 crazy aliases
6 Myspace templates
5 niche blogs!
4 email accounts
3 Friendsters friending
2.0 obsession
and a guy who spreads himself way too thinnnnnn

I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Did Michael Jackson Know About 9/11 Before It Happened? And Did CoreyFeldman Do Nothing About It?

Amidst the hoopla about Michael Jackson (he died, you know), a little tidbit of information almost got swept through the cracks. I say almost because if it wasn't for a friend mentioning it, I wouldn't have known. But this is so earth-shattering I don't think I may ever see the world the same again.

According to the People Magazine website, Michael Jackson and longtime friend Corey Feldman hadn't talked to each other since September 10th, 2001. Nearly eight years ago. For whatever reason, their friendship ended the day before the heinous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Could the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 have had anything to do with the end of Jackson and Feldman's friendship?

I think so.

Remember "The Goonies", the 1985 classic movie starring Feldman, Sean Austin, etc? In "The Goonies" several of the characters have a conversation in which Michael Jackson's name is mentioned. So too are hints about 9/11!

The clues are buried in this scene:

Chunk: Listen, okay? You guys'll never believe me. There was two cop cars, okay? And they were chasing this four-wheel deal, this real neat ORV, and there were bullets flying all over the place. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw!

Mikey: More amazing than the time Michael Jackson come over to your house to use the bathroom.

Brandon Walsh: More amazing than the time you saved those old people from that nursing home fire, right?

Mouth: Yeah, and I bet it was even more amazing than the time you ate your weight in Godfather's pizza, right?

Chunk: Okay, Brand. Michael Jackson didn't come over to my house to use the bathroom. He was about to. But his sister did.

First, there is the reference to two vehicles - two planes. Then there is the talk of a building fire. Then they talk about the Godfather, an surefire reference to New York. In the middle of it all is Michael Jackson.

Here is what I think happened: On September 10, 2001, Michael Jackson told Corey Feldman to alert the authorities of a terrorist attack on New York City the next day. Of course, there was no way Jackson could make the call without drawing attention to himself. So he asked Feldman to call for him. Feldman unfortunately either didn't believe Jackson or didn't believe such late notice would be effective. So he didn't dial anyone. The rest, you can say, is history. The planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (if you believe that), thousands died, and Michael Jackson held Corey Feldman partly responsible.

I know you are asking two questions: how did Michael Jackson know the attacks were planned for 9/11/01 and why Corey Feldman? Why not any one of Michael Jackson's other friends?

The answer is simple. Michael Jackson had to have been playing with the numbers and saw that Corey Feldman was born on 7/16/1971. If you take the first two numbers of the year (19) and then add to it each of the other numbers individually you get 19+7+6+7+1=41. Now look at 9/11/2001. Add 20+9+11+01 and you again get 41. It had to be 9/11/01 and the only person who could have stopped it was Corey Feldman. It was destiny.

Unfortunately, destiny didn't happen. If only Corey Feldman had listened to Michael Jackson.

On a side note, and I am just speculating here, perhaps the weight, the guilt, and the pain of knowing his ex-best friend failed to save the world weighed on Michael Jackson's heart so much it eventually gave out. Another thing for which we can blame Corey Feldman.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Twitter and the Dying Blogosphere

Back in April I joined Twitter. Honestly, at the time I had no idea why. I planned on throwing a few links out there and not much else. But then a funny thing happened ... I figured out the power of Twitter.

I figured it out so well, I've even been talking about it on other sites.

For example, today I commented on Daniel Drezner's blog over at Foreign Drezner's post is about a post by fellow long-time blogger Laura McKenna in which she discusses the state of the blogosphere.

McKenna lists nine reasons the blogosphere is no longer in blossoming community mode. She claims it has become professionalized and niche-based. (By the way, this definitely applies to the sports blogosphere as well, especially since Deadspin changed it's format.)

Although he doesn't come out and agree with all of her points, Drezner does state that "professionalization, partisanship and specialization have hit the blogosphere pretty hard." He also states most niche bloggers are now professionals who add their valued insight to the discussion.

Because Drezner doesn't address the use of social media, I added to the discussion of linking and blogrolls by talking about the effect of Twitter on the blogosphere:

"As a blogger, I've found it easier to post interesting links on twitter immediately than to wrap up a bunch of links in a post. Since my twitter followers consist of my blog fans as well as many others, I have more reach there than if I just posted a link dump or included sites in a blogroll.

What this means however is that I push specific data instead of a whole web site reading experience. I am pushing other blogger's information instead of their communities. It is somewhat selfish, honestly. But communities have moved from web sites to social networking platforms.

The love isn't gone, it's just moved."

I think my opinion on Twitter either makes me a genius or a fool. I'm not sure which.

By the way, follow me on Twitter at JordiScrubbings.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jimi Hendrix and a July 4th family tradition

When I was young and had no sense, I used to wake up on the 4th with contempt. For the first umpteen years of my life, my dad would begin Independence Day by playing the sounds of Jimi Hendrix wailing his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. It was like Dad's revenge for waking him up early on Christmas morning.

Unfortunately, when I was younger, for whatever unpatriotic, uncounterculture reason, I didn't really like the song. I think I said once it sounded like "a guitar and a bulldozer". But I don't think it bothered the Old Man, he kept on playing it anyway.

Somewhere along the way, my musical tastes started evolving. I went from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to George Clinton to James Brown to the blues and wouldn't you know, back to Jimi. By the time I was in my early 20s, I understood the significance of taking a national standard like the Star Spangled Banner and turning it inside-out in the name of counterculture. I could relate to Jimi's frustration at the establishment yet his belief that America was still the best country in the world.

So this year, like my dad, I'll crank Jimi Hendrix's "guitar and bulldozer" song, his amazing rendition of Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner" and crank it up for the neighbors to hear.

Happy Independence Day.